ECO-I NW Project supported a green economic recovery

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More than 20 businesses across Lancashire and Cumbria were assisted with making their carbon footprint smaller thanks to the ECO-I NW Project at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The ECO-I North West Project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, was a £14m business Research and Development (R&D) programme that supported small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across the North West (Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire and Warrington). ECO-I was delivered by a consortium of universities; Lancaster, Central Lancashire, Cumbria, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores and Manchester Metropolitan.

ECO-I assisted with the research and development of low-carbon technologies, products, and services by delivering 5 Master by Research, 20 Internships and 5 Innovation Projects. It is predicted that ECO-I NW saved over 150 tonnes of carbon emissions through its work with 24 Businesses, 20 Student Researchers and 15 Academic Supervisors.

Businesses could access support in three different ways: a Master’s by Research which provided a dedicated full-time researcher for 12 months with access to global contacts and resources within the University, a 140-hour internship with tailored business support delivered by an appropriate student aided by an academic or a 3-month Innovation Project that involved working collaboratively with a specialist academic who had expertise in the area.

"Without UCLan and the placement of one of their students, we wouldn’t have been able to declare ourselves carbon neutral and put a carbon management reduction plan in place due to being at full capacity."

Joshua Keens, RKMS Group

Joshua Keens from RKMS Group said: “Without UCLan and the placement of one of their students, we wouldn’t have been able to declare ourselves carbon neutral and put a carbon management reduction plan in place due to being at full capacity.”

Craig Smith from ICT Reverse, based in Lancaster said: “We wanted to be able to unlock the knowledge and resource within UCLan to assist with more efficient and environmentally friendly processes and operations.”

The three-year project ran from Summer 2020 through to June 2023. During this time, ECO-I NW has delivered low-carbon innovation to all sectors, with a focus on environmental industries, technology and services, future energy systems, advanced manufacturing, materials and chemistry. Outputs resulting from the project have enabled businesses to develop new products and processes which saved tonnes of carbon.

Also, three businesses engaged through the ECO-I project have partnered with the Centre for Waste Management at the University for long-term Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) projects. These businesses will benefit from the University’s extensive knowledge base and cutting-edge research facilities and skills.

Whilst this project has closed, the University actively supports regional businesses. Please visit the Centre for Waste Management page for more information. For any other support for your business please contact our Enterprise and Engagement Unit who will review your enquiry and signpost you to the most appropriate area of continuing support.

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