Tagged / Innovate UK

Robotics and autonomous systems: apply for innovation funding

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Competiton is open now!

There will be a briefing webinar on 27 July 2016

Find out more about this competition and apply

In brief:

Innovate UK is inviting businesses to apply for a share of £5 million to develop innovative applications of robotics and autonomous systems. Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to invest up to £5 million in robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) projects.

The aim of this competition is to help UK companies explore new RAS opportunities. It will enable them to develop capabilities for applications in many sectors of the UK economy.

We are looking for proposals that will speed up the development of RAS technologies towards demonstration and commercialisation.

Proposals can be for systems that are physical, for example a next generation robot. They can also be digital only, for example an automated decision-making system.

Robots that are independent of human control can learn, adapt and take decisions. These could revolutionise our economy and society over the next 20 years. Disruptive technologies related to RAS include mobile internet, automation of knowledge work, advanced robotics, and automated and autonomous vehicles.

These technologies have the potential for an annual economic impact of US$9.8 to US$19.3 trillion in 2025. The UK has world-leading strengths in the underlying science and engineering that contributes to RAS. It also has access to the markets that could exploit them.

Key information:

  • There will be a briefing webinar on 27 July 2016
  • The registration deadline is noon on 19 October 2016
  • The application deadline is noon on 26 October 2016
  • Projects should range in size from total costs of £50,000 to £500,000
  • Projects should last between 6 and 15 months
  • You must complete the work and incur, pay and claim for all costs before the end of March 2018
  • A business must lead the project
  • Projects with costs of £100,000 or above must be collaborative

Find out more about this competition and apply.

If you are interested in submitting to this  call you must contact your  RKEO Funding Development Officer with adequate notice before the deadline.

For more funding opportunities that are most relevant to you, you can set up your own personalised alerts on Research Professional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s/Faculty’s Funding Development Officer in  RKEO or view the recent blog post here.

If thinking of applying, why not add notification of your interest on Research Professional’s record of the bid so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.

£5 million boost for next generation robotics technologies

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Science Minister Jo Johnson has announced a £5 million challenge, to encourage UK companies and academics to develop robotic innovations.

The challenge will encourage UK businesses and academic institutions to work together to develop new and novel uses for robotics and autonomous systems across different industry sectors. The competition has been devised by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Read the news from Innovate UK here.

This competition is not yet live but is due to be launched  around the week commencing 18th July and more details on it will be available then.

Why not bookmark the Live Competition list by clicking on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/innovation-grants-for-business-apply-for-funding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovate UK – Current funding opportunites to develop innovative products or services

 

InnovateUK_LogoA_Interim_RGBx320govuk[1]Open funding competition

Innovate UK is investing up to £15 million in innovative R&D projects, in an open competition targeted at a whole range of technology, engineering and industrial areas. Are you working with a UK company that may be interested ? (This competition is open to all UK companies.)

For more information click here.

Manufacturing and materials

Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovation projects in manufacturing and/or materials. These projects will focus on identified technical or commercial challenges. Funding for projects will be for  projects that aim to lead to increased UK SME productivity, competitiveness and growth.

Click here to find out more.

Women in Innovation: infocus award

Innovate UK has up to £200,000 and a package of tailored support to award to businesswomen who have exciting ideas and the potential to become leaders in innovation and deliver economic growth.

To find ouut more and apply click here.

Connected digital additive manufacturing

Apply for a share of £4.5 million for innovation projects that develop smarter, better connected 3D printing solutions. Projects must show a significant innovation step in both additive manufacturing and connected digital manufacturing.

Click here to find out more.

Agri-food innovation in Turkey

Innovate UK is to invest up to £1.5 million for UK participants developing innovative solutions to challenges within the agri-food sector in Turkey. We are running this competition in partnership with the Newton-Kâtip Çelebi Fund.

Find out more and apply.

