Launch of West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre Climate-KIC hub event write-up.

Innovation Birmingham’s West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre (West Midlands RIC) is one of six regional Centres across Europe working to develop the low carbon economy. The RIC network is funded by the Climate-KIC project – Europe’s largest public-private partnership focused on tackling climate change.

The West Midlands RIC was launched on Thursday 6th March. The event, held at Innovation Birmingham Campusconference facilities, was organised by the RIC team to announce the project plans and invite organisations and individuals to get involved. With 200 delegates in attendance, the launch event provided superb networking opportunities for those working in the low carbon sector.

Innovation Birmingham’s Climate-KIC Adviser, Jon Bloomfield opened the event by setting the scene; an evening to bring together and celebrate the low carbon community of the region. Other speakers included Innovation Birmingham’s CEO, David Hardman, Head of European Projects/West Midlands RIC Manager, Katharine Fuller; Pioneers into Practice Project Coordinator, Kate Martin and Low Carbon Entrepreneur in Residence, Richard Davies.

David Hardman spoke about Innovation Birmingham’s mission to nurture a rapidly growing entrepreneurial community, facilitating innovation. Detailing the overarching ‘Four C’s’; Connect, Communicate, Collaborate and Create, David highlighted the ‘seeds of opportunity’ as a by-product of an interactive physically connected community. Bringing together skills, ideas and resource, he championed the West Midlands RIC as a key activity for Innovation Birmingham, as it provides a platform where low carbon innovations can flourish.

Katharine Fuller, Senior Project Manager for EU projects spoke about the link between Climate-KIC projects and the region’s overall low carbon objectives.

The climate-KIC project will deliver in two areas; One being its Programmes; Pioneers into Practice; Education Pillars and the Accelerator Programme. The second area of delivery relates to the region’s low carbon agenda as a whole, by encouraging collaboration between a wide range of skill and industry groups to deliver a suite of innovative solutions.

Pioneers into Practice Project Coordinator, Kate Martin delivered a presentation on the opportunities available for individuals and organisations looking to get involved. Opportunities outlined included; funded four-week placements, both in the UK and with one of the six European partner regions, providing access to a diverse range of skill sets and industry specialists, alongside professional development training. For more information on the programme benefits visit the dedicated web page.

Illustrating the value of the programme, testimonials came from a Host organisation; Matthew Rhodes of Encraft, and an alumni Pioneer; Richard Bubb of Symeco.

Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Richard Davies wrapped up the formal part of the evening event by inviting entrepreneurs to apply for the Venture Accelerator programme. His presentation detailed some startling facts about the region’s carbon footprint and escalating threats on the environment. Richard gave a brief overview of the 2013 accelerator cohort and the environmental, as well as economic, impact their projects have already had on the region. To see all the case studies mentioned in Richard’s presentation visit the dedicated web page.

For more information and to apply for the Pioneers into Practice programme, click here
For more information and to apply for the Venture Accelerator programme, click here

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