On International Women’s Day, Georgina Ainscow, Olivia Buckingham and Xiaoxi Zhu attended Innovate UK and KTN’s Women Innovate event. The event was a fantastic celebration of women in innovation, but also carried a message of much more to be done to achieve true diversity and inclusivity. A clear message too, that this can only benefit the economy, with estimates ranging from £180 billion to £250 billion, that could be unlocked by boosting the level of female entrepreneurship.
Insights: Innovate UK
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.
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.
The British Standards Institute, sponsored by Innovate UK, has recently published a free to download PAS 440:2020 Responsible Innovation – Guide. The guide aims to provide comprehensive direction for companies on best practice for innovators. It helps those companies consider the wider implications of their innovation, capture the outcomes of that consideration, and communicate those outcomes to stakeholders.
Innovate UK’s new funding competition offers grants of up to £50,000 to companies carrying out projects that aim to tackle societal or industry needs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The competition closes on 17 April 2020.