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Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund

We’re working with public, private and third sector organisations to find solutions to grand challenges facing society.

The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) have engaged Cardiff University’s Centre for Innovation Policy Research (CIPR) and Y Lab to develop and deliver a £10m Challenge Fund programme to find, develop and scale innovative solutions to major societal challenges.

The Challenge

Are you a public sector organisation interested in developing challenges and connecting with organisations that can provide innovative solutions?

The programme, which will run over three and a half years, aims to build local wealth, creating commercial opportunities for local authorities, public service providers and organisations across the CCR by inviting them to propose solutions to challenges across three priority themes:

  • accelerating decarbonisation
  • improving the health and wellbeing of the region’s citizens
  • supporting, enhancing and transforming communities.

While these are all long-term problems public sector bodies would grapple with, their urgency has intensified following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, local and national restrictions have raised new questions about how we organise our transport and improve air quality. They have also increased the need to find new solutions to help our struggling high streets and town centres, which have been faced with economic downturn.

The Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund is a really exciting development for the city region, especially as we seek to rebuild the economy in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Challenge Fund will galvanise the collaboration between Cardiff University researchers and the Cardiff Capital Region on local economic development, and offers public service providers the opportunity to benefit from the University's research and innovation expertise as we jointly strive to find solutions to key societal challenges.

Professor Gillian Bristow Head of the School of Geography and Planning

Our research

The fund includes £2m provision for research, management and operational activities that will be undertaken by CIPR and Y Lab in partnership with the CCR and is an opportunity for researchers to shape and develop a challenge fund initiative by:

  • bringing relevant evidence from similar schemes elsewhere
  • informing new policy and practice
  • participating in the practical application of research
  • contributing to public services innovation.

This research and engagement builds on the previous work of members of both CIPR and Y Lab and anticipates future opportunities as challenge funds become increasingly part of policy approaches to economic development and innovation.  The Programme will further demonstrate how public sector organisations can act as the catalyst for innovation through innovative procurement approaches.

Innovating together

By working together with the CCR Challenge Fund Team, you'll:

  • explore innovative solutions to local economic challenges
  • tailor solutions to improve local service delivery
  • ‘break through’ public procurement frameworks and create new markets
  • commercialise solutions to scale and sell
  • grow and develop local supply chains.
The future requires us to rethink and reshape, to embrace innovation and change and to work with greater agility and collaboration to create new markets and better, more sustainable futures. This initiative allows us to do that and I am looking forward to playing a full and active role in driving this initiative forward.
Philippa Marsden, Leader Caerphilly County Borough Council, CCR Regional Cabinet, and member of the Challenge Fund Strategic Board

Events and workshops

Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund Workshop Series

We will be running a series of workshops to support interested applicants in thinking through their challenges and strengthening their applications with us and others in the Cardiff Capital Region.

New workshop dates for round 2 of applications to be announced in summer 2021.

Funding and Support for Public Sector Driven Challenges

A briefing event to introduce the CCR Challenge Fund was held on 18 November 2020.

Watch a recording of the event

Thought leadership

In an interview with Business News Wales, Professor Rick Delbridge discussed the reinvigorated focus on innovation both in Wales and as part of the UK’s Research and Development initiatives. What do these developments imply for Wales, as an appetite for a more ambitious and inclusive innovation agenda is revealed, and how is Cardiff University responding to these?

Listen to Professor Delbridge on the Business News Wales podcast.

Register your interest

If you have a challenge idea or would like to be involved in the Challenge Fund, complete an Expression of Interest form and a team member will contact you to discuss your proposed challenge in more detail.

Contact us

Get in touch with our team for more information about the CCR Challenge Fund.

Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund