Next Generation Professional Services Innovation Research Fund

Birmingham and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) have joined forces to launch an Innovation Research Pilot Fund.

The fund will act as a forerunner to establishing a Modern Professional Services Innovation District at Centenary Square. It seeks to support boundary pushing pilot projects that are delivered by collaborative teams from industry, policy and academia.

We are seeking innovative, small-scale projects that apply new techniques and ideas to improving modern professional services. These rapid turnaround projects should provide new insights and have clear pathways for growth after the pilot phase. Your project might explore data use and sharing, and how this can inform new investments; new ways of identifying and addressing crucial skills gaps; innovative post-Covid-19 recovery strategies; or an entirely new approach to solving a prevailing sector challenge. Boldness and imagination are key!

If you have an idea that would benefit from up to £4,000 seed-corn funding and engagement with stakeholders across academia, industry, and policy, we are interested in hearing from you.

Eligible Projects

To be considered for funding, projects should:

  • Clearly demonstrate alignment with the West Midlands Local Industrial Strategy, and describe how the project will benefit not only your primary sector(s) but Birmingham and the surrounding region as a whole. 
  • Be led by a team spanning industry and academia as a minimum, and preferably with policy representatives. Projects that include PhD students are also encouraged.
  • Be clearly aligned with modern professional services, e.g. accountancy, finance, legal services, insurance, real estate, etc. Applications should outline how the project will benefit the chosen sector(s) of focus.
  • Demonstrate innovation at the core of the project, and clearly articulate how the funding will enable progress.
  • Include costs for research activities only (time will not be funded).
  • Not exceed £3,000 in value or be expected to take longer than 3-6 months to deliver.


Funded project teams must produce a brief report at the end of the project outlining the project, its findings and proposed routes to growth/implementation. Reports must be submitted no later than two months after project completion.


To apply, please follow this link: 

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