Increasing focus is being directed to developing Li-ion battery technology, particularly in view of the expected surge in uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the near to short term. It is not hard to imagine a future where battery powered EVs have replaced many, if not all, of the internal combustion engines on our roads. However, a number of concerns arise when looking towards this battery powered future, and highlight the need for robust recycling practices and technologies.
Insights: Innovation Protection Strategy
The United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently released a report on sectors of the economy which make the most intensive use of intellectual property (IP) rights, and how much these sectors contribute to the UK economy.
On July 20th, 2020, Innovate UK opened a first phase of the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), designed to help businesses with high energy use to cut their energy bills and carbon emissions through investing in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. The IETF is managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is a joint sponsor. This first phase consists of a funding competition offering a total share of up to £30 million, divided into two competition strands and open to any business registered, and planning to carry out the project work, in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The project submission deadline for both strands is on October 28th, 2020. A second phase will launch in 2021 with up to £269 million of funding.
The UK government has announced a number of funding and support packages aimed at helping innovative firms through the Covid-19 pandemic. We have reported on a number of these schemes in recent weeks, including the recently announced Automotive Transformation Fund. A further recently announced fund is the Sustainable Innovation Fund, which is a fund of almost £200 million to help UK companies recover from the impact of Covid-19. The stated aim of the fund is to support “companies across all parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive”.
The Automotive Transformation Fund – a new funding competition to move the automotive sector to zero emissions
Innovate UK – together with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for International Trade (DIT) – have opened a new funding competition: The Automotive Transformation Fund. This funding competition can be seen as part of the UK government’s broader Road to Zero Strategy which seeks to reduce vehicle emissions to zero by 2050, and, perhaps more ambitiously, aims for at least half of new cars to be “ultra-low emission” by 2030.
For over 50 years the MacRobert Award has been recognising world-leading engineering innovations developed in the UK. Originally founded by the MacRobert Trust in 1969, the award has since become the UK’s longest-running and most coveted prize for UK engineering ingenuity. The annual award is now run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and honours engineering achievements that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. The list of past winners of the award serves as an impressive reminder of the wide-ranging capabilities of British engineers.
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”.
Innovation isn’t cheap. From research and development of an initial idea, through to IP protection and manufacturing, costs can quickly escalate and put an innovative business in a difficult financial situation. This article explores some of the funding opportunities and financial assistance available for companies that are registered in the UK.