Climate-KIC targets cleantech innovations with new funding

The Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) has launched three new funding projects and competitions to support low-carbon innovations and cleantech business ideas from across Europe.

The three schemes will be launched on Tuesday at the Innovation Birmingham Campus – Climate-KIC’s UK outpost – alongside a range of grant-funded education programmes aimed at students, professionals and organisations 

The first of these new programmes is the Climate Launchpad – Europe’s largest cleantech business idea competition. Ten business ideas will have the potential to become a commercial reality, with entries now open for entries from 23 participating countries across Europe, including the UK.

The second is Pioneers into Practice – a grant-funded European exchange programme for 50 low-carbon specialists. €400,000 wil be put towards an exchange programme that enables relationships to be formed across Europe’s low-carbon economy. Applicants – called ‘pioneers’ – go on placements at various ‘host’ companies. The pioneers will be chosen based on their experience in the climate change sector from a range of desired specialties such as civil engineering, housing, community activism and research fellows. 

Finally, the Low Carbon Accelerator programme has been launched to provide up to €20,000 in financial support – up from €10,000 last year – to accelerate the early stage growth of low-carbon businesses over nine months. The programme has already received 35 initial expressions of interest for the 30 available places. 

Boost for Birmingham

Climate-KIC is Europe’s largest public-private partnership focused on tackling climate change. It is one of three knowledge and innovation communities created by the European Institute of Innvoation and Technology in 2010. Climate-KIC has six hubs across Europe working to develop the low-carbon economy in those regions, with Innovation Birmingham’s West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre representing the UK. 

Innovation Birmingham’s senior project manager for EU projects Katharine Fuller said: “There are only six Climate-KIC Regional Innovation Centres across Europe, so having one in the West Midlands is a significant asset to the regional climate change agenda. We will be spending €2m during the course of this year on initiatives that will have a real impact on our environment and the economy.” 

An increase in Climate-KIC funding (from the €1m allocated last year) has allowed Innovation Birmingham to create an additional 10 new jobs to deliver this programme along with Climate-KIC’s annual Innovation Festival held at The ICC in October. The event attracts over 500 climate change practitioners from across Europe.

“The significant increase in the Climate-KIC funding that we’ve been able to secure for the West Midlands is a reflection of the rapid growth of the region’s sustainable energy market,” Fuller added. “The low-carbon agenda is capturing the interest of serial entrepreneurs, as well as prompting industry professionals to step away from a corporate career path and start their own business.”

Innovation Zone at Sustainability Live 2015 

For the first time, edie will be hosting an Innovation Zone at Sustainability Live 2015 to showcase the best emerging, pre-commercialised sustainability solutions.  

We are looking for emerging products, technologies and solutions in the energy, waste, water and cleantech space which are yet to be commercialised but have reached trial or prototype stage.  

Find out more about the new Innovation Zone here and register to attend Sustainability Live 2015 for FREE here. 

Lucinda Dann

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