Recipients of LCRIG and WJ’s £150,000 innovation fund announced

Liverpool John Moores University has been named as one of the five recipients of the WJ Group sponsored £150,000 LCRIG/Steve Berry Think Exceptional Innovation Fund.

The fund was launched earlier this year to help sponsor further developments in the road and highways sector. Projects by Liverpool John Moores, Community Models, Fitzpatrick Advisory, Connor Specialist Paving/Tac-Grid and NY Highways will each receive a cut of the £150,000 fund, following an extensive judging process.

Liverpool John Moores University will be using the fund to research how Spray Applied Asphalt Preservation (SAAP) technology can extend the life of trench reinstatements. Specifically, the team will examine the efficacy of using an emulsion-based product, purposefully developed as a penetrative preservation treatment overspray. This will be applied on both the installation and the surrounding area to seal cracks, micro-cracks and the interconnecting voids for a permanent long-lasting reinstatement.

The second successful project is from Community Models, which received funding for its predictive analytical model for asset and network management. The technology will provide a comprehensive approach for assessing and quantifying the impact of investment decisions made by local highways, based on the asset, network and the wider wellbeing of individuals and communities.

The third recipient of the funding is Fitzpatrick Advisory for its innovative data aggregation system, DASHA. A cloud-based, data hosting and aggregation engine, the funding will be used to develop a pilot scheme for the using DASHA outside of London. This will help those in the industry understand the costs and benefits arising from wider deployment, beyond the current minimum viable product already developed.

NY Highways will receive funding for its Business Intelligence Report. Designed to identify the amount of carbon different highway repair treatments use, the report will provide local authorities with the information required to make informed decisions when choosing carbon saving over cost.

Finally, Connor Specialist Paving/Tac-Grid will receive funding for the development of a motherboard system for its beacon technology, allowing local authorities to manage their beacons. The technology will be embedded within the company’s innovative Tac-Grid tactile paving, informing visually impaired users of the location and type of road crossing they are standing on via a downloadable app.

Ian Large, Chair of the Infrastructure Innovation Board, said: “The calibre of entrants to the inaugural LCRIG/Steve Berry Think Exceptional Innovation Fund has been extremely high. The talent and innovative thinking across the industry is exceptional, as highlighted in the five lucky recipients of the £150,000 fund. We’re all very much looking forward to seeing the projects develop to help improve our roads and highways.”

Martin Webb, Group Operations Director at WJ Group, said: “At WJ, we pride ourselves on thinking outside the box to produce industry-leading products and services that not only improve the efficiency, performance and health and safety of our highways, but do so with carbon reductions in mind. Seeing the applications of the innovation fund shows how bright the future of our industry is, and we are proud to support these technologies.”

For more information about the LCRIG/Steve Berry Think Exceptional Innovation Fund and its winners, please visit


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