City of Birmingham in the evening

Connected Places Catapult, the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership, today announced that applications are open for the new DIATOMIC Accelerator. From today, innovative small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands can apply for support and funding to trial solutions in response to one of four challenge areas identified by Birmingham City Council. A total of half a million pounds is available to support up to 12 companies selected to take part, with each being supported to develop and deliver live testing and trials.

The Digital Innovation Transformative Change (DIATOMIC) Accelerator is designed to harness the region’s knowledge base in digital technologies, helping to bolster innovation and R&D capacity to spark commercial growth and investment.

Delivered in partnership with the University of Birmingham, Aston University, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City University and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, will harness the region's existing international relationships and through a series of targeted initiatives, it will focus on growing the region's clean tech, health tech and med tech markets.

At the core of our Plan for Growth - and at the heart of the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator programmes – is a drive to spark growth and investment. This funding and support from the DIATOMIC programme will help innovators right across our region trial cutting edge digital technologies for the benefit of local people - tackling some of the key challenges we face here in the West Midlands.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

Raj Mack, member of the Birmingham Digital Partnership, said: “This is a great opportunity for innovators and SMEs to work with the City to design new products and services with a focus on solving some of the real challenges right on their doorstep and enhance Birmingham’s reputation as the place for digital innovation in the UK. I encourage everyone to consider applying.”

Firms with innovative approaches to collecting data, monitoring performance, sharing knowledge and engaging with members of the public are invited to put themselves forward. The identified challenges are:

  • Data insights: How can technology transform the way Birmingham City Council connects, analyses and understands data about assets, resources and user behaviours to drive efficiencies and better serve citizens’ needs?
  • Performance: How can technology transform public service delivery through monitoring and evaluation that improves standards, compliance and efficiency, to meet the needs and expectations of citizens?
  • Citizen engagement: How can technology transform how Birmingham City Council engages with citizens and enable meaningful dialogue to meet the environmental and service needs of the city and its residents?
  • Knowledge sharing: How can technology transform training and knowledge sharing at Birmingham City Council to increase capability and confidence in regulation, decarbonisation and compliance, to better serve the needs of citizens?

Alongside funding for the development and delivery of testing and trials, companies selected for the Accelerator will benefit from bespoke technical and commercial support as well as networking and showcasing events to connect with industry and financial partners.

Nicola Yates OBE, Chief Executive at Connected Places Catapult, said: “The West Midlands has a well-established position as a front runner in developing new digital technologies. We’re excited to be working with the City Council and other partners in the region to bring this expertise to bear on solving some of the Council’s most important challenges.”

“I encourage local businesses to think creatively about how their solutions might help address the challenges we have outlined and consider applying.”

Councilor Saima Suleman at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham City Council is always looking for new ways to improve our services. By working with partners on the DIATOMIC programme, we hope to not only develop new technologies that benefit the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands, but in doing so support local businesses to lift their ideas off the drawing board and into our daily lives.”