Applications are open for UK innovators to join the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s industry-backed national technology accelerator programme. The scheme is designed to support the commercialisation of new technologies to enhance the UK’s offshore wind supply chain, enabling greater UK content and supporting cost reduction.
Applications to join the second cohort of the National Launch Academy opened on 15 November. The Launch Academy initiative focuses on near-to-market solutions and is supported by nine industrial and business support specialists including Scottish Power Renewables (SPR),bp, Barclays Eagle Labs, investment body Green Angel Syndicate, accountancy firm BDO, IP specialists Murgitroyd, law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn, cleantech investors Sustainable Ventures and storytelling consultants Stronger Stories. Scottish Enterprise is also providing £60,000 in funding for the project.
The bespoke nine-month programme will see the cohort of companies being given access to a unique package of support from the delivery partners, including legal, marketing, accountancy, IP, and investor readiness support as well as modules delivered by ORE Catapult such as technology assessment, international export readiness and business case review.
At the end of the programme, the innovators will pitch to industry partners and the Catapult’s network of investors with the aim of securing investment and a route to market for their products.
Alex Louden, ORE Catapult’s Senior Technology Innovation Manager said:
“Our first National Launch Academy programme was a huge success. Eight companies successfully completed the journey, and many secured commercial contracts with industry as well as attracting £1.9m in grant funding and over £13m in private investment.
“We’re delighted to be able to give another tranche of UK companies access to this transformative programme, designed to enable offshore wind developers and equipment manufacturers to identify winning solutions to specific technology challenges and act as a launch pad for companies to get their technology noticed and unleashed into the market.
“Our programme is designed to accelerate innovations that will reduce costs, increase UK content, create jobs, and help build the wind farms of the future.”
Bob Flint, VP of Digital Science at bp, said:
“ORE Catapult’s technology accelerator programme is well placed to accelerate future technology in offshore wind. bp's ambition is to be one of the leading providers of offshore wind, helping the world get to net zero. We are delighted to sponsor this programme which we expect to provide innovative solutions to technological challenges the industry faces.”
Charlie Jordan, SPR’s UK Offshore Wind Director, said:
“It’s fantastic to open the next round of the Launch Academy just as the curtain closes on COP26 and the need to go further and faster than ever before on the journey to Net Zero is very much in focus.
“That will only be achieved if we continue to bring forward new and innovative technologies that enable faster decarbonisation through offshore wind development and the Launch Academy provides that essential link between innovators and the wider industry.
“It will be exciting to see what comes out of the next Academy and the benefits that could be realised as a result – jobs, investment, supply chain growth – while we work to deliver a cleaner and greener future. Good luck to all this year’s applicants!”
Companies will be asked to submit solutions to a series of technology innovation challenges set by SPR and bp. The ten most promising solutions will be selected by a panel of experts to join the Launch Academy cohort. Potential applicants can find out more and apply at https://ore.catapult.org.uk/launch-academy
The success of the programme will be measured by the number of innovative solutions securing contracts, demonstrators or R&D partnerships with end-users as well as the number and scale of investments.