Energy Catalyst round 4

Technology innovation is needed to solve the global energy sector ‘trilemma’ of: low carbon, security of supply and affordability.  Innovate UK are  looking for innovative solutions in any technology or sector area. For round 4, applications must also be relevant to the needs of developing countries.

Click here to find out more.

If you are interested in submitting to any of the above calls you must contact your  RKEO Funding Development Officer with adequate notice before the deadline.

For more funding opportunities that are most relevant to you, you can set up your own personalised alerts on Research Professional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s/Faculty’s Funding Development Officer in  RKEO or view the recent blog post here.

If thinking of applying, why not add notification of your interest on Research Professional’s record of the bid so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.

Innovate UK – Open funding competition – £15m

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This competion is open to the  best business–led ideas or concepts that can be drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area, including Innovate UK’s four priority sectors for growth.

Projects may focus on:

•market research;

•technical feasibility;

•industrial research;

This call opens on 6 June.

For more information including dates and deadlines and competion scope  click here .

General competition guidance.

If you are interested in submitting to any of the above calls you must contact your  RKEO Funding Development Officer with adequate notice before the deadline.

For more funding opportunities that are most relevant to you, you can set up your own personalised alerts on Research Professional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s/Faculty’s Funding Development Officer in  RKEO or view the recent blog post here.

If thinking of applying, why not add notification of your interest on Research Professional’s record of the bid so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.

Funding – 3D printing solutions

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Are you working with a business that may be interested in this funding opportunity?

Businesses can apply for a share of £4.5 million for innovation projects that develop smarter, better connected 3D printing solutions.

Innovate UK is investing up to £4.5 million in industrial research projects that will stimulate innovation in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

Additive manufacturing is a well-established tool for rapid prototyping and tooling. It can provide direct production of end-use components and consumer goods. These can be in a wide variety of global market sectors – from medical devices to aerospace.

Businesses can apply for funding to help them explore and develop their wider digital manufacturing capability. Projects must show a significant innovation step in both additive manufacturing and connected digital manufacturing.

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 23 May 2016
  • applicants must register before noon on 20 July 2016
  • a UK-based business must lead the project and work with at least one other business
  • businesses could receive up to 70% of their project costs for industrial research
  • we expect projects to last between 1 and 3 years
  • we expect total eligible project costs for each project to be between £500,000 and £1.5 million
  • there will be a briefing event for potential applicants in London on 7 June 2016

Click here for more information.

Competion brief can be found here.

New frontiers on tech – big data, the cloud and Internet of Things

Technology in the hands
IT giant, Intel Corporation, is undergoing a massive shift in strategy. While jobs fall by the wayside, Intel has its eye firmly on what analysts are calling ‘new frontiers in technology’, and there are signs that the other tech behemoths are set to follow suit.
Last week, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich outlined his strategy for the chip giant in the years ahead, as it struggles to move away from its dependence on the waning PC market.
The thrust of the new strategy is: ‘transforming Intel from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices’ and this, says Krzanich, encompasses five core beliefs:
• The cloud is the most important trend shaping the future of the smart, connected world – and thus Intel’s future.
• The many “things” that make up the PC Client business and the internet of things are made much more valuable by their connection to the cloud.
• Memory and programmable solutions such as FPGAs will deliver entirely new classes of products for the data centre and the internet of things.
• 5G will become the key technology for access to the cloud  as we move toward an always-connected world.
• Moore’s Law will continue to progress and Intel will continue to lead in delivering its true economic impact.
For Intel, these core beliefs form a clear virtuous cycle – the cloud and data center, the internet of things, memory s are all bound together by connectivity and enhanced by the economics of Moore’s Law. (Gordon Moore was an Intel co-founder so Moore’s Law is ingrained in the company’s psyche.)
Key to this is the “internet of things,” every device, sensor and console that has potential to connect to the cloud. This means that everything that a “thing” does can be captured as a piece of data, measured in real-time, and becomes accessible from anywhere.
Krzanich believes that: “the biggest opportunity in the internet of things is that it encompasses just about everything in our lives today – it’s ubiquitous. For most areas of industry and retail – from our shoes and clothes to our homes and cars – the internet of things is transforming everything and every experience. At Intel, we will focus on autonomous vehicles, industrial and retail as our primary growth drivers of the internet of things.”
In a time when technology is valued not just for the devices it produces, but for the experiences it makes possible, Intel is banking on the fact that a broader focus, and sharper execution will enable the company to take a lead in a smart, connected world.
Several major corporations have already taken the initiative to push frontier technology, such as Google with its Google Cardboard and Apple’s eventual (maybe?) 3D printer. Layoffs are the inevitable result and, in many cases, are already happening, as more and more companies find themselves having to look in new directions.
With Apple’s iPhone production on the decline comes more evidence that companies’ defining products won’t be what sustains them into the future and that Intel and Krzanich’s new focus on experiences rather than the devices that make these possible is the way to go.

