What innovation means to us

Innovation involves the creation of something new: it's an activity, the bringing together of resources, findings, challenges and approaches etc, in new ways. From our unique position and science base the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) has the ability to convene groups and networks to produce innovative products and services.

At CEH we see innovation as the mechanism that turns world-class research into action, enabling ideas, fostering partnerships and improving environmental and public well-being.

Innovation at CEH

By combining ideas and challenges from businesses, NGOs and governments, CEH is able to channel existing knowledge and carry out new research to address specific needs. The results of this activity become concrete and impactful when forged into innovative products and services.  

Our innovation portfolio

Our portfolio includes work from the wide spectrum of terrestrial, freshwater and atmospheric sciences, addressing issues from predicting floods, assessing atmospheric ammonia, land use optimisation, to apps for ecological recording in the field:

Poster showing mobile recording apps created by CEH and collaborators

Knowledge platforms to stimulate innovation

The scientific work of CEH is relevant to all interested in how innovation can improve the environment. Scientific programmes address issues resulting not only in scientific papers but often in open platforms where users can interact with the science as a stimulus for innovation. CEH’s Environmental Information Portal has national platforms for lakes, droughts, rainfall, ecological status and atmospheric pollution etc. The Environmental Information Data Centre hosts a wide range of data sets to explore and case studies illustrate the wide impact of our work.

Environmental Information Platform screengrab

NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellows

A number of CEH’s scientists are actively involved in a dialogue with industry, establishing networks and initiating transfers of knowledge from the research base to where it is needed and used. More information on work by KE Fellows Jeanette Whitaker and Alice Horton can be read below:

Low Carbon Lancashire Innovation Hub

CEH has joined a £5.1 million low-carbon research and development initiative aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises in Lancashire to innovate to create products and services which make a transition towards a low carbon economy. The award-winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University is spearheading the Low Carbon Lancashire Innovation Hub (LoCaL-i), in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and CEH.

The initiative will give SME businesses the chance to benefit from the expertise of leading researchers at CEH and Liverpool John Moores University, thereby enabling them to undertake the research and development necessary to develop successful products. Overall the project will support 180 local businesses to deliver research and development projects of varying duration over a three-year period.

Creating innovative new businesses

CEH, with NERC, has created two spin-out companies since 2000:

Working with business

The new CEH Land Cover® plus: Crops is the first national map of arable crops utilising the Sentinel RADAR satellite. It provides the opportunity to develop a spatial understanding of how the UK's main arable crops relate not only to each other, but also their governing environmental factors. The innovations behind the Crop Map are the product of a collaboration between the Hampshire-based SME Remote Sensing Applications Ltd and CEH.

Detail from Land Cover plus Crops Map 2015 showing crop types

Opportunities for collaboration

We are always looking for new ideas and partners to develop them with. If you are searching for a way to commercialise existing knowledge based on CEH research, or if you have thoughts on how to take our work to the next level, then please get in touch with our Innovation Manager, Nicholas Corker.