£4.9 million NextGenChem Hub set to promote innovation across Lancashire

September 22, 2020 - 11:15am

£4.9 million NextGenChem Hub set to promote innovation across Lancashire

A new business-support hub aims to spearhead innovation for Lancashire businesses that produce or use chemicals.

Co-designed between Lancaster University and Yordas Group, a provider of scientific and regulatory consultancy services, the £4.9 million NextGenChem programme will work with 300 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to boost growth in chemical-using industries - such as aerospace, automotive, energy, applied healthcare, and life sciences sectors.

The three-year programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will lead to the creation of new and improved products and processes with support delivered through a blend of targeted workshop activities focused around innovative synthesis, formulation, chemical process development, and bespoke technical and analytical research and development support.

“Together, Lancaster University and Yordas Group present a complimentary range of expertise in various scientific areas with a unique industrial insight”, said Dr Safyan Khan, NextGenChem Project Manager with Lancaster University. “With world-leading experts and state-of-the-art facilities, the NextGenChem Hub is fully prepared to tackle R&D challenges being faced by Lancashire’s SMEs.”

Businesses are invited to NextGenChem’s first webinar, which takes place between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesday, 22nd September. Delivered by Dr Lucas Gent, NextGenChem Project Manager for Yordas Group. the webinar will introduce some of the facilities, experts and expertise available through the NextGenChem Hub.

Businesses will hear how they can utilise support to develop next-generation technology solutions, improved products and novel materials. The event will also provide an opportunity to find out about the full range of free support available, ask questions and to explore experiences and ideas with like-minded businesses.

“We’re launching this exciting innovation programme with an introductory webinar,” said Dr Lucas Gent, NextGenChem Project Manager for Yordas Group. “This online event will give you an insight into the NextGenChem Hub, including details on the types of support available, facilities on offer and how to get involved. We are thrilled to engage with Lancashire businesses to support their innovation journey.”

Support is available free-of-charge for eligible SMEs based in Lancashire. Businesses that use chemicals and would like to learn more can visit www.nextgenchemhub.org or contact info@nextgenchemhub.org

Companies can register online to take part in the webinar.

NextGenChem will offer a range of opportunities for businesses including:

  • Online innovation support
  • Project collaboration
  • Knowledge exchange workshops
  • Learning about the latest developments in chemistry to create efficiencies and develop new products/processes
  • Access to funded consultancy and chemistry expertise to help solve business challenges
  • Resources and time to develop innovative new products, processes and services
  • Access to specialist equipment and laboratories worth more than £45 million, along with workshop materials
  • Access to and advice on the latest regional, national and international funding streams for R&D

Businesses will be able to access more than £45m worth of scientific equipment, plus new analytical equipment such as a catalyst assessment rig, a robotics automation platform, a kilo laboratory, and equipment suites in Lancaster University’s cTAP facility, which is also part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

As part of the innovation support on offer, participants will have access to leading scientists from Lancaster University and Yordas Group. Through a mixture of collaborative conversations, digital and in-person site visits to business premises and tours of the University’s facilities, the project team will work with businesses to identify bespoke solutions.

NextGenChem is part of a suite of new programmes from Lancaster University offering £11.4M resources to businesses in North West England. The programmes are recruiting businesses now. For more information, and to register for the programmes, please visit www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/innovate


Lancaster University has a long and demonstrably successful track record in increasing the innovation capacity and competitiveness of SMEs within North West England. Since 1998, Lancaster University has delivered more than 50 European Structural Investment Fund projects and programmes aimed at SMEs. These programmes have a combined value of over £220m. Over this period, Lancaster University has worked with more than 10,000 SMEs and has created and safeguarded almost 10,000 jobs.