Robotics & Autonomous Systems – US leads robotics investment boom

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Rapidly increasing activity in the robotics sphere has led the Financial Times to herald an investment boom time for one of the hottest new markets in tech. And, as robots break free of factory production lines, the US and China are poised to take the lead from Japan and Germany.
After growing at a compound rate of 17 per cent a year, the robot market will be worth $135bn by 2019, according to IDC, a tech research firm. The Asian markets, Japan and China, which is in the early stages of retooling its manufacturing sector, account for 69 per cent of all robot spending. But it’s US investment, which has more than doubled to $587m in 2015, according to CB Insights, that is the major factor in global growth.
Although the amount of cash flowing into the sector is still at a relatively early stage, all the lead indicators of the innovation economy are positive, says the FT: patent filings covering robotics technology have soared, with China alone accounted for 35 per cent in 2015, and venture capital investments more than doubled last year.
“From private equity investors looking to build portfolios of robot investments, to new “incubators” such as Playground, started by former Google robotics chief Andy Rubin, the investment options have been proliferating rapidly.”
“The most interesting things are in Silicon Valley or the US,” Dmitry Grishin, a Russian internet entrepreneur and investor told the FT.
Surging investment in artificial intelligence is giving the US an early advantage in the race to dominate a new era of robotics, say investors and experts. Recent advances, particularly in deep learning, have shifted robotics from its core industrial market into areas such as self-driving cars.
However, as low-cost robots move into more consumer and business uses, such as drones, China’s hardware manufacturing expertise will also make it a more significant player, they believe.
AI, big data and the cloud
The threat from new AI and cloud technologies has also incentivised established players such as Japan’s Fanuc, the world’s largest maker of industrial robots, to up their game. The company plans to start connecting 400,000 installed machines by the end of this year, to collect data about their operations and improve performance and is banking on their proliferation as a means of competing with the likes of Google, in the data sphere at least. Similalry, Germany’s Kuka is building a deep-learning AI network for industrial robots.
While US companies such as Google and Facebook have led  investment in deep learning, Silicon Valley has also seen a wider start-up boom in AI and robotics. A collapse in the price of components, thanks to smartphone growth, has made it cheaper to launch robot companies. But the new entrepreneurs rushing into the field are different from the hardware engineers who historically dominated the field, experts say, and are just as likely not to even use the word “robotics,” with a focus, instead on autonomy and AI.
Complementing this activity, astonishing advances in academia are giving fuel to future visions of what may become possible, with scientists creating living ‘insect-computer hybrid’ robots with user-adjustable speed and gait and exciting innovation in powering the technology, such as ‘ATTO cells’ that will be instrumental in creating intelligent swarms of robots. This nascent technology is expected to enable automation at ten times the speed of the upcoming 5G technology, supporting the deployment of highly-demanding wireless services in domains such as reconfigurable robot factories, intelligent hospitals and flexible offices. Ultimately, individual robots will be able to tap into the computing power of other robots in the swarm and/or local computing power in their immediate environment.
Simplistic machines
But that’s the future and there are plenty of technological and ethical hurdles for robotics to address first. Current goals are infintely more modest: to build single-purpose robots that do one thing very well. If successful, these machines will quickly become part of the fabric of everyday life, much like today’s automated vacuum cleaners or cash machines, say experts.
Another key design feature of many of the early robots is that they will need to operate alongside people, initially at least, making humans more productive rather than replacing them altogether. The limitations of current automation technologies mean that robot companies are thus currently focused on keeping “the human in the loop,” with most experts believing that people will have an important role to play in directing and providing a vital source of learning for the machines for decades to come.
Rapid learning is, in fact, vital for robotics manufacturers’ initial products, according to Grishin. The trick, he says, will be to find a task that relatively simplistic machines are able to handle, then use knowledge gained in the field to rapidly add to their capabilities and usefulness. “First put them in consumers’ hands, then learn from their behaviour.” Thus the machine becomes a minimal vessel for more and more sophisticated software.
It’s a proposition that investors are finding increasingly difficult to resist.

