[18 May 2023]

European Union-funded Flood Innovation Centre leaves a lasting legacy

Since 2019, the University of Hull’s Flood Innovation Centre (FIC) has used European Union funding to support more than 250 businesses across the country with a broad range of projects, services and activities aimed at making our communities more resilient to flooding.

More than 80 of these businesses have received expert advice, training and practical support to help them better protect their premises, staff, stock and other assets against threat of flooding. It’s estimated that every £1 spent on flood resilience measures saves around £5 in damage to a business premises, which means that the work delivered by the Flood Innovation Centre has potentially saved businesses millions of pounds in lost stock and income, clean-up costs and repair work.

Meanwhile, some of the other businesses the team worked with have drawn upon the Flood Innovation Centre’s wealth of expertise and resources to develop, test and launch innovative flood resilience products and services. Major success stories include the team’s role in the development of the ground-breaking FloodSafe House, which is designed to detect a flood event, triggering the house to rise above flood waters on a specially designed mechanical jack system, protecting both property and residents.

The Flood Innovation Centre has also supported a number of charities and Community Interest Companies (CICs) keen to boost their resilience to climate change with online and face-to-face training sessions to upskill their staff, directly impacting upon the communities that they work with. Several Community Interest Companies took advantage of the Flood Innovation Centre’s in-depth expertise and received specialist support tailored to their individual needs to tackle flood-related problems that they were facing. In total, the FIC team has engaged with more than 2500 businesses, charities, schools and other organisations.

Advice on business support available at 13 June event

Many of the businesses that have received support from the Flood Innovation Centre will be demonstrating their products and services at a Flood Innovation Showcase event taking place at Aura Innovation Centre at Bridgehead Business Park, near Hessle in East Yorkshire, on Tuesday 13 June. This free event is open to businesses and charities from across the Yorkshire and Humber region and beyond. It will provide an opportunity for them to find out more about the flood resilience work that has been taking place, as well as chatting to teams from a wide range of local and regional business support services and seeing examples of property flood resilience products that can help them to ensure that their business is better prepared for the risk of flooding. A free lunch will be provided and there will also be opportunities for networking.

For more information or to book a place, visit the Flood Innovation Showcase event page.

Anton James of the Flood Innovation Centre talks to a small business person

Sarah Clark, who oversees the University of Hull’s regional funding portfolio, said:

“Thanks to the work that the team has been able to deliver using funding from the European Regional Development Fund, hundreds of businesses and charities are now not only more aware of the flood risk that they face but have taken practical steps to make themselves more flood resilient. We’re delighted that the Flood Innovation Centre has also helped to bring several innovative products and services to market that will have a lasting impact on the flood resilience of our communities.

“Although the latest tranche of funding ceases this year, the support that the team has been able to provide to businesses and charities will continue in a different form through the Aura Innovation Centre, bringing world leading energy and environment expertise closer to the business community and sharing the wealth of flood resilience knowledge and expertise that the University of Hull excels at.”

Sarah Clark of the University of Hull's Aura Innovation Centre
Pictured: Sarah Clark of the University of Hull’s Aura Innovation Centre

Although the nature of the support on offer from the Flood Innovation Centre is changing, you can still find out more about the Flood Innovation Centre and its work by browsing our website: www.floodinnovation.co.uk.

The University of Hull established the £3.4 million Flood Innovation Centre back in 2019 to champion flood innovation among small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and was successful in securing £1.9 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This was matched with a £1.5 million contribution from the University itself.