We want to be part of positive change

The Rural Design Centre Innovation Project is a collaboration between Advance Northumberland, Innovation SuperNetwork and Northumbria University, and will take advantage of the expertise of each entity to help organisations deliver real tangible change in our communities.

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Using our networks across the region we enable you to work alongside the right experts, enabling new products and services to be developed and tested in the communities they are intended to support. 

Living and working in a rural community brings with it challenges that urban living does not. For us, being able to bring together people from rural communities, researchers, businesses and organisations across multiple sectors means that we are able to work with the people we are supporting and helping them to come up with groundbreaking ideas. 

The challenges faced in our rural communities tend to require thinking from different perspectives and fields of expertise and we can facilitate the bringing together of the relevant people in order to make positive change.

The objectives of this project

Our aim is to be a part of the positive changes and implementation of problem-solving initiatives within our rural communities.

We do this by providing support to small and medium sized organisations as they identify opportunities and develop new products or services as a result.

Innovation can be a word that organisations do not think applies to them, however, time and time again we see amazing innovative design applied to a problem and a solution developed by people who would have not thought of themselves as innovative.

The project team are experts in design thinking and have the expertise to support your organisation from initial concept, through development and prototyping, right through to the launch of your product or service.

Over the lifetime of the project, we will support 150 small and medium sized organisations in their endeavours to make meaningful change in rural communities in the North of Tyne region.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England European Structural and Investment Fund Programme 2014-20 and part-funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, we are investing in a wide and varied range of organisations so that they have the resources to investigate issues faced by rural communities.

The ongoing challenges the project is currently focusing on.

We are currently working in a number of communities and offering support in a number of different areas.

If your organisation operates in any of the following areas, or, would like to bring forward a new service or product within any of these areas, please get in touch to discuss how to get involved with the team.

  • PV panels
  • Battery charging methods
  • Retrofitting for purpose
  • Biochar production
  • Renewable energy
  • High street rejuvenation
  • Supporting the integration of new services and attractions

How we will support your organisation

We can provide your organisation with the necessary support to develop ideas into viable products and services.

You will meet with a Business Advisor who will provide you with an introduction to the project and understand more about how your organisation works and the support that you need. Our Design Associates will then work with you directly whilst also ensuring that the right representatives from intermediary organisations, trade bodies and relevant industry experts are involved in the development of your ideas.

The support you receive will enable you to discuss the viability of your ideas with industry experts and to apply for grant support to develop your idea, enabling your organisation to develop and test your new product or service with the ultimate aim of bringing it to the market.

You may choose to utilise the grant support available for the commercial launch, identifying and protecting intellectual property, undertaking feasibility studies or other developmental. The project team will be able to support you to understand the most appropriate route for you.

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Registering for the project

Your first step is to complete the registration form within this site.

The registration form will ask you a number of questions about your organisation. This is so that we can ascertain your eligibility but also so that we can tailor the support that you go on to receive. We expect the registration to take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Reception Area of The Rivergreen Centre, Stannington, Morpeth

More information about the Rural Design Centre

Delivered from The Rivergreen Centre in Stannington, Morpeth, the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project is one strand of a range of work being delivered by the Rural Design Centre.

If you would like to understand more about the wider work being undertaken by the Rural Design Centre to support rural communities head over to their website.

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