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Cross-sector innovation funding programme announced for West Midlands

First projects to help solve challenges faced by aerospace and aviation industries

A new funding programme, called PIVOT, designed to accelerate cross-industry innovation has been announced today to enable West Midlands supply chain companies operating in any sector to take their existing technologies and innovations and develop products or services to meet critical aerospace and aviation challenges.

The programme is part of the West Midlands Innovation Programme funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority. Companies can benefit from up to £75,000 and expert aerospace sector guidance from the PIVOT programme pilot.

As people gradually return to flying and the aviation industry recovers from the pandemic, new innovations will be critical to meeting the demand for greener aircraft going into the future.

A year ago, industry’s response to the Ventilator Challenge proved the value of sectors working together. Over 40 aerospace companies across the region came together to deliver hundreds of thousands of parts in rapid timescales to meet the urgent needs of the NHS. PIVOT builds on these principles to help companies in one industry develop their technologies and innovations to meet the requirements of another sector. The PIVOT pilot programme will focus on projects that can help solve challenges faced by the aerospace and aviation industries.

PIVOT offers more than grant funding. Successful applicants will also benefit from aerospace industry technology, engineering and innovation expertise as well as advice from potential customers from the region’s aerospace cluster. Applications for the PIVOT pilot, which will be run by the Midlands Aerospace Alliance in partnership with the WMCA and the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, are open to SMEs as well as companies that fall just outside that category operating in any sector in the region with a technology, product, process or service that could be used or adapted for aerospace or aviation.

Dr Andrew Mair, Chief Executive of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, said:

“We’re looking forward to working with companies from supply chains across the region’s engineering supercluster to develop and commercialise technologies and innovations that will enable them to exploit global market opportunities, generate future revenue, create high-skill jobs and meet aerospace industry challenges.”

“The PIVOT pilot is a great example of how the WMCA’s Innovation Programme is itself creating new ways to foster demand-led innovation in the region’s key economic sectors,”

said Dr Pam Waddell OBE, Director, Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands.

“Encouraging our supply chain networks to collaborate even more closely will help make the regional economy more innovative, diversified and resilient.”

For more information about the PIVOT pilot programme click here