The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership has announced a new funding call for projects to tackle key economic and societal challenges through data analytics and digital innovation, a priority in the region’s Build Back Better plan.
The Heart of the South West LEP has identified ‘Digital’ as the highest priority for investment to deliver clean and inclusive growth, investing over £10 million to support improvements to mobile and digital connectivity, increase digital skills, modernise the area’s Further Education College ICT offer, and establish a 5G offshore pilot.
A new £8 million digital investment programme is now being rolled out, with up to £2 million of capital funding available for one or more projects to deliver the following outcomes:
- Growth in the environmental intelligence market, exploiting the area’s data and research capabilities.
- Maximisation of clean growth applications from marine geospatial innovation.
- Reduced emissions from agriculture through the acceleration of development, commercialisation and dissemination of data analytics and AI technologies.
- Increased innovation through 5G, with a particular focus on delivering net zero ambitions.
Karl Tucker, chair of Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital connectivity and skills, with digital services playing a vital role in helping people stay in touch with friends and family members, enabling people to work and study from home, and providing access to key services. The Heart of the South West LEP is therefore delighted to be stepping up its investment to support the area and its communities to be digitally equipped for the future. Today we are inviting applications from private, research, voluntary and public sector organisations with digital approaches that have the potential to deliver a transformative effect and in turn create better paid jobs, raise productivity, grow inward investment, and ensure the Heart of the South West is in the vanguard of growing a new economy.”
The Heart of the South West region has growing digital and analytical expertise, and is well placed to lead the development of new technology and innovation required to live sustainably. The Build Back Better plan recognises this as one of seven transformational opportunities that will help us rebalance and repurpose the region’s economy.
The funding is only available for projects within the Heart of the South West LEP area covering the administrative areas of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. Bidders must be able to demonstrate a track record of project implementation and an understanding of digital projects.
Those interested in applying should complete the Expression of Interest form by 9 February 2022. A shortlist of bids will then be invited to submit a Full Business Case before an investment decision is made in June 2022.
More information about the Heart of the South West’s LEP’s Digital Investment Programme Build Back Better Funding Call can be found here: https://heartofswlep.co.uk/digital-investment-programme/