1 December 2015

Business-boosting environmental research and development programme scoops another national award

An environmental research and development programme that has supported around 300 businesses has won a  prestigious national award.

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, which was devised and led by Lancaster University, has won the ‘Research and Development’ category in the Green Gown Awards 2015, which recognise the most inspirational sustainability initiatives in higher education.

The award reflects the success of a unique partnership between Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and Inventya Ltd in working with businesses on innovative environmental research and development projects.

This is the second prestigious accolade the Centre has won within months after winning the ‘Outstanding Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Initiative’ category in The Impact Awards 2015.

 The Centre brings together small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in North West England, who have an environmentally related research project,  with student researchers and academics who can help deliver the project.

The Centre has worked with around 300 SMEs and has helped support the creation of almost 270 new jobs. It is on track to exceed environmental targets of saving 27,000 tonnes of CO2, 46,000 tonnes of water (enough to fill eighteen and a half Olympic swimming pools), prevent 55,000 tonnes of material reaching landfill and has seen 30,000 tonnes of material being reused.

 In addition, the Centre is helping to support the regional skills-base by engaging more than 150 students in projects with businesses and engaging more than 80 academics in the Centre’s research.

The Green Gown Awards are delivered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The Green Gown Awards judges said: “This large-scale initiative promotes sustainability in SMEs and harnesses the power of post-graduate students to develop new products and services. Its powerful collaborative structure can be replicated and demonstrates impressive outputs.”

The award was collected by Professor Nigel Paul, Director of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation. He said: “This latest national award for the Centre provides a potent demonstration of the power of genuine partnership between world leading academic research at Lancaster and Liverpool, and our exceptional business partners, graduate researchers and partnership management team, including Inventya Limited.

“The Centre provides companies with a variety of options, from short-term undergraduate projects to three-year in-depth doctoral research that meet the individual needs of businesses providing benefits for both the economy and the environment.”

Professor Mark E Smith, Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University said: “This Green Gown Award publically recognises the exciting collaborative achievements of over 200 people from Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool, and Inventya Limited, who have come together with ambitious North West businesses to share their knowledge, drive innovation, and create new eco-innovative products.”

“This represents a noted approach of getting high quality research into a wider range of companies and in products that can make a real environmental difference.”

Examples of projects the Centre is delivering includes developing solutions to clean up de-icing fluids at airports to prevent potential pollution, smart grid technology for efficient power and improving technology for monitoring pollutants in our streams and rivers.

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation is the only centre of its kind in Europe and is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund. SME-led collaborative research and development partnerships underpin the development of new products, processes and services for the global marketplace, which by virtue of their use, manufacture, raw materials, reuse or disposal, deliver positive environmental impacts.

Please contact Dr Ruth Alcock r.alcock@lancaster.ac.uk or Dr Andy Pickard a.pickard@lancaster.ac.uk for further details about the Centre and working with Lancaster University.