Liverpool City Region

United Kingdom


Steve Rotheram


1,530,000 (2018)

Lead Innovation Officer

John Whaling

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Maximise competitive strengths and lever associated investment

  • Deliver approaches/ solutions to industry

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Engagement with partners

  • Leadership from Metro Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Liverpool City Region

Liverpool City Region is delivering one of Europe's leading health and social care 5G programs in one of the country's most deprived communities via a UK government testbed initiative. By deploying a wide range of high value technologies including low-cost open source 5G network, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things, the project has helped bridge the digital divide, improve the quality of life, and address social isolation among elderly residents. Despite the trial concluding in November 2019, the existing network has been maintained by project partners while further funding is being secured to improve and extend the network across the region.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Liverpool City Region has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Liverpool City Region approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Liverpool City Region is focused on

Economic Development

Economic development: The Hartree Centre (part of the national Science & Technology Facilities Council, a sub-branch of UK government Research & Innovation) operates the most powerful supercomputer in the UK dedicated to industrial R&D. In addition, it is co-located with an IBM Research Global Research Lab, and the primary UK deployment of IBM's Watson AI platform. This collaboration is already revolutionizing patient experience at Alder Hey Children's Hospital via the Alder play app __powered by AI, that is improving clinical outcomes as well as saving time and money.

Health: Liverpool is delivering one of Europe's leading health and social care 5G programs in one of the UK's most deprived communities, on the back of a UK government (DCMS) testbed initiative. The ambition is to scale this out across the whole City region, plus establish a manufacturing and R&D capability.

Policy areas by number of cities

Liverpool City Region utilizes 3 different innovation skills or roles

Communication officer
Relationship management
Economic development advisor
Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated in the Policy and Strategic Commissioning Directorate, the City Region’s Innovation and Commercialisation Lead Officer works across the Commercial Investment and Development Directorate and is ultimately accountable to the Metro Mayor.

Terms Liverpool City Region most associates with innovation

Big picture re-thinking
Co-ordination and relationship management

Liverpool City Region's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Liverpool City Region has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

International/multilateral institution budget
International/multilateral institution budget
This refers to resources from international and/or multilateral institutions’ budgets (i.e. European Union)
Central/federal/national government budget
Central/federal/national government budget
This refers to funding in the form of budget support to city authorities. Example: Stockholm (Sweden) launched the Hub for Innovation, a three-year long project funded by Sweden's National Innovation Authority, Vinnova in 2017. The hub supports a more innovative working culture within the city hall.
Municipal budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.
Non-financial resources
Non-financial resources
This could include staff on loan and/or other in-kind contributions (e.g. materials, infrastructure…)

Activities being funded

Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

*"Training staff and building capacity" is not an option in the 2018 survey, while "Launching or sustaining a project" is not an option in the 2020 survey.

How is innovation measured?

Liverpool City Region has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, and not-for-profit organizations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia and think tanks, to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data




Labour market and skills


Insufficient data

Economic Development

Policing and law enforcement

Government finance

Social welfare/social services

Social inclusion and equity

Waste and sewage

Environment and climate change




Land use

Digital governance

Public works

Built environment