Climate change pioneers are being sought to take part in a €400,000 (£297,000) European-funded exchange programme run by Innovation Birmingham.

The centre, based on Birmingham Science Park Aston, is seeking 35 'Pioneers in Practice' from the Midlands region and a further 15 from Ireland.

The programme, which is being delivered by Innovation Birmingham for the fifth year running, will select participants based on their experience in the climate change sector in fields such as civil engineering, housing and community activism.

During previous placements, Pioneers have identified significant savings, helped to develop new products and completed specific tasks.

The programme aims to enable relationships to be developed among experts across Europe's low carbon economy and, in some cases, the Pioneer has gone on to work for their host, once the programme has completed.

Host companies are also required for the programme and previous participants have included Aston University, Birmingham City Council and Encraft Engineering.

Katharine Fuller, Innovation Birmingham's senior manager for European projects, said: "The Pioneers into Practice programme enables those at the forefront of climate change innovation and implementation to have the opportunity to work abroad and in innovative companies closer to home.

"The programme has demonstrated that being parachuted into an organisation - outside of regular comfort zones - is the best catalyst to new ways of thinking.

"The diverse mix of backgrounds and expertise is what makes this programme so successful for both the host organisations and the Pioneers."

Pioneers into Practice is a Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate KIC) project which is the EU's main climate innovation initiative.