Pitch your product for Crimdon Coastal Hub

This challenge has now closed. To find out how it unfolded follow this link.

The Water Hub has an exciting opportunity for businesses to pitch their products and services for the proposed "Crimdon Coastal Hub" development. This project seeks to create a visitor and events hub in the form of café, public toilets, changing rooms, and interpretive space at Crimdon (OS Map reference NZ482373).

The Water Hub has identified five key areas to deliver innovation in water management and data insight. Showcase your brilliant solutions in a one-day closed pitching session to Durham County Council. This is a competitive process. We will shortlist up to eight applicants to pitch to a panel of stakeholders in July 2019. If you have a solution to one of the challenges below, please  download and complete this application form and send to [email protected]

The Crimdon Coastal Hub proposal developed by the Heritage Coast Partnership hopes to create a visitor and events hub in the form of a café, public toilets, changing rooms and space for volunteers, wardens and the community to benefit over 220,000 visitors every year.

Currently there are no public facilities on site. This is a barrier to use by family groups, community groups and local schools. In recent surveys, 87% of visitors listed the lack of facilities as the key reason for not visiting more frequently and 76% looking for a café or an activities venue.

The Crimdon Coastal Hub proposal is for a single new build facility.

The Challenge
The Water Hub is looking for innovative solutions to ensure this new development is exemplary in terms of building-level efficiency and engaging the local community. This is a competitive process and Durham County Council are not obliged to take anything forward. We’re looking for products and services which:

1. Reduce water use in the café, public toilets and changing rooms,
2. Encourage rainwater harvesting for non-potable applications,
3. Promote biodiversity through green spaces to ensure the Hub fits with the transformed Heritage Coast and areas of conservation interest,
4. Reduce waste,
5. Connect communities, by exploring how smart tech could improve monitoring and engagement.

Applicants must be able to provide evidence of testing and approved documentation of their products and services. Prototypes may be considered for future opportunities, once testing has been carried out and documentation has been approved. Data submitted in the supporting application form will be reviewed by The Water Hub, and will be handled and stored in accordance with GDPR guidelines. The applicant can withdraw their application and/or ask for their information to be updated or removed at any point.


• 27th May 2019 – Call for applications launched
• 14th June 2019, 5pm – Deadline for applications
• 20th June 2019 – Notification of shortlisting
• 4th July 2019 – Shortlisted candidates to pitch ideas at Spectrum Business Park (SR7 7TT)
• Feedback by 12th July 2019.

Pitching Day Outcome

We hosted a one-day pitching session for the proposed Crimdon Coastal Hub. Nine businesses pitched products and services for the proposed new development, which seeks to create a visitor and events hub in the form of café, public toilets, changing rooms, and interpretive space at Crimdon.

A panel, including architects and project managers from Durham County Council, Durham's Heritage Coast Officer and the Scientific Director of The Water Hub, heard from a wide range of solution providers, showcasing ways to reduce water use, promote biodiversity and connect communities.

Reflecting on the day, Niall Benson, Heritage Coast Officer at DCC said, "It is extremely exciting to be in the position where we are able to explore the cutting edge of water use innovation. As the final designs for the scheme are developed we will be including the solutions that best fit our situation. Thank you to all who presented, and to The Water Hub for enabling the opportunity"

Louise Bracken added, "It was an engaging event with quality pitches and relevant solutions. We’ll work with SMEs to try to get as many included in the development as possible."


Water Hubber Wins 'Emerging Talent' Award!

One of The Water Hub’s Innovation Managers, Dr Sarah Cotterill, was presented with the 2019 ‘Emerging Talent’ Award by Future Water Association’s CEO, Paul Horton.

Prof. Louise Bracken, Scientific Director of The Water Hub nominated Sarah for the award:

‘Sarah joined The Water Hub in early 2018 and her drive to improve the environment through better use and reuse of water has helped grow The Water Hub and our network of businesses and partners. Sarah has excelled in bringing new ideas and new thinking to the work of The Water Hub, developing strategic opportunities for businesses to develop new products and extend sales of existing products, and delivering a suite of high quality activities and events’.

Paul Horton explained the importance of the awards at FWA’s awards lunch in April:

“People and innovation are the driving force behind today’s water industry and these awards have been established to celebrate the water sector; the successes, the achievements, the technology and the people that all help deliver a valuable resource we sometimes take for granted."

The Emerging Talent Award, sponsored by Arup, recognises young people, starting out in the sector who have brought something new and different to their organisation.

On receiving the award, Sarah said:

‘I’m honoured to have received this lovely award from an organisation I’ve really enjoyed collaborating with. It’s a brilliant recognition of what The Water Hub is seeking to achieve, and I’m grateful for the support and opportunities I’ve had early on in my career.’

To find out more about The Water Hub team and what we do, click here.

Open Grant Call

Are you an SME looking for funding to develop a new product or service?

Our small grant scheme aims to support the development of innovative products, processes and services in the water sector, especially from non-traditional smart specialization sectors. Submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) before 31st May 2019 to check if you're eligible for a grant of up to £5,000. 

Submit your EOI here!

Grants may be requested for ideas at the outset of development or used to increase technology readiness level of products and services. We will consider proposals in any aspect of the water sector, such as:

  • improving water efficiency in residential properties,
  • developing new catchment management tools,
  • reducing water pollution in rivers, or
  • new ways of utilizing wastewater.

Proposals may include work to pump-prime new products, test ideas, access demonstration facilities or survey public opinion.

We are purposefully keeping our definition of the water sector broad, and the use of award as flexible, so SMEs can think creatively to support their innovation journey.

You will need to go through a 2-stage process:

  1. Complete a short Expression of Interest (EOI) first, and
  2. If successful, you will be invited to complete a more detailed application, which will be reviewed by two of The Water Hub team ahead of funding.

Project delivery will be limited to 6 months*. The deadline for the first wave of Expressions of Interest (EOI) is Friday 31st May at 5:00pm and the following stages are scheduled as follows:

o   Notification of outcome of EOI:  7th June 2019
o   Deadline for submitting full applications: 28th June 2019
o   Notification of outcome of full application: 10th July 2019
o   Start of the project: middle or end of July 2019
o   Completion of the project:  by 31st January 2020

*All purchases must be made (and claimed back) within this period. Non-financial elements of the grant, such as ongoing data collection and monitoring can continue beyong this point. 

Please note that data submitted in the supporting application form will be reviewed by The Water Hub, and will be handled and stored in accordance with GDPR guidelines. The applicant can withdraw their application and/or ask for their information to be updated or removed at any point. This is a competitive process and applicants will be chosen based on their fit with The Water Hub and whether the problem or product they present provides opportunities for open innovation, collaboration and business growth.