Businesses, academics and public agencies in the West Midlands gathered this week to find out how they can benefit from a new €120 million Europe-wide climate change programme.
Climate – Knowledge Innovation Communities (KIC) is a unique programme, from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which brings together five of Europe’s top universities (including Imperial College and ETH Zurich), 10 leading companies (including CISCO and Shell), and six major European regions including the West Midlands.
The six regions taking part in the programme are the West Midlands, Central Hungary, Emilia Romagna in Italy, Hessen in Germany, Lower Silesia in Poland and Valencia in Spain.
There are four new major research and innovation programmes at the core of Climate-KIC on the themes of climate science, low carbon cities, zero carbon production systems and integrated water management.
These programmes will offer organisations the opportunity to submit proposals for ideas that integrate education, research, business and regions to deliver climate change innovation, positioning the Climate-KIC and, in turn, the West Midlands, as a hub for expertise, business and solutions for the Climate Change challenge.
A key strand of the Climate-KIC is the new Pioneers in Practice programme, which is aimed at creating a new generation of practitioners equipped with the high level skills needed for the development of a low carbon economy and society.
Alongside this the Climate-KIC team in the West Midlands aims to use the programme to advance training capacity and new skills, create new companies and spin-outs and help develop markets for existing low carbon companies.
Advantage West Midlands is leading the regional partnership which involves Birmingham and Coventry City Councils, Aston, Birmingham and Warwick Universities, the Midlands Energy Consortium, QinetiQ, Arup, NISP, Birmingham Science City and others.
Sir Roy McNulty, Chairman at Advantage West Midlands, said:
“Our regional role on Climate-KIC is recognition of the energy and resources the region and Advantage West Midlands have invested in climate change issues and the low carbon agenda over a number of years.”
The launch event for the programme, which is set to run for the next seven years, also featured Bert van der Zwaan, Interim CEO of the Climate-KIC programme and Judith Petts, Pro Vice Chancellor of Birmingham University.
As part of her presentation Judith Petts said:
“This is exciting news for the city and West Midlands and will allow the University of Birmingham to work with other partners across the region and Europe in supporting the delivery of the Climate-KIC. The University will be able to contribute from its excellent research base to innovation in low carbon technologies across Europe.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the programme and the opportunities it offers can contact Katharine Fuller at Advantage West Midlands (tel 0121 503 3214, email katharinefuller @ advantagewm.co.uk).