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Unilever renew membership with Sensor City

Sensor City will provide Unilever with a bespoke package of technical and business support over the next two years, as part of a joint commitment to drive innovation within Liverpool City Region.

LIVERPOOL-BASED global innovation hub Sensor City has secured a two-year extension of their corporate membership deal with Unilever.

The agreement will see Sensor City, which sits at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) Mayoral Development Zone, deliver an enhanced package of support to the global FMCG producer, comprising of technical project delivery, facilitated access to student and academic researchers and collaborative engagement opportunities.

The renewed relationship comes as a welcome move amid the current economic climate and aims to strengthen industry and academic engagement in the region, as part of a joint commitment to driving innovation.

With the region’s technology, science and digital sectors set to play a prominent role in the city’s economic recovery following the current pandemic, continued investment from global players like Unilever into Liverpool City Region is crucial to the acceleration of this resurgence.

Louise Goodman, Business and Innovations Manager at Sensor City, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with Unilever and building on the proven value that our engineers and business support teams can offer.

“Working with high profile companies like Unilever adds another dimension to our dynamic business community and we look forward to supporting Unilever’s innovation agenda over the next two years.”

Unilever’s support will be delivered through a call on/call off package, which will ensure a rapid response to new opportunities for innovation and provide agility to meet the demands of Unilever’s business objectives, as they evolve over the coming months.

The initial framework of activity will focus on access to Liverpool City Region’s student and academic talent, integration into the local start-up ecosystem and collaboration opportunities with Sensor City’s partner universities.

Additionally, technical support through Sensor City’s multi-disciplinary engineering team and their £1m laboratory facilities will provide Unilever with access to rapid prototyping and creative R&D capabilities in the heart of Liverpool.

Helen Brannon, Research and Development Manager at Unilever, said: “At Unilever, our vision is simple: to make sustainable living commonplace. We’re convinced that the businesses that thrive in the future will be those that serve society today.

“Hence, we are always looking for innovative ways to collaborate with external partners within our local ecosystem, to simultaneously grow our business whilst supporting local businesses and Universities.

“Together we can grow and achieve good science.

“Our membership of Sensor City enables us access to rapid prototyping facilities, potential collaborations with SME companies hosted at Sensor City as well as access to future talent through potential projects with the students of Sensor City.  

Sensor City’s ongoing relationship with Unilever extends back to 2017, when the innovation hub ran a two day Hack and Pitch event with Innovate UK, to find novel approaches and solutions for three packaging challenges set by Unilever’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Port Sunlight, Wirral.

More recently, Sensor City helped Unilever secure valuable connections within the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Materials and Structures, in response to a sensor-based project requiring academic expertise and research input.

Currently more than 5,000 Unilever R&D professionals across the globe are building their brands through innovation, and nurturing their future skills pipeline is also a key priority. Over the next 24 months, Sensor City plan to support the connection of Unilever’s research priorities to student project opportunities, within both the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

Helen Brannon added: “Sensor City provides a direct route in for us to the latest technologies being developed locally and the creative minds behind them.

“Formally extending our relationship with Sensor City, via their Corporate Membership programme, provides us with additional innovation support and an established network to share our own student opportunities through.”

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