Project Details


Established in 2018, Clean Growth UK is a national, university-led business network comprised of three hubs, the University of Brighton (lead partner), Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Portsmouth. It was designed to catalyse clean innovation and deliver research with impact. We have created a thriving clean growth business-innovation network of 2000+ members, which adds significant value to member businesses, organisations and universities. We support organisations aiming to create and mainstream the products, services and business models required for rapid transition to a net zero, sustainable economy. We’ve demonstrated the strong potential for research with impact to drive clean growth and the role of SMEs as innovation drivers. Clean Growth UK pools the Knowledge Exchange (KE) expertise and capabilities of its three regional cleantech networks. Through our three university hubs, we provide and broker support focused on developing innovations and R&D projects, commercialising ideas, and securing funding for businesses and researchers on a mission to protect the planet for future generations.

Layperson's description

Clean Growth UK is a national, university-led business network that was designed to catalyse clean innovation and growth. The project seeks to capitalise on the strong potential for cleantech sectors to drive economic growth and the role of SMEs as innovation drivers, backed up by the following national/international commitments to transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy: Paris Agreement; UK Climate Change Act; Industrial/Clean Growth Strategies. The three regional hubs had identified the barriers to development/commercialisation of clean products and services including: a lack of awareness around Higher Education Institution (HEI) expertise/KE potential, difficulty in accessing knowledge from HEIs and lack of facilitation of open innovation between HEIs, public sector, corporates and SMEs. For over two years, the Clean Growth UK project has been successfully connecting university expertise with SME innovators and large public & private sector organisations within a triple-helix model. To date, we have delivered a £6m+ portfolio of 170+ R&D projects between our Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) members and Clean Growth UK HEIs, safeguarded/created 100+ jobs and aided in the development of 100+ new cleantech products and services. Moreover, Clean Growth UK is adding significant value to the UK clean growth innovation eco-system. The project has successfully leveraged non-staff investments of £39m+ comprising investments into companies (£1.5m), regional growth projects (£16.6m) and allied regional low carbon projects such as ERDF programmes (£21.8m).Below are two quotes from Clean Growth UK support recipients: Business Member Quote: “The Clean Growth UK team provided expert advice on moving our R&D project forward. This proved invaluable to the whole project and led to much better outcomes. This will reflect on the businesses development not only in the short term but in the years to come.” Managing Director – Member SME.Quote from Hub Academic: “The Clean Growth UK team introduced us to the cleantech business and helped find the most appropriate path for an R&D project including project funding. It is fantastic to have a team to put you in touch with industry partners and support you with the process. The Clean Growth UK team were very helpful with the paperwork and funding, which takes a lot of time. Working with them has been a fantastic opportunity, and the support was great at each stage.” Principal Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the University of Brighton.Clean Growth UK delivers directly into the UK Government R&D roadmap by: 
• supporting members to develop products/services/processes needed for a green COVID-19 recovery 
• widening engagement in R&D, in contribution to the target of increasing UK R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 
• supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups and increasing the flow of capital into firms carrying out R&D enabling them to scale up.

Key findings

Since 2018, and as of July 2021, Clean Growth UK has delivered the following impacts: - 2,081 businesses have become Clean Growth UK members - 225 university-business R&D projects have been carried out - £18.3m of public/private sector R&D funding has been generated to finance these R&D projects - 156 green products or services have been developed - 409 jobs have been created or safeguarded in member companies as a result of Clean Growth UK support - £43.5m of leverage finance has been generated for zero carbon programmes and company investments as a result of Clean Growth UK activities.These impacts have been delivered through four Clean Growth UK service areas:1.Innovation - our teams link SMEs with university expertise and facilities to enable university to business R&D projects that deliver key research outputs for the institutions and help to develop the green products and services required for a net zero, sustainable economy2.Commercialisation - Clean Growth UK help SMEs to take green innovations to market through our specialist commercialisation support, innovation workshops and peer to peer profitnet groups3.Funding and investment - The project helps SMEs to access grant funding and investment for innovation, growth and funding and support for energy and resource efficiency projects. This enables all three universities to bring in R&D funding and meet funding KPIs4.Membership benefits - Access to regular newsletters, membership directory, collaboration platform, funding search and business resources
Short titleClean Growth UK
Effective start/end date1/04/1830/06/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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