The ARENA project has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. 

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ARENA supports London start-ups, spin-outs and SMEs seeking to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas, products and services in the areas of resource efficiency, urban green infrastructure, and nature-based solutions for urban resilience.  

These sectors are exhibiting significant global growth. ARENA aims to build on innovation strengths to contribute to London's aspirations of a world-leading low carbon city in harmony with the natural environment.

As an ARENA project beneficiary, you will receive free and bespoke expertise and advice directly in accordance with your business and innovation needs. Our team of subject area experts, researchers and innovation practitioners can provide:

  • Market knowledge and networks - support to enhance the commercial validation of innovations to increase their market deployment and uptake
  • Research and development support - In-lab research support, testing and technological validation for early-stage innovations
  • Demonstration trials and assessment - facilitation of demonstration pilots, performance monitoring and assessment in a real-world environment - the new Ecology Centre and Urban Living Lab at Barking Riverside
  • Promotion and showcasing - publicity and promotion at Barking Riverside Ecology Centre
  • Market rollout and procurement support - brokerage to appropriate private and public sector clients

Case Studies

An image of a large area of grass and nature alongside a road

Putting the 'nature'  in nature-based solutions

Restoring nature to urban areas represents a mechanism for delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.

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An image of the scientific approach to aerosol filtration

Aerosol filtration efficiency of reusable face masks

ARENA helped ADKN to evaluate the filtration efficiency of their reusable bamboo face mask against aerosols and particulate matters (PM 2.5 and PM10).

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Green your business at the University of East London

The University's Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) and Business Centre joined forces on Tuesday 8 June 2021 to host a virtual event to showcase the support available at the University to help businesses become more sustainable and develop green innovations.  

The event kicked off with Professor Darryl Newport and Dr Mike Medas introducing the work of the SRI, including the ERDF-funded ARENA project which provides businesses with free support to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas, products and services in the areas of resource efficiency, urban green infrastructure, and nature-based solutions for urban resilience.

Guests then heard some first-hand accounts from businesses that are already collaborating with the University.  Dharmesh Joshi and Manorma Joisi from AARDRA Systems talked about how the ARENA project is helping them develop smart controllers for major irrigation systems used in agriculture, horticulture and on sports fields. Manorma also explained how University of East London students will be involved in the project at all stages and help with the production of analytic data.

Tom Brennan, Director of St John's Laboratory, who have been based at the Business Centre for six years, spoke about their journey towards a greener culture in e-commerce by taking a more resource-efficient approach to their packaging.   Tom was joined by UEL graduate Momchil Papov who explained how his internship with St John's Laboratory during his degree enabled him to 'learn twice' and apply the skills he was developing to a real life business.

The University has a long history of supporting entrepreneurs in East London through its Enterprise programmes and Business Centre.  Manager Duncan Boak talked about the transition he is leading of the Business Centre to a new Sustainable Enterprise Centre on the Docklands campus which will support the launch and growth of green, tech, socially impactful organisation that create good jobs for the people of Newham. 

The final presentation came from Matt Davies, Head of Economic Development for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone, who briefed guests on the wider initiatives taking place in the area, including the development of a Green Tech Quarter in London's Royal Docks and the ambition to make it a Living Wage Place.  

The event ended with a question and answer session, which demonstrated the interest in this topic amongst the East London business community and the need for more services and support. As one guest put it: "The event was excellent. I hope it's only the beginning of what's to come in the future." The UEL team are already planning how to keep the momentum going. Watch this space.

See the presentation.

Support during COVID-19 Lockdown

We are aware that many companies are now having to adapt to significant and unprecedented challenges. 

During this difficult time, our aim is to minimise any disruption to our services to business under the ARENA project.

In order to ensure the safety of our staff and clients, our offices at the UEL Knowledge Dock are currently closed until further notice, however, our staff team is working remotely to continue providing support to new and existing business clients. 

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to find out how ARENA may be able to support your business!

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Demonstration Trials and Assessment

In-situ demonstration pilots including performance monitoring and assessment at the Barking Riverside Urban Living Lab

Find out about our demo trials


Co-funded by London ERDF, ARENA is three year business support programme led by the Sustainable Research Institute, at the University of East London, in partnership with Barking Riverside Ltd.

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Arrange your one-to-one diagnostic and tailored support plan

Get In Touch

Please register below for more information and to arrange a discussion with one of our team.

ARENA Project Team

Daiva Raguckiene

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