University of Leeds joins £6.75m Innovation Launchpad Network+

The University of Leeds is part of a new £6.75m national network to accelerate UK innovation.

The Innovation Launchpad Network+ will bring together leading universities, the Catapult Network and regional innovation ecosystems to enrich the exchange of ideas and knowledge across these organisations.   

The network, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is a national collaboration, led by the University of Sheffield with the Universities of Leeds, Strathclyde, Warwick, Bristol and Exeter, and the Catapult Network.

There are currently nine Catapults, each established by and working in partnership with Innovate UK. They support businesses across healthcare, energy, emerging technologies and manufacturing in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services. 

This timely innovation network will connect scientific expertise with business opportunities through a unique national catapult network.

Professor Alejandro Frangi

To foster new links between individuals or groups and the Catapult Network, the programme will deliver 100 world-class Researchers in Residence programmes and will focus on the themes of net zero, healthcare and wellbeing, and resilience. 

The programme builds on the successful Catapult Fellows and Researcher in Residence programmes and aims to create a truly inclusive and integrated science-innovation community. 

‘Changing our world and rebuilding our economy’

Professor Alejandro Frangi, from the School of Computing, said: "We are thrilled to be part of and shape the Innovation Launchpad Network+ connecting ideas with business. The UK faces unprecedented changes and challenges on a global scale, which need creative, interdisciplinary and sustainable solutions.  

“From our Centre for HealthTech Innovation to the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, the Bragg Centre for Materials Research, or the Institute of Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Sensing, we discover knowledge and create technologies that transform our lives, protect our environment, and provide resilience to our society, planet and economy.  

The academic, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Leeds is thriving and facing up to the socioeconomic challenges of our time.  

“This timely innovation network will connect scientific expertise with business opportunities through a unique national catapult network. We will nurture and amplify the impact of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, changing our world and rebuilding our economy."  

Matthew Durdy, chair of the Catapult Network and chief executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, says:  "We welcome this important initiative which strikes right at the heart of our aim to build a collaborative research, development and innovation landscape.  

Catapults and academia working together will provide first-class knowledge exchange and a launchpad to bring researchers closer to innovation in industry, giving them valuable exposure to the translation and commercialisation of research.

The programme will support two complementary pathways for research residencies, both of which aim to place the right researcher in the right Catapult at the right time. The first pathway will support residencies that contribute directly to delivery of the Catapults' strategic roadmaps, which are near-term industry needs. 

The second aims to leverage the capability of the Catapults to accelerate the translation of science in partnership with higher education institutions (HEIs) and regional innovation ecosystems, which can include other non-Catapult research and technology organisations (RTOs) and incubators.  

Researcher in Residence scheme 

Applications for the Researcher in Residence scheme will open in October. Additional funding for travel and feasibility studies will also be available to support the co-creation of research residencies. The Innovation Launchpad Network+ includes previously successful academics who will offer their support and mentoring to new applicants. 

An online event is being held from 12pm-2pm on Thursday 6 October 2022, where researchers can find out more about the Innovation Launchpad Network+ and the opportunities provided by the Researcher in Residence scheme. To register for a ticket, visit the event website