On Thursday 14th June 2018, Low Carbon South West and Bath University hosted the first in a series of workshops for the European Regional Development Funded STBAH (Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub) programme, a project providing free bespoke support and coaching to start-ups and scale-ups in the West of England that is open to growth businesses in all sectors interested in developing low carbon or sustainable technologies.

Peter Keevil, Entrepreneur in Residence, welcomed guests to the Future Economy Centre and gave a brief introduction to the STBAH programme before handing over to the morning’s first speaker.

David Coley, Professor of Low Carbon Design in the Dept. of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath, opened with an entertaining discussion called ‘Are Buildings Evil?’ looking at the problems in construction and the low carbon capabilities available to building designers, suggesting that design as usual was intrinsically unacceptable, with buildings having become boxes for heating and cooling systems with little change in efficiency since the 19th century, whereas the techniques exist to limit energy requirements to negligible levels.

See David Coley’s slides here

He was followed by David Mason, Senior Sustainability Manager for Skanska who gave a very insightful presentation around the key challenges, emerging trends and evolving technologies within the built environment. David gave an overview of construction and urbanisation globally, illustrating the size of the challenge and discussing how Skanska measure their projects whilst moving towards ‘deep green’ and near zero carbon construction, whilst reinforcing the importance of learning from past projects and experiences.

See David Mason’s slides here


Sophia Cox from the UK Green Building Council went on to discuss sustainability megatrends and industry responses from a UK Green Building Council perspective. She was followed by Josie Gough, South West Regional Manager, Innovate UK, who outlined Innovate’s second wave of Industrial Strategy Challenge funding; a huge opportunity for UK business to lead the way globally. This next wave of funding is themed around the energy revolution, transforming construction, transforming food production, data and early diagnosis in precision medicine, healthy ageing, an audience for the future, next generation services and quantum technologies.

See Josie’s slides here


Laura Zuluaga Cardona, Industrial Partnerships Manager, University of Bath.then spoke about the benefits of business-university collaboration, specifically in relation to skills, research and development and innovation. She highlighted the collaborations that can be made in relation to internships, apprenticeships, dissertations, secondments, collaboration research projects, knowledge transfer partnerships, incubation schemes and knowledge transfer amongst others!

See Laura’s slides here

These presentations were followed by an open panel discussion entitled “Securing Funding for Innovation” which included Rebecca Humphreys of Leyton and Catalyst Venture Partners Richard Turner alongside Laura and Josie and enabled attendees to address any specific questions they still had about the funding opportunities available including the ERDF funded STBAH programme. The event closed with a very lively networking buffet lunch!

As part of the workshop series, it is hoped that businesses will sign up to the STBAH programme where bespoke business support and coaching is available to businesses in low carbon innovation across the West of England. The support is free and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. More information is available at the STBAH website.

Spaces are still available for the next free workshop on 12th July at the Innovation Centre in Bath and will focus on Low Carbon Innovation in Energy Systems – more information and details on how to secure your place can be found here.

We would like to offer sincere thanks to the speakers for their in-depth and enlightening presentations, and also a huge thank you to all attendees – we hope you found it worthwhile and came away with some useful insights.

To find out more about Low Carbon South West click here.

Author: Katherine Piper