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Tech start-up enee.io receives £250k grant from Innovate UK

Manchester-based tech start-up enee.io has been awarded a £250k grant from Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst 8 competition. The grant forms part of enee.io’s current round of fundraising and supports the development of a viable solution to improve access to energy in developing countries by reducing the cost of renewable power systems through improved battery life and performance.

The six-figure grant will enable the firm to further develop and commercialise its pioneering technology providing automated and remote monitoring of industrial battery systems used to provide power for commercial, industrial, and residential users. The securing of this latest grant comes just 12 months after receiving a £170k grant from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund.

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enee.io’s system uses state-of-the-art IoT technologies, data analytics and cloud-based software to constantly and remotely monitor battery health, providing early identification of battery issues and allowing for preventive action to be taken.

This latest grant forms part of enee.io’s current fundraising activity supporting its product and commercial development over the next three years. The grant will assist in facilitating the employment of a further four full-time employees in software development, data analytics and customer support.

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David Smith, Founder & CEO at enee.io said: “This is a major boost for enee.io. Receiving two rounds of funding from Innovate UK in less than a year is a real show of confidence in a product we believe will have a significant impact on both the future of industrial battery management in the UK and globally, particularly in developing economies.

“In Africa 450 million people still do not have access to any form of electricity supply. We hope to be able to contribute to bridging that gap by making renewable power more affordable and reliable.”

Dr Nicola Lazenby, Innovation Lead, Energy Catalyst, at Innovate UK said: “Through Energy Catalyst, Innovate UK provides funding to pioneers who are developing solutions that will help to close the energy access gap for millions of people.”

Story by James Cook

Source: Business Leader

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UK must subsidise R&D into green technology, says Tory think tank

The government must create a new high-risk laboratory to research cutting edge green technology and hand out tax breaks for businesses that replace gas boilers with heat pumps, according to a leading Tory think tank.

Onward, which is run by a large number of Conservative MPs and party grandees, today said in a new report that the UK is lagging behind in “the development of technologies likely to be critical to decarbonisation in the next thirty years”.

Boris Johnson’s government has a target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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The landmark United Nations Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next month is being billed as one of the last opportunities to broker a global deal to keep global climate change to less than 1.5 degrees.

Onward said the government needed to pull policy levers to spur more private sector research and development (R&D) spending in green technologies.

The think tank says this could be done by direct subsidies to labs researching carbon capture technology and tax breaks to businesses that replace their boilers with more environmentally friendly heat pumps.

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The report also suggests creating a National Energy Laboratory to “conduct high-risk net zero research to overcome energy system challenges” that is modelled on similar agencies in Germany and the US.

Ted Christie-Miller, co-author of the report and head of carbon removals at BeZero Carbon, said: “The government needs to consciously create the incentives and build the institutions necessary to create an explosion in the R&D, commercialisation and diffusion of key net zero technologies.

“If we don’t act fast, we will pay the price in higher emissions, lower competitiveness, greater societal disruption and higher costs for consumers and taxpayers.”

By Stefan Boscia

Source: City AM

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South East businesses claim £1.3bn for innovation with R&D tax credits

South East businesses claimed the second-highest number of research and development (R&D) tax credits than any other region for the 19/20 financial year, according to HMRC’s R&D tax relief report, which was released on 30 September 2021.

London claimed the first spot.

£1.3bn was received by South East registered businesses, with a total of 12,740 claims, a number that will continue to grow as 19/20 years remain open for claims until March 2022. The average claim amount was £104,000.

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The report shows a 20% increase in the total amount claimed by South East businesses, with a 17% increase in the number of claims, from tax year 18/19 to 19/20.

According to the report, the sectors where the highest number of R&D claims across the UK were made are Information and Communication (22%), Manufacturing (22%) and Professional, Scientific and Technical (19%) sectors, accounting for 20%, 25% and 24% of the total amount claimed, respectively.

Leslie Maloney said: “The uplift in the number of R&D tax relief claims in the South East represents an increasing awareness of HMRC’s tax relief scheme and increasing innovation within the region, which is wonderful to see.

“The key take-aways from this year’s R&D tax credit report is the two growth areas in Professional, Scientific and Technical and Information and Communication, both of which saw significant expansion in number of claims made in 2019-20.

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“I personally believe this report shows opportunity for real growth for innovative businesses in the South East, particularly in those high growth sectors and a shift towards the new economy. The more traditional sectors like Manufacturing and Construction have been claiming R&D for many years and we expect this to continue but for Professional, Scientific and Technical and Information and Communication to be the main drivers of growth in helping the country to recover economically. This will be reflected in 2022’s report.”

The average claim value across the UK is sitting at approximately £57,000. There has however been an increase in the number of claims made from last year, from 74,200 to 85,900 and this figure will certainly increase.

R&D tax credits are a HMRC incentive to encourage UK businesses to continue to grow by innovating. The incentive being a reduction in corporation tax or a cash payment.

Story by Barney Cotton

Source: Business Leader

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Innovate UK is offering £14.4 million in funding for “healthy ageing” designs

Innovate UK has launched a fund worth £14.4 million to support initiatives that encourage healthy ageing through service design.

The Designed for Ageing funding competition is part of a wider push by Innovate UK parent organisation UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), called the Healthy Ageing Challenge. The challenge has been developed to help businesses and social enterprises to create “products and services to help people as they age”, according to UKRI.

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“Think beyond comfortable shoes and stairlifts”

How design can help people age more comfortably is a perennial topic of the industry, and one that Design Week has covered before.

“Despite more of us living for longer and wanting to choose how to live in later life, the market for products and services which genuinely meet the needs of older people is fairly underdeveloped,” says UKRI design innovation lead Julia Glenn.

“Designing for ageing needs to think beyond comfortable shoes and stairlifts,” she adds.

“Game-changing service-led innovations”

Successful applicants to the fund can bid for a share of up to £2 million to support their idea. The lowest funding amount is £500,000.

Briefing documents for the fund say the ultimate aim is to deliver a suite of “game-changing service-led innovations”, which address the current under-provision of products and services for older people.

Those looking to apply will need to have a business-led idea that is near-to-market and has the potential to scale, according to the competition description.

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“Good, people-centred design”

Successful projects will need to have been co-designed with the people who are going to use them, Innovate UK says, while “good, people-centred design” should be at the centre.

To enforce this, all projects will be subject to a “design stage gate review” at the six-month point. Projects must pass this to continue to receive funding. “We need to address the proper design of flexible life choices for older people, of financial services beyond pensions and see that ageing is a continuum, not a boundary line,” explains Glenn.

Another requirement is for projects to conduct industrial research to develop “new and applied knowledge”. This research will ultimately positively market readiness, the brief says.

Potential themes

A series of themes have been highlighted as targets for prospective projects. These include initiatives that enable self-care and new models of care for independent living; and those that encourage the sustaining of physical activity for people aged 50 and above.

Other targets could include projects that improve mental health, or those that address the “common complaints” of ageing, like incontinence, pain, mobility, or a loss of hearing or eyesight.

By Molly Long

Source: Design Week

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