The Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) Secretary Greg Clark yesterday (2 February) announced funding for 125 “cutting-edge” research and development (R&D) schemes across the country. Grants for business-led, commercial clean technology projects will be circulated through the Government agency Innovate UK.

Rapid charging systems for electric vehicles (EVs), 3d printing systems and drone technologies are among the cleantech projects that will benefit from the new funding.

Clark said: “Research and innovation has a proven track record of helping drive our economy, while preparing us for the future and creating new products, services and better ways of doing business. For these reasons, science, research and innovation are at the heart of our Industrial Strategy.

“Our increased investment of £4.7bn in research and development funding by 2021 and funding for cutting-edge industries and companies will put the UK and British business at the forefront of global innovation and cement our status as a world-leader in science and research.”

Industrial Strategy

The announcement arrives a week after the Government unveiled its wide-ranging Industrial Strategy blueprint which seeks to to maximise the economic potential of a low-carbon transition. The Strategy placed a heavy focus on R&D to future-proof the country’s organisations and cities.

As part of this, ministers from BEIS will visit businesses across the UK to discuss some of the ideas as part of the consultation process.

Innovate UK recently vowed to ensure that science and research plays a “central role in a progressive Industrial Strategy”. It was announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement that the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – a new cross-disciplinary fund to support collaborations between business and the UK’s science base – would be managed by Innovate UK and research councils.

This week’s Brexit White Paper confirmed that the Treasury will underwrite business and academic funding for any Horizon 2020 projects that receive approval before the UK leaves the European Union (EU). Notable projects backed by Horizon 2020 include UK firm Aquamarine Power’s plan to develop wave energy converters, and the University of Surrey’s grant for smart cities research.

However, the Government stressed that the Treasury will only honour funding for European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) projects signed after the Autumn Statement 2016 provided they provide “strong value for money” and are “in line with domestic strategic priorities”.

Innovate UK at edie Live 2017

Innovate UK’s innovation leads Mark Thompson and Nick Cliffeare among the expert speakers that will appear on stage at our flagship edie Live 2017 exhibition in May.

If you manage your company’s energy, sustainability, environmental or corporate responsibility, then two days at edie Live will give you a free pass to the inspiration, networking and suppliers you need to navigate towards smarter and more sustainable business.

View the full edie Live agenda and register to attend for free here.

George Ogleby

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