The UK’s innovative manufacturing and materials SME businesses received a boost when a new £15 million competition opened from Innovate UK to encourage the latest revolutionary ways of making things and grow the UK’s manufacturing sector.
Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, will fund innovative projects that look at supporting new technologies or production processes across the sector. All projects must be led by a business and involve at least one SME, and projects led by a SME will be particularly welcomed.
This is the first of Innovate UK’s new simplified sequence of competitions where each of the organisation’s four key sectors offer two broad competitions in each sector per year, plus two ‘open’ competitions for applications from any sectors. The organisation’s four key sectors are emerging and enabling technologies; health and life sciences; infrastructure systems and manufacturing and materials.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “The UK is a global leader in many areas of specialist manufacturing, and we are committed to supporting industry to grow, develop innovative ideas and boost productivity. This £15m competition is a milestone in our approach to support large and small companies as well as researchers to get their ideas off the drawing board.”
Simon Edmonds, Manufacturing and Materials Director at Innovate UK, said: “This new £15 million competition offers a real opportunity for UK businesses, particularly SMEs, to grow and become more productive. Innovate UK is determined to help grow UK manufacturing supply chains through innovation, in areas where there is high-growth potential such as digital manufacturing, materials integration and industrial biotechnology.”
The competition will fund innovative projects that address cross-cutting challenges covering one of the following areas:
Innovation in a manufacturing system, technology, process or business model – for example in process engineering, industrial biotechnology, mechanical conversion processes, coatings, textiles, supply chain management, new product introduction processes, remanufacture
Innovation in materials development, properties, integration or reuse – for example for lightweighting, energy generation and storage, electronics/sensors, or for operation in demanding environments
The competition opens on 9 May and the deadline for applications is 13 July 2016.