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7 January, 2008 - 14:50 By Staff Reporter

£80 million East of England green innovation fund launched

EEDA is to manage a new £80m programme of European funding designed to support low carbon economic growth in the East of England over the next seven years.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Competitiveness programme has now received formal approval from the European Commission.

The funding will help "improve business productivity and innovation and the ability of companies to respond to the economic challenges and opportunities of climate change in one of the fastest growing regions in the UK," EEDA said.

David Morrall, Europe and international director at EEDA, said: "Sir Nicholas Stern’s report on the economics of climate change has characterised the current position as the ‘greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen’ and this unique regional programme represents an important response to this.

"This is one of the fastest growing regions in the UK in terms of the population and economy but we are punching below our weight with low skills levels and an uneven performance in innovation and growth. 

Morrall said that the region had made a good start in building the foundations of a sustainable low carbon economy through facilities such as renewable energy hub, Orbis Energy and the growing cluster of low carbon technology companies in Peterborough – the largest such cluster in the country.

EEDA will be publishing a detailed prospectus at the end of January at the official launch of the programme to help partners "develop quality proposals." It will set out details of the arrangements for delivering the programme including dates for bidding rounds and details of the process for commissioning projects, and the application procedures.

The delivery of the programme will be managed through a combination of strategically commissioned projects and open bidding rounds. There is no minimum or maximum fund but all the projects are expected to meet at least one of the three priorities under the programme. These include support for innovation and knowledge transfer, stimulating enterprise and ensuring sustainable development.

A detailed prospectus will be published following the programme launch by the Commissioner for Regional Policy Danuta Hübner at the Astral Centre, Lowestoft College on January 28.

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