Back to Case Studies

Meet the Partners

Horizons is a shared vision between the VEC (part of the University of Liverpool), Edge Hill University, Liverpool John Moores University and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority that uses UKSPF funding to bring innovation to life within businesses across our six boroughs.


VEC, University of Liverpool

The VEC (Virtual Engineering Centre) is the premier digital innovation impact centre; combining experience, knowledge, and cutting-edge research, the VEC assists clients with exploring the benefits of digital technologies to solve challenging industry problems.

The VEC is part of the University of Liverpool’s IDEAS (Institute of Digital Engineering and Autonomous Systems) and aims to bridge the gap between academic research and product development. Their team of experts tackles industry challenges by utilising emerging research and disruptive technologies alongside standard, low-cost digital tools.

The VEC provides access to digital test-beds and the latest scientific infrastructure, making the team a valuable resource for SMEs and businesses.

The VEC have been delivering digital solutions and strategic support to the design, engineering and manufacturing industries since 2010. The VEC has led multiple projects across the Liverpool City Region that have helped over 650 SMEs including 139 start-ups to strategically deliver their digital transformations, generated over £121m in GVA (Gross Added Value) and supported the creation of 226 new jobs with a further 1,462 predicted by 2032.

Download their full brochure


Liverpool John Moores University

Working with the team at LJMU, beneficiaries will gain access to knowledge, expertise, facilities, and new thinking to drive forward solutions to innovation challenges. As a modern civic university, LJMU is delivering solutions to overcome the challenges of the 21st Century. Here are just some ways the Faculty of Engineering and Technology (FET) are supporting this objective.

FETs collaboration with local, national, and international industrial partners is critical in fulfilling the University’s core mission to serve “its people and communities, at home and further afield; enriching the lives of those they work with and acting as an anchor institution in the City of Liverpool”.

FET has set up a dedicated departmental resource as part of LJMU’s strategy and mission with a focus to play a unique role in fusing industry and academia together to promote value-added engagement and help strengthen the culture of innovation within the University and LCR.

Find out more here


Edge Hill University – SME Productivity & Innovation Centre

The SME Productivity & Innovation Centre (SME PIC) delivers the High Growth Innovation Sprint Programme, an internationally recognised research-informed business support programme designed to help unlock the scaleup potential of SMEs.

The SME PIC identifies and supports scaleup potential SMEs for maximising the disproportionate growth potential and advantages they can offer to the local and national economy. The programme is based on a research-informed methodology that embeds highly effective practices in design thinking, collaborative innovation and data-driven decision-making.

Since 2017, the programme has been delivered across the Lancashire and Liverpool City Regions priority industry and employment sectors. The programme has supported over 239 SMEs and helped them achieve an average growth of 29% and an average profitability increase of over 28%.   The programme has also supported the creation of 523 jobs and 119 new products/services or technologies launched with a return on public investment of £1:£13.90.

The High Growth Innovation Sprint Programme has received endorsement from the ScaleUp Institute, identifying it as one of the best scaleup programmes in the country.

Find out more about their programme