The NEAA and partners Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Vantec, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green, secured funding for a 5G enabled connected and automated logistics (CAL) pilot and proof of concept.

This £4.9m project received £2.4m from 5G Create, a £30 million open competition combining British creativity with innovative new uses for 5G, as part of the wider £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme (5GTT).

The project delivered a huge stride forward in CAL, proving last-mile delivery for an autonomous HGV up to 40 tonnes on a private road. 5G is essential as it will uniquely enable the removal of the safety driver from the process, allowing remote teleoperations to overcome abnormal situations.

What is 5G CAL?

5G CAL (5G Connected Automated Logistics) involved building an outdoor 5G Network for proving driverless ‘last mile’ HGV delivery in a live industrial setting. The project involved retrofitting a Terberg 40-tonne electric HGV so it can be autonomously driven and developing software so it is capable of being remotely controlled in case of experiencing situations that the autonomous capabilities cannot manage. 5G is essential in this scenario as it has low latency (lag from input to response) and bandwidth can be tuned to allow massive uplink of data – essential in this scenario.

5G Connected and Automated Logistics (5G CAL) pilot


The Accelerate Cross Sector Ecosystems and Sustainable Supply-chains (ACCESS) project brings together leading regional industry associations from different regions and different sectors.

The Accelerate Cross Sector Ecosystems and Sustainable Supply-chains (ACCESS) project brings together leading regional industry associations from different regions and different sectors including West England Aerospace Forum (WEAF), NEAA and Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) to promote cross-sector collaboration and sustainable supply chains. The project will create a digital business networking platform developed by Valuechain to facilitate intercompany communication and collaboration.


This project aims to promote cross-sector collaboration to minimise risks of supply chain impact from the pandemic by helping companies expand into new sectors; facilitate onshoring by simplifying the process to identify suppliers; and accelerate sustainable transport initiatives by encouraging open exchange of future technology, skills, capacity, and innovation requirements.


The ACCESS project is funded by Innovate UK, who as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.


The Advancing the Competitiveness of the North East Automotive SMEs (ACE SME) Programme was completed at the end of 2018 and generated an estimate £11.4m GVA for the North East of England.

The ACE SME programme received £606,310 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The aim of the programme was to provide support for SMEs in the automotive sector, and those wanting to enter the sector. Over the course of the project:

  • 158 SMEs were supported
  • Employment increased by 250 in the SMEs supported, though the evaluation suggested this may be as high as 564 new jobs
  • A total of £11.4million net additional GVA was generated
  • And, for every £1 of public investment, an additional £19.91 was generated for the economy

The programme report found that it was entirely appropriate that the NEAA took a lead on this intervention given its unique strategic role and role supporting the sector. As a sector body the NEAA provides the added benefit of bringing together companies working in the same sector and experiencing similar issues; and linking regional activities to national sector priorities. Taken further, this has the potential to provide significant economies of scale for regional and national programmes; and more impactful interventions in the companies supported.

The report highlighted that no other project in the region delivers bespoke support to the automotive sector and the types of peer-to-peer learning opportunities provided by the NEAA’s programme; and that key successes of the ACE SME Programme have been underpinned by a committed staff team; whose knowledge and experience of working within the automotive sector was critical to making sure SMEs received the right support at the right time.


A bespoke business analysis tool specifically designed to provide you with practical steps to navigate a pathway to recovery from the impacts of Covid19. GROWTHmapper® Recovery generates a comprehensive report that details your business characteristics in terms of key operational functions that will build resilience and recovery capability.

OC to eligible businesses (NELEP region) – please note not the usual ERDF restrictions.

The report contains a series of charts that highlight relative strengths and weaknesses. This, together with an examination of alignment allows a leadership team to check for consistency in their understanding of the challenges to agree priorities for action. The coach or adviser uses the report to facilitate a discussion that focuses attention on key actions and recovery planning, all adjusted to reflect the relative levels of crisis or resilience in each area of operations.


Independent and confidential online tool that takes just 15 minutes to complete. Report generated within minutes

Feedback provided by skilled, accredited business advisers

Clear and easy to understand analysis of your relative strengths and exposure as a business

Allows you to understand what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvement and development

Practical suggestions for immediate action to mitigate against the impact of Covid19 on your business

Broad spectrum of insights from crisis management to coping and recovery strategy

Made Smarter

The NEAA was a business development partner for Made Smarter North East

A business support programme accessible to manufacturing SMEs within the North East LEP and Tees Valley Combined Authority areas. Its purpose is to help businesses go to market faster, cut costs and reduce downtime, by investing in digital tools, innovations and skills.

Made Smarter Adoption North East connects manufacturing businesses to digital tools that can transform the way they work. The programme, which is backed by government, aims to drive growth in UK manufacturing by improving the development and adoption of emerging technologies across the sector.

N-GAMA Project

The Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing Accelerator (N-GAMA) was a European Regional Development Funded (ERDF) collaboration between the NEAA and Sunderland City Council to support companies looking to adopt digital technologies.

The project supported advanced manufacturing businesses within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area (Sunderland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle, Durham, and Northumberland).

The N-GAMA programme benefitted up to 40 eligible enterprises engaged in process, product and service innovation within the advanced manufacturing and PEMD sectors, strengthening and accelerating the North East’s adoption of digital technologies.

It delivered business innovation advice through initial diagnostic support followed by grant investment in research, development and innovation projects targeting the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

Eligible companies accessed innovation support leading to investment in digital technologies that help companies become more competitive and differentiated, through providing new levels of customer experience, new and innovative product, and service revenue streams, as well as improvements in productivity, higher product quality and cost reductions.

Supply Chain North East

A partnership between the North East LEP, NEAA, RTC North, NEPIC and Generator, Supply Chain North East worked with over 800 businesses between 2018 and 2022 to support businesses in the following sectors:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Subsea, offshore and energy technologies
  • Automotive and transport
  • Health and life sciences
  • Digital, tech and creative
  • Process, chemical and pharmaceutical

The Supply Chain North East programme provided businesses with tailored, specialist advice in areas including sales and marketing, digital transformation, accreditation and compliance. Market specialists were on hand to provide industry insight and sector knowledge on UK and international supply chains.

By working with individual business leaders and their teams, our advisors and market specialists were able to help build on core competencies, understand improvement needs and identify suitable opportunities in new and existing markets.


Access to market specialists

Industry insight and sector knowledge on UK and international supply chains

Sales & marketing support

Refining your marketing strategy and grow the value of existing customers

Operational improvement plans

Opportunity review and action plan to help you set improvement goals

Support with digital transformation

Understanding how technology can drive competitiveness, profitability and innovation

Knowledge on accreditations and compliance

Help with achieving standards required by markets, supply chains and customers

Support developing talent

Wrap around series of workshops and best practice visits


Contact a member of the team for more information or email us at: