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The Low Carbon Eco-Innovation Hub is a research and development programme for SMEs delivering innovation for a better environment with a potential return of investment of over £100,000.

Energy costs are rising, air pollution causes 40,000 deaths per annum, flooding costs an estimated £5bn. Eco-Innovation is both good for business, with a market potential of $6.4tr worldwide, and good for the environment. Lancaster University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation is a nationally award winning initiative which undertakes research and development with business.

What is on offer?

  • Expertise available from environmental sciences, chemistry, quantum technology, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electronic and electrical engineering, natural sciences, physics, psychology, marketing and management.
  • PhD and Masters by Research – Intensive one to three year research projects to deliver leading edge research. We recruit a dedicated graduate researcher to undertake the project as part of their qualification, supported by our academics, global contacts and resources.
  • Dissertation / placement projects – 6-9 months fully funded projects delivered by a student undertaking a degree in an appropriate discipline.
  • Internships – 140 hour fully funded projects delivered by a current student or recent graduate.
  • Workshops and innovation challenges – Peer to peer business workshops for directors and managers addressing how to accelerate, manage and succeed with innovation through the Lancaster University Management School’s Low Carbon Innovation Forum
  • Facilities use includes testing and developing products and materials at workshops and laboratories at Lancaster University worth over £45m.


  • Potential to double your investment -when a business works with universities, the return on R&D more than doubles.
  • Access people and resources to work exclusively on your projects to develop innovative new products, processes and services for your competitive advantage.
  • Access extensive R&D facilities and equipment and people who know how to use it
  • Join a wider collaborative network with the ambition of driving innovation for a better environment.

Fern Innovation video

“Our relationship with Lancaster University has been nothing short of transformational. It has given us the opportunity to have a virtually unlimited extension of our research and development resource.”
– Mike Cain, Director, Demopad

“We got involved with Lancaster University six years ago. We’ve now got far more interesting projects, such as the one with Manchester Airport, and increasingly we’re getting involved in intricate projects, which are almost future casting… we certainly couldn’t do it without the University’s help.”
– Mike Matthews, Managing Director, Peak Associates

View our other case studies.

Who is it for?

Lancashire based ambitious SME businesses* with an eco-innovative project or idea. This could involve the development of a new low carbon technology or achieving an efficiency through a new process that uses less energy, water, material or perhaps produces less waste.

As the Innovation Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund you must not be a retailer or business-to-consumer focused organisation.

* SME – Small to Medium Enterprises must employ fewer than 250 full-time people with a turnover of less than £40m. Large enterprises can post innovation challenges and participate in the Centre but we need an SME to participate and be the beneficiary either as part of the supply chain or as the solution provider in order to justify funding the project.

How does it work?

If you have a clearly defined project already, you can register online in minutes, and one of our team will contact you –

If you have an idea or challenge you want to talk through or need us to help scope the project for, or want to find out more about our other funded activities, please contact Ian Wright, 01524 592382.

For a detailed breakdown see –

Additional information:

This programme is fully funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is available to ERDF eligible companies. Visit our website for further details.

Collaboration: This programme forms part of the Low Carbon Lancashire Innovation Hub which offers bespoke research projects and management expertise for SMEs. The programme is delivered by the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation in conjunction with the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS). For further information about this collaboration, please visit our website –

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