Northumbrian Water will be using its very own Innovation Festival to give back to the North East.

Increasing tourism, reducing plastic pollution and climate change will be some of the issues covered during the festival – which is set to take part later this month (OCT).


The water company will be using the fifth iteration of its world-famous event to give back to North East-based businesses and charities, including NewcastleGateshead Initiative  (NGI), Foundation of Light and Seascapes.


During a series of design sprints and dashes, innovators from all over the globe, including India, America and Australia will come together and help to solve problems highlighted by each of the businesses.


During NGI’s event, teams will be focusing on how the River Tyne can be made into the region’s greatest tourism asset – in order to create memorable visitor experiences.


Sunderland-based company Rebuyer will be using their sprint to look at electronic waste, and how this can be recycled and treated sustainably – resulting in fewer carbon emissions, reduced landfill and reused global resources.


Groundwork NE and Cumbria’s daily dash will see innovators looking at nature-based solutions and how these can be used to improve water quality and increase biodiversity in the River Tyne.


During their event, the Foundation of Light will be focussing on how to encourage young people to play their part in tackling climate change – and getting them to help generate a sustainable planet for the future.


And finally, Seascapes will be challenging their innovators to take part in more manual tasks, such as beach cleans and morning dips, as they address the issue of ocean plastic pollution and look at solutions for cleaner bathing waters.


Angela MacOscar, Head of Innovation at Northumbrian Water, said: “The giveback events are a great way for us to use our world-famous festival to support some causes much closer to home.


“During these events, we are looking at real issues that impact our customers - and these sprints could make a significant difference to our region.


“We’ve got some great partners on board for these sessions, and I am really excited to see how these events go, and see what outputs we have at the end!”


To take part in any of the giveback events, go to

  • Innovation Festival 21 is the fifth iteration of the water company’s event
  • The festival will see experts, engineers, academics, scientists and innovation leaders from across the world join the event as it takes place in a hybrid nature for the very first time.
  • In total, over 9,000 people have been involved in the previous four Innovation Festivals so far. The 2020 event saw almost 3,000 people come together saw participants from 37 different countries join us.
  • Taking place on October 18-21, the festival is expected to see thousands of people get involved in sprints focusing on issues such as net zero, water poverty, customer experience, employee wellness and technology.