Innovation in the West Midlands

Two major programmes of work are driving forward innovation in the West Midlands by supporting local innovators and bolstering the region's ability to spark commercial growth and investment.

Connected Places Catapult is working alongside industry and academic partners to deliver two programmes, DIATOMIC and Clean Futures, as part of the wider West Midlands Innovation Accelerator.

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’. DIATOMIC and Clean Futures will build on this foundation, supporting innovators in the region and increasing the West Midland’s overall capability to spark commercial growth and investment.


DIATOMIC (Digital InnovAtion TransfOrMatIve Change) is designed to accelerate place-based innovation in the West Midlands. Harnessing the region’s existing international relationships and through a series of targeted initiatives.

The programme is being led by Connected Places Catapult alongside partners: Aston University, Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham.

DIATOMIC is harnessing the West Midlands’ digital expertise to spark inclusive growth and accelerate global investment. The programme is supporting local SMEs to respond to challenges set by Birmingham City Council and establishing the UK’s first inclusive innovation hub. It is also promoting the use of data to enable better place-based decision making and supporting global business initiatives.

Contact the project team

For any enquiries about the DIATOMIC programme, please contact Catherine Hadfield, DIATOMIC Programme Lead.


About Clean Futures

Clean Futures will support the West Midlands’ transport sector as it transitions away from fossil fuels towards clean tech. The programme will also drive economic growth in the region by accelerating the route to market for SMEs in the sector.

Clean Futures is being led by Connected Places Catapult alongside partners: the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, Coventry University and CU Services Limited. Over the course of two years, 40 SMEs will be selected to join a 6-month, challenge-led accelerator where they will receive up to £50K to trial their solution. The challenges in the accelerator will be built around very light rail and automotive manufacturing, along with related supply chains. The accelerator will also provide bespoke technical and commercial support as well as networking and showcasing events to connect the SMEs with industry and financial partners.

This accelerator will attract high growth SMEs from existing supply chains as well as those looking to move into new sectors. It will support them in developing clean technology transport solutions and demonstrating their value to Tier 1 vendors and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). To ensure sustainability and long-term benefits, the Clean Futures project is establishing the Clean Futures Catalyst, which will bring together the wider West Midlands transport community to enhance the region’s capacity for clean technology across all sectors. It will support the development of a pipeline of capable innovators for future accelerator programs and engage local businesses, industry partners, service providers, and local government bodies in making the region a leader in the technologies required for cleaner industry and transport.

On 30 April 2024 the Clean Futures Accelerator will open for another round of applications, with transport innovators in the West Midlands encouraged to apply for funding and support, register to be notified when applications open.

Register here

Contact the project team

For any enquiries about the Clean Futures programme, please contact Rebecca Goulding, Accelerator Programme Team Lead.


Coventry University and Coventry University Services Ltd