HS2 launches Innovation Accelerator

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston uses an augmented reality headset during a visit to the Old Oak Common site in March 2020.

HS2 has launched its ‘Innovation Accelerator’ – a search for entrepreneurial ideas that can help drive project efficiencies and create wider long-term economic benefits around the scheme.

The Innovation Accelerator is a call-to-arms for individuals or firms with bright ideas to help deliver Europe’s largest infrastructure project, focused around HS2’s three innovation challenges: productivity, the environment, and the circular economy.

Those interested are should visit the online portal, which will be open for one month from 16 June 2020. After that, HS2 will chose five proposed ideas to take forward on the Innovation Accelerator. This will provide the five winning firms with commercial and technical support and rent-free working space to develop their proposal.

After six months solutions will be showcased and pitched to industry investors and HS2’s supply chain, which is made up of the thousands of suppliers.

Howard Mitchell, HS2.

HS2 head of innovation Howard Mitchell launched the portal, saying: “I encourage individuals and firms of all sizes – from start-ups and budding entrepreneurs to established businesses – to go online and share their ideas with HS2.

“The construction of HS2 will show the world the very best of British skills, innovation and ambition. We hope that the Accelerator programme, which is an innovation itself, will both offer new ways of delivering HS2, but also generate new jobs, technology and opportunities.”

Products already delivered by HS2’s wider innovation programme have included devices for protecting site workers’ hearing and a device to ensure maintenance of distanced working while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

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