Cross Institutional Collaboration Supporting Innovation in Cumbria

The CUSP logo and logos of the ERDF, Northern Powerhouse, Lancaster University and University of Cumbria


The Cumbria Innovation Platform aim is to boost economic growth in the region through the development of new products and services.


Project Manager James Livsey explains: “I am part of a cross-institutional team working on the £5.7m Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP) II project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and run by Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria.

By combining the unique expertise from across Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria we are able to offer targeted expertise to assist in the commercialisation of new products and services to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Cumbria.

By working collaboratively across the two institutions CUSP is in a unique position to offer a variety of services to support businesses at any stage in their development cycle including:

  • Innovation Masterclasses and events: allowing businesses to explore different elements of the innovation cycle, including ideas generation, commercialisation, funding and intellectual property. SMEs can attend all masterclasses or pick those that are of interest.
  • Digital product development: from our team of specialist software developers who offer their expertise to find solutions to and address a wide variety of digital challenges. This team can support with the development of new digital products and service concepts.
  • Our peer-to peer Innovation Catalyst network created by Lancaster University Management School helps senior decision makers tackle the challenges facing their region, sector and wider economy.
  • Unique access to science and technology facilities to test or develop ideas for a new product or service. By providing access to a range of cutting-edge science and technology equipment worth more than £45 million our project scientists across Engineering, Physics and Chemistry offer a bespoke consultancy to help each business progress their ideas.

We also offer access to student talent through internships and masters research projects that provide businesses with detailed and robust research to support new developments.

Results and Outcomes

Tab Content: For Partners and Engagement

For businesses wanting to test or develop ideas for a new product or service, CUSPII provides access to a range of cutting-edge science and technology equipment worth more than £45 million, and bespoke consultancy to help each business progress their ideas.

The first phase of CUSP, which was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ran between 2017 and 2020, assisted almost 140 Cumbria enterprises. It generated 63 collaborative research projects, and saw companies develop 41 new products. CUSP was also selected and showcased as an exemplar project to the then Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government now called Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. See also our Knowledge Exchange Case Study with Agronomy Research.

Phase II of the project is well on its way to supporting a target of 180 organisations and the project team have been thrilled with the wide variety of organisations that have been able to benefit from our support to date. Organisations such as care homes, bakeries, training consultancies and HR Partners have all been able to engage with Phase II of the project and have developed new products and/or services to help their business grow.

Tab Content: For Academics

CUSPII provides excellent experience for our School of Computing and Communications Graduates to and develop a partnership with a business, share knowledge put theory into practice and help solve a business challenge by building the prototype.

The Platform also provides a community that academics interested in how businesses innovate and their current digital product development challenges can engage with and access.

Back to listing