New innovation support for city region businesses

LJMU's digi demo zone

LJMU is a partner in a new programme to support and encourage businesses in the Liverpool City Region to increase innovation practice and investment in research and development.

Growth Horizons supports SMEs in all sectors and industries, offering:

  • Innovation solutions: needs, demands, opportunity and business strategy
  • Technical support: engineering, design, testing and prototype development
  • Equipment access: workshop, laboratories and infrastructure

The partnership with the University of Liverpool and Edge Hill University builds on the success of the LCR 4.0 suite of projects, delivering digital innovation to local industries across all sectors since 2016.

Innovation support to businesses

The LCR 4.0 and CW 4.0 projects, delivered by a partnership including our Faculty of Engineering and Technology, said provided innovation support to 787 SMEs, resulting in an increase of £197m in GVA and the creation of 3,087 jobs in the local area.

The programmes, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, enabled businesses to access expertise, technology and collaboration opportunities to drive innovation and boost productivity.

The project has supported more than 230 smarter products and processes with project beneficiaries having seen energy cost savings, increased productivity, efficiency improvements and much more through adopting digital technology to give a competitive advantage as well as support the transition towards net zero through technological advancements.

Implementing new technologies

Anthony Walker, Strategic Manager for LCR 4.0, said: “Our projects look at challenges through the lens of an engineer and our hands on, practical support provides solutions that are relevant and crucial to help industrial SMEs realise their growth potential.

“We endeavour to de-mystify the complex world of digital technology and de-risk innovation, working with our partners to build sustainable relationships, never losing sight that implementing new technologies needs to have a return on investment or open up new opportunities for economic growth.”

Utilising LJMU's expertise

Robert Stuart of Biopipe Products Group said: “This is the first time we have worked with a university to help develop a solution to enhance our business and its products further.

“The LCR 4.0 team at LJMU has been fantastic every step of the way; they clearly understood our business and the products we create and put forward a new innovative prototype that will help further prove the concept of our drainage system.

“Utilising the expertise at LJMU has been eye-opening; most of our work has been completed in-house or sub-contracted to private companies, and we've felt isolated at times due to the nature of our work. Having access to the students and staff to talk about our business, our journey and bring together all that knowledge has been a perfect partnership; they have opened us up to areas and networks I thought were impossible for an SME like ours.”


If you are interested in the Growth Horizons project, please get in touch with Eve Money.


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