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Maximising our distinctive world-leading assets and capabilities to drive regional and national economic growth


Our ambition

Our ambition is to invest 5% of Liverpool City Region GVA in Research & Development (R&D) by 2030.

That’s nearly double the Government’s target of investing at least 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027 – as the UK strives to consolidate its position as a science and innovation superpower.

To reach the UK target some regions must over perform and the Liverpool City Region is perfectly placed to do just that.

Achieving the city region’s 5% target would deliver an estimated £41.7bn of gross economic benefit, a 10% increase in productivity and 44,000 new jobs.

Person stood in front of computer at Hartree Centre

Our vision

Through targetted and scalable innovation funds complementing much larger scale national and private investment, Liverpool City Region is backing innovators with great ideas and world-class products – turning them into high-growth businesses that offer quality jobs and add to UK plc’s bottom line.

To reach its target, the UK needs a small number of places to step up and significantly out-perform the average.

We are that place. We are coordinated, committed, energised, and have an ambition that can directly contribute to driving UK productivity and delivering the Government’s levelling up, Global Britain and scientific superpower agendas.

And we can achieve this through a long-term programme of high-impact R&D projects created in partnership with the Government, industry, and research institutions.

We are THE PLACE that can demonstrate the assets, commitment, expertise, and the ecosystem. We can demonstrate sustained world-leading innovation – because we’ve been doing it for more than a century and we’re still doing it.

Now it’s time for both the Government and industry to co-invest in our vision and help us invent the future. Let’s make a better world…because it makes business sense.

The UK has a vision – one that’s shared by the Liverpool City Region – to be a science superpower driven by innovation.

The UK’s ambition is for Research and Development to account for 2.4% of UK GDP by 2027 but our ambition goes much further. We have a goal for R&D spending to reach 5% of GVA by 2030 – nearly double the UK target.

And our ambition is not a pipe dream: it’s borne out of a £2bn pipeline of projects and a further £725m of projects already underway that are mainly rooted in Liverpool City Region’s distinctive, world-leading strengths in infection control and health/life sciences, materials chemistry, AI solutions, and net-zero innovation.

It’s founded on one of the most highly developed approaches to innovation in the UK – spread across the city region and clustered around established internationally significant science and industrial assets, plus new, emerging innovation capabilities.

Through the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine led iiCON programme, the University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory, and the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation, we have the global assets to shape the future.

Add to that, major investment potential, track record, close partnership, an entrepreneurial approach, and a business ecosystem tailored to innovation, we can deliver results for UK plc – as well as the Liverpool City Region.

And it’s driven by political leadership that knows actions speak louder than words.

View our Innovation Prospectus
LCR innovation assets and projects map

What makes the Liverpool City Region ideal for R&D investment?

  • Distinctive world-leading capabilities and competitive strengths in infection, health and life sciences, materials chemistry and AI/high performance computing.
  • Major emerging strengths in offshore wind, hydrogen power, tidal energy and industrial decarbonisation, plus a place of world-firsts in decarbonising industry as we strive towards our target to be net zero by 2040.
  • Our long-standing pedigree of world-changing invention and applied science. We created the world’s first commercial wet dock and tropical disease research institute. We are the birthplace of the railways, and are the home of the Lever brothers landmark mission to ‘make cleanliness commonplace’, Beecham’s first pill factory and where Pilkington pioneered float glass. And we continue to be a place of pioneers and innovation in old specialisms and new.
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine building

Distinctive world-leading assets and capabilities that are catalysing wider innovation clusters


Unilever’s global R&D HQ and IP powerhouse at Port Sunlight.

Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) – a leading recipient of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, and with of the UK’s highest per capita FTE research income.

Materials Innovation Factory

The University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory, which is a world leader in materials chemistry discovery and robotics/lAI-enabled ab automation.

STFC Hartree Centre

The STFC Hartree Centre which in conjunction with IBM Research hosts the world’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to solving industrial R&D challenges.

UK-leading science campuses

UK-leading science campuses Knowledge Quarter Liverpool and SciTech Daresbury (sister to STFC Harwell), plus other emerging asset-based clusters across the LCR.

