Net Zero Living - Thriving Places: ‘Pioneer Places’ or ‘Fast Followers’, how to be involved?

Posted on: 18/11/2022

Thriving Places is part of the Innovate UK Net Zero Living programme.

The programme provides support to local authorities, their partners and communities to overcome non-technical systemic barriers to the scaling and adoption of net zero solutions. To explain what is meant by systemic barriers, please watch this short recording.

A recording and slides from the briefing event on 31st October 2022 are now available – they can be seen at the bottom of this page.

Thriving Place Challenge will be delivered under two funding awards, which are:

  1. The Pioneer Place awards (launched in October 2022), which aim to support those places which are actively delivering their net zero plans, have a deep understanding of the systemic barriers to scaling and adoption, and are willing to demonstrate and share innovative approaches to overcoming these barriers
  2. The Fast Followers awards (to be launched in winter 2022), which aim to equip local authorities with the experience and skills to overcome non-technical barriers and help to accelerate progress towards net zero.

Am I a Pioneer or a Fast Follower?

Pioneers Fast Follower
Have senior buy-in Have or are in the process of, gaining senior buy-in
Have well-developed net zero plans and a record of delivery Have a high-level strategy but are new to net zero delivery. Programme plans need development in order to deliver.
Recognise and understand the impact of non-technical barriers and how this affects current ambitions Have great ambition to achieve a just transition to net zero in their place
Have business partners and wider stakeholders engaged in their plans, and keen to share their pioneering approaches Are keen to learn from others and be open in sharing experiences
Have an organisation that is committed to rapidly delivering net zero by the most effective and equitable means and has most of the resources and skill sets to do so Have an organisation that is willing to consider alternative ways of working, but lacks the resources/skills sets to make progress

Pioneer Places

The Pioneer Place awards is part of the £60m Net Zero Living programme that aims to support those places who are actively delivering their net zero plans; have a deep understanding of the systemic barriers to scaling and adoption and are willing to demonstrate and share innovative approaches to overcoming these barriers.

The deployment and demonstration of transformative business solutions will enhance quality of life across the UK, improve our homes and offices, address spiralling energy costs, support cleaner and safer transport solutions, protect natural resources, optimise material flows, and accelerate the transition to the UK legal net zero targets.

Pioneer Places will develop innovative solutions to maximise the opportunities associated with taking a systems-based approach. By considering multiple systems and their interdependencies, benefits can be delivered not only in terms of net zero but also to reduce energy usage and cost, provide cleaner and safer transport systems and protect our natural environment through improved resource management.

This Pioneer Places award is delivered over two phases, phase one was launched on Monday 31st October, the recording can be found below and the full details of the Pioneer Places Awards can be found here.

The successful applicants in Phase 1 will be invited to apply for a potential Phase 2 competition. Phase 2 will fund up to 6 places, who will each receive up to £8m to deliver their innovative approaches as developed in Phase 1.

Click here to download the slides from the event, watch the event recording here, and please refer to our Q&A document,

Fast Followers

We will fund up to 20 Fast Followers. The awards will be used to fund a resource within each Local Authority over an 18-24 month period. The aim of these awards is to equip local authorities with the experience and skills to overcome non-technical barriers and help to accelerate progress towards net zero.

They will form part of a Net Zero Living innovation cohort; have access to training and resources provided by Innovate UK and partners, and apply these skills to turn their ambitions into deliverable plans.

These awards are aimed at local authorities who have high net zero ambitions, and have senior-level buy-in, but are constrained by a lack of resources/skill sets to kick start innovative net zero programmes.

More information will be available later this year.

If you are interested in taking part in this programme, being kept informed of the latest updates as this programme develops, and being the first to hear about upcoming KTN or partners’ competitions and support opportunities, please register your contact details below to join our mailing list.

Register your interest in the programme or contact our expert Nilam Banks if you have any questions.

Watch the event recording here, and please refer to our Q&A document.

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Related Opportunities

Net zero living: Pioneer places

Opens: 26/10/2022 Closes: 30/11/2022

UK registered businesses and local authorities can apply for a share of up to £2 million to plan for a place based demonstration of ways to accelerate progress towards net zero.

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Nilam Banks

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Nilam Banks

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