What does Innovate UK’s latest delivery plan mean to industry ?

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Innovate UK   have just published the 2016/17 Delivery Plan. In it, you will discover some important changes in the way  they intend to support business innovation.

Key areas of the delivery plan include:

  • a new sector focus – that is easier for industry, investors and government to work with
  • changing the frequency and nature of our sector funding competitions – so that they are broader in scope than previously and form a single stream of innovation funding
  • forming a single ‘open’ funding programme –  for applications from any technology or sector
  • enhancing the role of our innovation networks – in providing guidance and support to innovative businesses both nationally and regionally

To find out more read more on their blog: A whistle-stop tour of our delivery plan or check  out the website

 

Innovate UK launch new delivery plan – key sectors and funding opportunties included

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Innovate UK have launched their delivery plan for 2016/17 .

This  includes:

  • a new sector focus that is easier for industry, investors and government to work with
  • a 5-point plan to underpin activity across these sectors and drive productivity growth
  • clearer funding programmes that are easier to navigate
  • improvements to the way Innovate UK connects businesses to knowledge and partners
  • a stronger regional presence

With evidence of :”focusing ever more closely on scaling up SMEs” …

Clearer sector support has been established and these include four groups:

  • emerging and enabling technologies
  • health and life sciences
  • infrastructure systems
  • manufacturing and materials

Funding competitions for businesses are also to be simplified.

There will be 2 broad funding competitions covering each sector group per year, and 2 open competitions for applications from any sector or technology area. There will be other programmes and competitions in partnership with other government organisations.

Click here fore more information. 

Download the Delivery Plan.

Regional Digital Business Drop-in – Bournemouth

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The next monthly regional drop in session run by the Knowledge Transfer Network for the creative, digital and design community is to take place in Bournemouth. The event involving the KTN and Innovate UK is aimed at all digital innovation companies across various sectors in the region, looking to access funding and grow. A great networking opportuntity on your doorstep!

Date: Thursday 17 March

Location: Bournemouth

For more information and to register  – check out this link

 

Creative Digital & Design – Horizon 2020

Innovate UK have put together a very useful list of upcoming funding calls relating to Horizon 2020 funding. There are also links to other sources of information including events and their Guide to Horizon 2020 and Other InnovateUK_LogoA_Interim_RGBx320govuk[1]European Funding for the Creative Industries.

This information is provided freely to members of the _connect Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Creative Digital  & Design. There are currently 16 KTNs plus many other groups. Whatever your discipline, there will be a group to which you can contribute and promote your research interests.

Why not take a look and register to receive updates direct to your inbox? 

Working with start-ups and small businesses?

Technology in the hands

Innovate UK’s 5 tips to secure funding for start-ups and small businesses

Innovate UK have just launched their essential advice and tips on securing funding. Whether a start-up, small business or SME this video is worth watching. This can be found on you tube and worth bookmarking this for further advice on funding coming soon. Stay tuned, more essential selections videos will be published soon including networking, grants, pitching, business planning and more.

Click here for the video.

