What kind of support can I get for my business from the centre?
The centre offers 6 levels of support depending on your requirements:
- Intensive collaborative R&D projects which last for 3 years with a dedicated graduate at PhD level.
- Intensive collaborative research projects which lasts for a 1 year with a dedicated full time researcher undertaking a Masters degree by research.
- Shorter-term collaborative projects of 5-8 months, typically 300-600 hours.
- Business projects which can be undertaken over a period of 140h.
- Short interventions including access to laboratories, equipment, data, expertise and resource which will be undertaken by our team of Innovation Fellows, who are qualified to PhD level.
- For innovative businesses developing low carbon technology projects we are offering support to assist in the management of the process of environmental innovation. This will be through a series of workshops, open innovation challenges, residential and peer to peer learning experiences.
Is there a deadline in order to propose a 3-year collaborative project?
Yes, within each rolling call. The next call is closing on 3rd of July 2017. Subsequent calls may be added if spaces allow. Companies are encouraged to apply early as based on previous year’s recruitment, we will receive a high number of proposals. If invited to progress you will receive support to assist you with the full application which is used to recruit a suitable graduate researcher.
What can I do if I've missed a deadline for a specific project?
If you have a project which we could support you with please contact us as we may be able to signpost alternative funding and opportunities.
What is Eco-Innovation?
All new products and services developed by the centre via collaboration and will by nature of their design, manufacture, raw materials or use, offer significant, measurable improvements against existing products in terms of the emission of greenhouse gases, use of natural resources and/or waste minimisation and re-use. We are particularly looking for projects which can demonstrate how their support can address the transition towards a “low carbon” economy in all sectors. Therefore we will seek to track the project back to quantifiable CO2 gas or equivalent savings.
What is low carbon?
By low carbon we mean products and processes which save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How can I find out if my business is eligible for support from the centre?
The centre supports high-growth Northwest small & medium sized enterprises that recognise the need for innovation and have identified growth opportunities for their business through the development of new products, processes and services for the global marketplace that have positive environmental benefits. We are seeking businesses with a footprint in Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire and Liverpool City Region. Not all opportunities will be equally available in all counties. Contact us for more details.
Can large enterprises apply?
Large enterprises can post innovation challenges and participate in the Centre but we need an SME to participate and be the beneficiary either as part of the supply chain or as the solution provider in order to justify funding the project.
Will support from the centre cost my company anything?
The support provided by the centre is funded by the European Regional Development Fund with match funding provided by Lancaster University. The cost to the business depends on the size and scope of the project, as specified below:
- 3 year intensive collaborative R&D project for businesses based in Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, and Liverpool City Region- £5,500 per year
- 1 year intensive collaborative research project - £3,500 per year
- Shorter-term collaborative projects of 2-4 months - no charge to the business
- Business projects which can be undertaken over a period of 140h – no charge to the business
- Short interventions with access to laboratories, equipment, data, expertise and resource – no charge to the business
- Workshops, open innovation challenges, residential and peer to peer learning experiences - no charge to the business
Does support under the Centre for Global Eco Innovation have any State Aid implications?
Yes. The value of any assistance delivered through the Centre for Global Eco Innovation constitutes State Aid as defined under Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty of Rome and is granted as de minimis aid. European Commission rules prohibit any undertaking beneficiary from receiving more than €200,000 of de minimis aid over a rolling three year period. Any de minimis aid granted over the €200,000 limit may be subject to repayment with interest. Therefore any support delivered under the Centre for Global Eco Innovation to an enterprise is dependent in part upon the beneficiary not exceeding a threshold of €200,000 of de minimis aid in any three-year period. If you have received any de minimis aid over the last three years (from any source) you should declare this on application with details of the dates and amounts of aid received. For the in-depth three year collaborative R&D projects we estimate the total value of de minimis aid to an individual SME will be in the order of £33,000 per year or approximately £100,000 (or 130,000 Euros).over the duration of a three year project. Please contact us directly if you would like any advice and guidance in this regard.
Will a company be involved in recruiting a suitably qualified graduate?
Yes. Graduates will be registered as full-time postgraduate students of Lancaster University. In order to undertake these demanding projects, we will require prospective graduates to meet specific entry criteria. The selection process will usually include an interview and the centre will want the nominated person within the collaborating enterprise supporting the project to play an active part in this selection panel.
Will a company have full commercial rights to use the IP generated by collaboration?
Yes. The regulations associated with the funding which is being used to support collaborative projects require the participating university to take ownership of intellectual property arising out of collaborative projects. Access to this IP will be provided, via an exclusive, royalty-free licence to the participating company. This exclusive and royalty-free license will apply for as long as the rights are in existence, providing the university partner is satisfied that the company is exploiting the intellectual property. If following an initial period of four years the company cannot demonstrate use of the IP in a new product or service development, the licence will terminate. Background intellectual property of any collaborating party will remain the property of that party. Its use in collaborative projects will be provided on a royalty-free basis. No project will be developed using background IP already licensed exclusively to a party outside the project.The terms and conditions of use of IP will form the basis of a contractual agreement between the graduate, the participating company and the participating university. The agreement will be made when a graduate has been recruited to the project and confirmed their intention to take up an offer to become a centre graduate.
How many three year collaborative projects can a single company undertake?
One. A company may propose a number of collaborative projects, develop them into full proposals and allow them to be advertised as the basis of recruitment of an appropriately qualified and experience graduate. Once a graduate has been successfully recruited to one project, all other proposed projects will no longer be advertised or allowed to recruit a graduate.
What is the process involved in getting assistance through the centre?
The centre is currently focusing primarily on the recruitment of 50 of the region's most ambitious businesses to undertake collaborative research and development projects with Lancaster University. For shorter-term collaborative opportunities with the university (5-8 months), the 140h paid projects, access to Innovation Fellows or to participate in workshops, please register your interest by contacting us.
Can a company propose a prospective graduate?
No. Graduate positions will be advertised widely. Company employees are not eligible to become graduates, unless they resign their company position and the position is re-filled by the company.
Will a company's ideas for new projects and services be kept confidential?
Yes. Only a summary of the project on the full application form will be made publically available. The project partners will not, however, sign non-disclosure agreements with partner companies.
Can a university spin-out company or a company wholly or partly owned by an academic be a company partner?
Yes, but individuals with such interests must declare these on the full application and take no part in the consideration of projects proposed including a company in which they have an interest.
Can a company who has worked with a university before propose a collaborative project?
Yes, but the full project proposal application must clearly articulate how the proposed collaborative research project will result in clear additionality and not be possible without project funding.
Can an academic member of staff supervise more than one project?
Yes, but the intention or wish to do so must be declared in the full application form and by doing so the academic staff member will take no part in the consideration of any projects in which they are a named supervisor.
Can more than one company work together on a collaborative project?
Yes, but one company must take the lead role in the project proposal and make arrangements with the partner company with respect to the exploitation of the projects results. The lead company will pay the tuition fees of the graduate and consumables, but may wish to arrange a contribution from other companies they partner with.
If you have any other questions about working with the centre that we haven’t covered, please contact us.
We are seeking new collaborative partners to grow a sustainable and circular economy and welcome enquiries. If you would like to get in touch, please email or phone us, and we can talk about your ideas or any questions you might have.