Catalysing Growth

This project is a partnership between the University of Derby’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) and The iNet@ Loughborough University (formerly Transport iNet). The project will use ERDF funding to support SMEs who wish to improve existing products or develop new products, processes and services.

Businesses must be engaged in the general area of transport equipment manufacturing and/or associated supply chains and be based in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership area (D2N2 LEP). The support includes a mixture of:

• Fully-funded access to expertise and co-operation with university research centres and institutes

• Part-funding (grant) towards external costs of innovation projects.


It will make it easier for SMEs to work with research institutes and accelerate their development and implementation of new products, processes and services.

Support may include one or more of the following:

• Review of company research, innovation and development needs – a full company diagnostic to help you develop your innovation and growth plans
• Identifying and signposting to appropriate research institutes for research and innovation collaborations – to enable you to progress your plans
• 2 days of research work carried out by our internal researcher
• Fully funded access to support and facilities from IISE and Loughborough University - different levels of assistance are available depending on your company’s needs
• Part-funded collaboration with research institutes across the UK and further afield – via competitive call
• Part-funding towards external costs relating to company based innovation projects – via simplified application process

Grant Funding

The programme will provide grant funding towards the capital expenditure and revenue costs incurred by a D2N2 LEP-based SME within the transport equipment manufacturing sector (automotive, aerospace, marine, motorsport and rail – both vehicle and infrastructure manufacturers and related technologies e.g. materials, energy systems, manufacturing processes) when bringing an innovation to market.

• Direct project activities and SME beneficiaries in D2N2 LEP area only.
• Projects will involve innovation and must be aiming to introduce a new or significantly improved product, process or service
• Funding available is 50% of external capital costs (indicative spend circa £30k) and 40% of external revenue costs (indicative spend circa £15k) – no minimum
• Ideally projects should be aiming towards the creation of a new job, although this is not a requirement of this scheme
• SME contribution will be in cash – i.e. for external costs and expenditure made by the SME - not in kind
• The funding provided constitutes state aid, this includes General Block Exemption Regulations [GBER] Article 25 and 28 and de minimis. Appropriate application of these regulations will be discussed with an innovation advisor.

For further information contact us on 01332 592527 or email erdf.iise@derby.ac.uk