We have previously looked at a variety of innovations which could replace plastic packaging and prevent plastic from ending up in the ocean. There is no doubt that innovation is key to solving the plastic problem; however, innovators are faced with an additional challenge when researching and developing an idea. This is because it must be taken into consideration that the benefits of innovations will only be realised if they are readily adopted by the wider public.
To stimulate innovation which fits with people’s existing behaviour patterns, or is consciously designed to encourage and facilitate changes in behaviour, Innovate UK has recently opened a new funding competition entitled “Designing sustainable plastic solutions”. Through the competition Innovate UK will invest up to £800,000 to fund early-stage, human centred design projects to reduce the harm that plastics have on our environment. The funding competition closes at noon on 16 September 2020.
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. The funding for the competition is from the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, which was created by the government in 2018 with the aim to explore new ideas and innovations with the potential to make the country’s plastics sector more circular and address the challenge of persistent plastic pollution.
The competition will provide grants to help UK registered businesses better understand relevant customer and user behaviours and use that knowledge to create designs for innovative goods, services or business models that will result in less persistent plastic waste entering our environment. The design could include contributions from engineering, materials science, service design, circular design and systems thinking.
The competition is open to projects across sectors and design disciplines. For example, the sectors could include packaging, transport, construction, healthcare, agriculture and consumer products; and the disciplines could include industrial, product, user experience and service design (all with a human-centred approach).
For more information on the competition and to apply, please click here.
To find out more about other financial assistance available for innovative companies that are registered in the UK, please click here.
If you would like to discuss how an effective IP strategy can add value to your research and development project or if you would like advice on protecting your innovation, please get in touch.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.