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Five city region projects allocated share of £21m EU funding by Liverpool LEP

Up to £21million of European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) has been allocated to five new projects as part of the €221million overall 2014-2020 European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF) Programme.

Developed by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and partners, the ESIF programme is designed to drive sustainable economic growth, support key City Region growth sectors, create new jobs, and unlock business success.

£5million ERDF has been awarded to the £15million Sensor City project – a joint venture between Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the University of Liverpool (UoL), that will create one of the world’s first innovation centres dedicated to sensor-system technologies.

This new facility, within the Copperas Hill redevelopment zone, is a signature project in the Liverpool City Region Innovation Plan and will contribute directly to radically improving productivity and the commercialisation of the local knowledge and asset base. It will do this by creating and nurturing 300+ new SMEs, and fostering collaboration with existing SMEs and larger companies. Over 10 years, the aim is to generate 2,200 direct and indirect jobs plus £370m additional Gross Value Added GVA for the City Region.

Another funded project between Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University is the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory where the focus is on developing innovative low carbon goods, processes and services via collaborative partnerships between local companies in the City Region and university researchers.

The Eco-Innovatory will offer LCR businesses from any sector direct access to HEI facilities, expertise and resources to encourage competitiveness at a national and international level through 20 fully-funded 3-year PhD projects, 5 funded1-year Masters projects, plus a range of internships and commercial support. The project aims to work with local SMEs on an individual basis to identify opportunities for low carbon development which will bring about economic and environmental benefits, along with giving businesses a competitive advantage.

ERDF funding has also been allocated towards an integrated package of business support across the City Region, accessible through the Local Business Growth Hub. These are in the final stages of development and will be rolled out during the summer.

Co-Chair of the ESIF Committee and Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP, Robert Hough, said: “The LEP, with partners, have identified and set out a number of priorities for the EU Programme to ensure that our economy gets the biggest boost possible from this investment, and I believe these diverse and important projects are the first step in doing just that.”

Robert added: “This EU Programme is a major contribution in the LEP’s support for jobs, productivity and skills in our drive to make the City Region one of the country’s most enterprising economies and position us centrally within the Northern Powerhouse agenda.”

Co-Chair of the ESIF Committee and leader of Wirral Council, Phil Davies, added: “Playing to our strengths is a vital component of our economic development plan and these projects make the most of the entrepreneurial zeal and sector speciality we have at our disposal.

“Creating new jobs and helping local businesses to be the best they can is our central aim. These projects will, we’re sure, be successful on many fronts and help the City Region thrive.”

Current ERDF funding opportunities in Liverpool City Region are available for Innovation (in the Creative Content and Digital Capabilities Sector) and in Business Support (Access to Finance). These calls will close on 6th June at 23:59. An open call for projects in the Low Carbon Sector will remain available until 31st October, with the first review point on 6th June at 23:59. Further details and call specifications can be found on gov.uk, by following this link to open calls in the North West. (here).

Further funding opportunities will unfold across the Liverpool City Region LEP area over the next six years, to partner organisations including those from the voluntary sector, the Universities and Local Authorities.