Circular economy contest set to reward 'radical rethinks' in design
Funding of up to 1.5 million pounds is up for grabs for companies who can demonstrate how they are rethinking product and service design for a circular economy.
The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has announced a 'design for circularity' competition to encourage the development of materials designed for reuse rather than waste.
The contest, open to all UK companies, is looking for high-impact projects that can deliver real market opportunity with the potential to reduce environmental impact by a factor of four.
This could involve the first application of a design approach to an existing category of product, where it could be rapidly expanded upon, or the demonstration of a new business model within an organisation to encourage behavioural change in consumers.
Projects must be collaborative, and led by a business which offers access to the market for the product or service involved - a brand owner or industrial end-user.
The competition is primarily seeking to fund industrial research, with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). The maximum project value for the competition is £300,000.
The TSB's lead specialist for sustainability Dr Mike Pitts said this latest initiative intended to build on the work it had been engaged with the Great Recovery Project, which is one of the support partners of edie's Resource Revolution campaign.
"The Great Recovery supported our recent 'new designs for a circular economy' competition and now we're following this up with a competition for larger scale and ambition projects.
"We want to support ideas that decouple growth and resource use with two aims in mind - reducing the impact of material supply chains and reducing resource supply risk for businesses."
Dr Pitts stressed that it was important that entries take a whole lifecycle approach.
"We expect design to be an important factor and encourage new collaborations that try to connect up a material flow and create new closed loops."
He added that the intention was to encourage systemic approaches which combine improved resource efficiency with other, quantifiable environmental benefits, such as reduced carbon or water footprint.
Registration for the competition, which is now open for entry, closes on September 4. Deadline for all applications is September 11.
Stay tuned for a key announcement on our Resource Revolution campaign later this week.