Birmingham Science Park Aston enrolls 30 climate change practitioners onto European-funded exchange programme

30 Midlands-based climate change practitioners are being enrolled onto Birmingham Science Park Aston’s Pioneers into Practice exchange programme this week (w/c 29th April 2013).

The programme commences with a two-day workshop, before the participants embark on their four-week long domestic placements. During September and October, the Pioneers will carry out a placement within a company based in continental Europe. Pioneers into Practice is fully funded by the Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate KIC).

Host companies where the Midlands-based domestic placements will be carried out include Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City University, Carillion, Centro, Encraft Engineering, Green Hill Consulting, Loughborough University, Marches Energy Agency, Northfield Eco Centre, Social Housing Action Partnership, Sustainability West Midlands, University of Warwick, University of Wolverhampton, Ventive Ltd, and Zero Emission Architecture.

The 30 selected participants are all experienced climate change professionals, with specialisms including hydrogen fuel, civil engineering, architecture, housing, community activism, as well as research fellows. Each participant receives €8,000 in staged payments over the duration of the programme.

Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Head of Projects at Birmingham Science Park Aston said: “Experience shows that a diverse mix of backgrounds and expertise is what makes this climate-change exchange programme so successful for both the host organisations and the Pioneers. It is designed to take experienced and highly skilled professionals out of their day job into a completely new, yet relevant environment.”

Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar continued: “The 30 selected participants will undergo an intensive transition management workshop here at the Science Park, and then complete two placements – within the Midlands and abroad – which will force them to quickly adapt into new work environments. Not only does this give the Pioneers the opportunity to forge new relationships, acquire knowledge and broaden their experience, it also challenges them to be flexible, adaptable and think in new ways. The process generates outstanding levels of innovation, often leading to project and business opportunities that extend well beyond the end of the programme.”

During previous placements, Pioneers have identified significant savings, new products have been developed, and specific tasks completed – all free of charge to the host company.


Participants from the Midlands will undertake their four-week overseas placement during September and October 2013. The host organisations will be based in the other KIC participating regions; Valencia (Spain); Emilia Romagna (Italy); Hessen (Germany); Lower Silesia (Poland) and Central Hungary.


Following this week’s opening session, further workshops will be held at Birmingham Science Park Aston during June and November 2013, bringing all 30 of the Midlands participants back together. Every Pioneer into Practice from across Europe will meet at the KIC Innovation Festival, being held in Poland at the end of October 2013.


The 2013 Pioneers into Practice programme is supported through the Climate Knowledge Innovation Community project, which receives funding from the European Institute for Innovation and Technology.

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