Actions speak louder than words: a track record of industry-backed innovation and investment with more to come

  • £2bn innovation infrastructure investment in the 5 years pre-pandemic
  • £725m of live projects underway, to solve critical challenges and unlock UK and global market opportunities, including:
    • Glass Futures is a global glass industry-led R&D, innovation and training hub, aiming to evolve into a wider industrial decarbonisation campus.
    • Hynet is a pan-NorthWest and North Wales hydrogen production and carbon storage innovation programme. It has already led to the world-first industrial fuel switching at Pilkington and Unilever – using hydrogen to power energy-intensive industrial processes.
    • 212km gigabit capable LCR Connect full fibre network being delivered via an innovative international commercial JV and creating the infrastructure to drive further innovation.
    • A further £2bn R&D project pipeline, rising to more than £9bn if Mersey Tidal – the UK’s largest public sector led renewable energy project – and Hynet NW are included.

An environment for innovation that sets us apart


Proprietary innovation logic model and metrics, distinctive asset-based cluster development, and a smart specialisation approach typified by the 2017 BEIS-commissioned LCR+ Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) that was refreshed in 2022.

Business innovation

Scalable business innovation & diffusion programmes: These include LCR 4.0 and successor projects including Made Smarter, the Future Innovation Fund and LCR Ventures, renamed LYVA Labs, which is the city region’s first dedicated innovation commercialisation vehicle aiming to energise our business innovation ecosystem.

Integrated approach to skills

Integrated approach to skills with a focus on fusion skills for innovation – demonstrated by the UK’s first dedicated “innovation skills for growth” action plan.

LCR Innovation Board

The LCR’s high level Innovation Board was established in 2014, making it the first dedicated sub-regional body of its kind in the UK.

Its overarching purpose is to provide strategic leadership for the LCR innovation agenda, and drive the translation of knowledge and ideas, raise productivity, maximise investment, inspire and enhance skills, attract/retain talent, and accelerate growth and international competitiveness across all sectors of the LCR economy. Specifically, the Board’s explicit primary objective is to realise the LCR headline ambition of securing annual R&D investment equal to 5% of GVA by 2030.

There is an explicit emphasis on maximising the LCR’s demonstrable, distinctive assets, capabilities and competitive strengths, and its focus is on the science, technology, research & development, and commercialisation aspects of the innovation spectrum.

The Board is facilitated by the Combined Authority, convenes senior representatives from industry, LCR HEIs and other anchor institutions, our two leading science campuses, plus UKRI bodies Innovate UK, EPSRC, and STFC, and chaired by Dr. Jon Hague – Unilever’s Vice President Science & Technology for Homecare – reflecting the Board’s primary focus on commercialisation.

View members

LCR+ Science & Innovation Audit refresh (2022)


Innovation assets & projects map


Innovation Board Terms of Reference


Liverpool City Region continues to attract some of the world’s brightest minds and most innovative businesses. Ever wondered why they’re so keen to live, work and invest here?


Established in 2013, LCR’s Innovation Board was the first of its type in the UK. In May we staged a special event in which guests could meet the Board and learn about the city region’s innovation ambitions.


At the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation, technology giant IBM is helping ‘invent the future and put together new computers, new systems and new approaches to solving big world problems’. IBM UK Research Director Peter Waggett explains the benefits of innovating.


CPI Director of Strategy Dr Arun Harish reveals how Liverpool City Region aims to become a global leader in packaging innovation – leading to 2,000 jobs, while tackling net-zero and sustainability challenges.


The pandemic highlighted the disease-spreading role of germs on surfaces. Liverpool City Region is a world leader in making surfaces antimicrobial, as Professor Rasmita Raval, Director of the University of Liverpool’s Surface Science Research Centre, explains.


iiCON is a poster child of UK innovation- and it’s right in the heart of the Liverpool City Region. Here, director Janet Hemingway reveals the global impact of the infection control consortium – with nearly 3.5 billion units of products delivered to patients and populations in less than two years.


‘In Liverpool City Region there’s a culture of doing more with less. I think we – just by necessity almost – have become more inventive and more entrepreneurial because we haven’t traditionally got the huge amounts of investment that have gone into the South East.’ STFC Executive Director of Business and Innovation Paul Vernon gives his verdict on why Liverpool City Region is an innovation powerhouse.


Unilever Vice President Jonathan Hague explains how the quality of the people and partnerships are behind his company’s continued, massive R&D investment in the Liverpool City Region – combined with it being a ‘great place to be and a great place to live’.


‘Innovators don’t want to come and work in a sterile environment. They want to be in a really cool, interesting innovation-led environment’ – Knowledge Quarter CEO Colin Sinclair explains why the city region is a magnet for innovators.


Glass Futures is a globally unique development that’s not just a flagship for Liverpool City Region innovation but is also leading the way in decarbonising energy-intensive industry. General manager Aston Fuller tells us more about the world-leading project in St Helens – the home of glass.

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