Check out the Innovate UK website for competitons and funding calls listed by sector.

CSR – highlights for research and KE

george osborneOn Wednesday the government outlined their plans for spending over the next five years in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and Autumn Statement. The main points in relation to research and KE are:

Research councils:

  • The Nurse Review recommendations will be implemented (see an overview of the recommendations here).
  • Subject to legislation, the government will introduce a new body – Research UK – which will work across the seven Research Councils.
  • Innovate UK with remain and will be integrated into Research UK.

 

Budget:

  • The BIS budget will be cut by 17% (£2.2bn).
  • The science budget will be protected in real terms.
  • This includes a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges fund to ensure UK science takes the lead in addressing the problems faced by developing countries whilst developing our ability to deliver cutting-edge research

 

Research Excellence Framework:

  • The government will take forward a review of the Research Excellence Framework in order to examine how to simplify and strengthen funding on the basis of excellence, and will set out further details shortly.

 

Funding, priorities and investments:

Health and social care:

  • £5bn more to be invested in Health Research, key priorities being the genomes project, anti-microbial resistance and tackling malaria.
  • £600m additional funding will be available for mental health.
  • £150m will be invested in launching a competition for a Dementia Institute with the remit of tackling the progression of the disease.
  • Women’s Health charities/sector will be invested in, as will military charities.

Science and technology:

  • £1bn will be invested in energy research, with a key priority being the reduction in costs of low carbon energy.
  • Defence budget will be increased from £34bn to £40bn – emphasis will be on new equipment, capabilities and fighting cybercrime.
  • Investment in a new Cyber Innovation Centre in Cheltenham to supporting cyber excellence across south west.

Arts, sports and culture:

  • Arts and culture budget will be protected and £1bn will be invested.
  • The Arts Council will be invested in.
  • Funding in UK Sport will be increased in run up to the Olympic Games in Rio.

Knowledge exchange / enterprise:

  • £12bn invested in local growth fund.
  • 26 Enterprise Zones to be created including 15 in towns and rural areas. Two new zones are planned for the south west region.
  • Innovate UK will remain but based on a grant system with £165m in loans will be on offer. It will be integrated into Research UK (overarching body of the Research Councils).
  • Funding to Catapult Centres will increase.

SMART awards – Support for innovative SMEs

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SMART  is a grant scheme which offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.
The scheme supports SMEs carrying out R&D which offers potentially significant rewards and that could stimulate UK economic growth.
Three types of grant are available:
  • Proof of market
  • Proof of concept
  • Development of prototype.
Any UK SME undertaking research and development may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.
 This call closes on 26 November 2015 at 12.00.

Innovate UK 2015

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Innovate 2015 is a two day global spotlight on innovation. You will be able to meet inventive and creative companies, explore innovative ideas, discover new export opportunities and hear from original thinkers . It’s the one event that brings together the research base, business, UK and international investors,international buyers from overseas markets and government organisations, to help fund and support innovative ideas.
  • Day 1 will focus on the wide range of funding and support opportunities available and help in making valuable connections for UK businesses to grow on a global scale.
  • Day 2 will focus on the innovation capabilities of the UK, the vast array of regional funding opportunities and support on offer and help with making the right connections for UK businesses to succeed and grow.

Innovate UK is taking place on 9 and 10 November in central London.

Click here for more information including registration.

SMART awards – Support for innovative SMEs

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SMART  is a grant scheme which offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.
The scheme supports SMEs carrying out R&D which offers potentially significant rewards and that could stimulate UK economic growth.
Three types of grant are available:
  • Proof of market
  • Proof of concept
  • Development of prototype.
Any UK SME undertaking research and development may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.
 This call closes on 26 November 2015 at 12.00.

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) – latest calls

SBRI

 

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a well established process to connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry, supporting companies to generate economic growth and enabling improvement in achieving government objectives.

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, leading to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. It supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of research and development (R&D).

The following is the list of recently opened & upcoming SBRI funding competitions.