Clean Futures Accelerator

Calling all West Midlands innovators: receive up to £50K in challenges built around rail and automotive manufacturing and their related supply chains.

Opportunity Details


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Up to £50K in trial funding which must be matched in-kind (e.g. labour time), plus collaboration with industry leaders, coaching and mentoring, support, technical expertise, introductions to investors and customers, and access to the Clean Futures Catalyst.

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The West Midlands has huge potential to drive jobs and growth through harnessing the power of innovation. As identified in the West Midlands Plan for Growth, the region is the centre for key growth clusters for advanced manufacturing and home to the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’.

Clean Futures is supporting the West Midlands’ transport sector as it transitions away from fossil fuels towards clean tech and driving economic growth in the region by accelerating the route to market for SMEs in the sector. The programme is being led by Connected Places Catapult alongside partners: the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, Coventry University and Coventry University Services Limited.

Now in its second year, 20 SMEs will be selected to join a 6-month, challenge-led accelerator where they will receive up to £50K to trial their solution which must be matched in-kind (e.g. labour time / materials.) The challenges in the accelerator are built around rail and automotive manufacturing, along with related supply chains. The accelerator also provides bespoke technical and commercial support as well as networking and showcasing events to connect the SMEs with industry and financial partners.

On 15 May, Connected Places Catapult will host an Application Support Webinar. This event will give applicants the opportunity to find out more about the programme offering, challenges, the application process, scoring criteria and the assessment process. There will also be a live Q&A for prospective applicants to ask any further questions or check their eligibility. Click here to register for a place.

The challenges are:

Challenge 1: Clean and Efficient Vehicle Manufacturing and Assembly

The focus areas of this challenge are as follows.

  • Minimising scope 3 emissions in the production of sustainable vehicles
  • Improving the integration of sustainable vehicles into the circular economy
  • Addressing a major barrier in the adoption of clean transport technologies: the cost of acquisition and operation.
Challenge 2: Design or production of cost-effective solutions for a clean transportation infrastructure

The objective is to contribute to the development of mass rail-based transit systems that are accessible to everyone, fostering a unified public transport network that is clean, reliable and sustainable. We are seeking rail solutions that either introduce a brand-new infrastructure approach or centre on retrofitting existing infrastructures to make them greener.

Challenge 3: Future Fuels: Produce, transport, or store alternative fuels such as hydrogen or biofuels

We are in search of applicants that are actively involved in the production, transportation, or storage of biofuels or hydrogen within the West Midlands. These efforts should aim to make alternative fuels readily available to end-users, thereby supporting the region’s sustainable energy ecosystem.

Challenge 4: Open Challenge

The Open Challenge is designed to foster a wide array of sustainable solutions that support our collective vision for a greener future. Beyond the accelerator’s main three challenges, the Clean Futures programme welcomes applications which contribute to sustainable transport and clean manufacturing in general.

To apply for any of these 4 challenges, you must be an SME with:

  • A UK company address
  • An innovative technology or solution with a Technology Readiness Level of 5 or above
  • Demonstratable alignment to one of the challenges being addressed by this programme
  • The ability to travel for face-to-face meetings and events in the West Midlands
  • Development, testing and/or demonstration of your solution is feasible using the BCIMO or Coventry University test site facilities
  • In-kind match funding contribution of £50k
    (e.g labour, materials)
  • Solution must have demonstrable impact within the West Midlands


  • Existing operational presence in the West Midlands

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