Further £12 million investment in new R&D will accelerate innovation and support growth

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £12 million through three new research and development competitions that will stimulate innovation and support growth across the UK.

Scheduled to open in May and June, the three competitions are designed to accelerate the development of innovative new technologies in different areas – materials technologies for use in energy generation, transmission, distribution & storage, strategies to improve the resistance of buildings to climate change and ICTs for the manufacturing and construction sectors.

The investments will build on the Technology Strategy Board’s ongoing programme of activity to stimulate and support business-led innovation across the UK, through funding to aid the development of new technologies and a range of activity that fosters and encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing in a wide range of technology areas and business sectors across the UK.

The three new competitions are Energy Materials (£3m), Design for Future Climate (£2.4m) and ICT for high value manufacturing and construction (£7m). In addition to the new competitions, the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has offered to support a recently-launched funding competition by providing an additional £500,000 for innovative research and development projects.

The three new competitions, which will open in May and June, are:

  • Energy Materials: Up to £3m will be invested in collaborative research and development projects that address the application and demonstration of materials technologies for use in energy generation, transmission, distribution and storage. The focus of the competition will be on projects which address challenges in scaling up technologies, from initial laboratory proof of concept to small-scale technology demonstrations and pilots in a representative environment. The competition will open in May 2011.
  • Design for Future Climate: The new £2.4m investment will assist design teams in developing adaptation strategies to improve resistance to climate change of specific buildings they are already working on. The focus will be on improving building resilience and adaptation to climate change, thus extending the commercial viability of buildings. Projects must be on a specific building / refurbishment project with a client and design team both applying together for the funding. The funding covers all building projects >£5m spend. This is the second part of the competition. The first ran in 2010 and provided funding totalling £2.5m for 26 building projects worth £2.7bn. The second part will open on 31 May 2011 and funding of up to £2.4m will be available.
  • ICT for competitive high value manufacturing and construction: The £7m investment will stimulate the use of innovative ICTs in the manufacturing and construction sectors in which there are major opportunities to increase productivity and competitiveness. ICT has a major role to play in many critical capabilities in manufacturing and construction including and not limited to: automation; customisation; knowledge sharing across supply chains; and simulation and modelling. The focus of the competition will be on applying recent developments in ICTs to significant challenges in manufacturing and/or construction and on encouraging new and sustainable partnerships between businesses

The Nutrition for Life funding competition, which opens on 9 May, is intended to encourage the development of innovative processes and technologies with an emphasis on providing “healthy” and “safe” food and drink, and will support both feasibility studies and collaborative research & development projects.

Further information about the three new competitions will be available shortly on the competitions page of the Technology Strategy Board website – www.innovateuk.org