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Current funding opportunities for businesses from Innovate UK

Innovate UK has published a list of its current funding opportunities for businesses and researchers. Please check individual competition dates as they may have been extended.

Innovation loans: April 2021 open competition

Businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.

Innovate UK SMART grants May 2021

UK-registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing and commercially viable research and development innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.

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ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: business-led research and development

UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7 million for research and development projects with the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastic Pact targets.

Creative Industries Fund: fast start business growth pilot

UK-registered micro and small businesses in the creative sector can apply for a package of support to grow their business. This package includes ongoing support from Innovate UK EDGE and funding of up to £25,000 for innovation projects.

Young Innovators Awards 2021/22 (Competition opens: Monday 14 June 2021)

Young people can apply for an award to make their business idea a reality, which includes a grant for £5,000, a living allowance, and tailored business support.

Biomedical catalyst 2021: early and late-stage awards

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £18 million to develop innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes.

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Addressing limitations in manufacturing nucleic acid therapeutics

Apply for funding to set up a research consortium addressing challenges in the manufacture of nucleic acid therapeutics.

Innovation in time dissemination and application

UK registered organisations can apply for support for business-led innovation in resilient time, frequency and synchronisation.

Hydrogen transport hub: demonstration

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £2.5 million. This is to demonstrate how green hydrogen can be used to power transport solutions for end users.

Expression of interest: Automotive Transformation Fund round 11

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for capital-centric investment projects. The project must help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK.

Driving the electric revolution: supply chains for net zero

UK registered businesses can apply for funding to research supply chain development for power electronics, electric machines and drives.

Knowledge transfer partnerships: 2021 to 2022, round two

UK registered academic institutions, research and technology organisations (RTOs) or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £6 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profits.

SBRI funded competitions

SBRI supports a range of competitions with public sector organisations and departments. Find out more about SBRI: the Small Business Research Initiative.

Latest SBRI competitions:

SBRI: Fusion industry challenges

Organisations can apply for a share of £2 million, inclusive of VAT, to develop solutions that accelerate fusion power plant design and reduce their fuel requirements.

Source: Cambridge Network

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Innovate UK launches new peer networks for scaling businesses

Innovate UK, the UK innovation agency, has launched a nationwide peer learning initiative for scaleup business leaders, in collaboration with the ScaleUp Institute.

Innovate UK EDGE, the agency’s business growth & scaling service, has selected 200 founders, MDs and CEOs at innovative scaling businesses from its portfolio of clients to participate in 14 Scaleup Peer Networks across the UK.

The peer groups, comprising members from different sectors, will provide a structured and confidential forum for the scaleup business leaders to address their most important business growth priorities and challenges. They will also be able to draw on resources relevant for their needs such as expertise from the ScaleUp Institute’s global network and meet international business peers.

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The ScaleUp Institute’s annual business survey of scaleup leaders consistently highlights peer networks as a key source of support, with 5 in 10 stating that easier access to a network of peers is vital or very important for their future growth. Furthermore, in terms of public sector support, scaleups cite support from Innovate UK as most vital.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully MP said: “Ensuring businesses of every size and shape can benefit from world-leading expertise to help them grow will be a key part of this Government’s vision for levelling up the whole of the country. This programme from Innovate UK and the Scaleup Institute delivers just that, providing world-leading insight and expertise that will complement our Help to Grow: Management scheme.”

Indro Mukerjee, CEO at Innovate UK, said: “I am very pleased to launch the Scaleup Peer Networks, which will help capable leaders across the UK to grow their innovation-driven businesses at pace. I know how valuable the participants will find learning from ambitious and knowledgeable peers and look forward to seeing how their businesses thrive.

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“The Scaleup Peer Networks are also a great example of Innovate UK’s deep investment in innovative companies, which helps these dynamic businesses succeed and become the engines of renewal and economic growth.”

ScaleUp Institute Chief Executive Irene Graham OBE said: “Scaleup leaders consistently tell us about the great value they derive from learning from their peers. Strong, trusted peer networks between scaleups can have a powerful impact on their individual performance, and they must be fostered. We are delighted that Innovate UK is now building these peer groups into its Innovate UK EDGE service and to be working with it on this exciting initiative to support some of the UK’s most innovative, scaling firms. These groups will work in tandem with local scaleup offerings so our scaling businesses have an escalator of support across their ongoing and developing needs, which is so vital.”

By Barney Cotton

Source: Business Leader

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Farmers urged not to miss out on 230% R&D tax credit

One of the country’s top agricultural accountants has said UK farmers could do more to capitalise on a lucrative tax break designed to encourage investment in research and development (R&D).

Addressing members of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists in Northern Ireland on Thursday (May 13), Seamus McCaffrey said businesses that are registered as companies could avail of as much as 230% tax credit for money invested in R&D.

McCaffrey, who specialises in farming taxation matters, said trialling different seed varieties, farm technology, or experimenting with different feeding regimes, cattle genetics or types of lighting (for example, in a poultry house), could all be eligible.

“It’s very useful but it’s important to note that it applies to companies only,” he said.

“A surprising amount of R&D is carried out on farms. If a farmer is doing reseeding and he does a bit of trial and error with different types of grass seed, that can constitute R&D. The extra costs involved in that constitutes research and development costs, and could thereby entitle the company to claim a 230% tax credit.”

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Are My Farm Trials Eligible?

To claim the credit, the company must self-certify in its annual accounts. However, McCaffrey warned the company must also retain evidence of carrying out the trials.

“So you just can’t decide at the end of the year that the company has a big tax bill and say ‘I did R&D’ – you’ll not get away with that. There must be a bit of resource allocated to it demonstrating and recording the fact research had been carried out,” he said.

“If, for the sake of argument, we are talking about reseeding, and we are claiming that we are spending money on trials then you could have emails backwards and forwards with the grass seed supplier discussing what kind of research you want to do as evidence – that kind of thing.

“Detailed records must be kept and they must be kept for four years because that’s how far back the revenue can ask for them.

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“You must also keep evidence of the results. It doesn’t matter whether the result is good or bad, it’s the fact that R&D has been carried out.”

The research must also be applicable to your own farm, so McCaffrey highlights that testing whether research carried out overseas or in different parts off the UK and Ireland applies to your specific enterprise could also be eligible.

“A lot of farmers already do R&D work on the farm but don’t realise they are doing it. They often don’t realise to raise it with their accountant because they simply didn’t know that the R&D work they are carrying out on the farm is eligible for the extra 230%.

“Some people imagine or think that R&D means you have to be linked to a university or that you have to have a dedicated research facility – you don’t have to have anything like that,” he concluded.

By Rachel Martin

Source: AgriLand

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Firm turns up the heat with more Innovate UK funding

An electric heating solutions business has received more funding from Innovate UK, to help it continue the development and launch of a digital thermostat that will work remotely on its electrical radiator systems.

Garforth-based Trust Electric Heating will invest £70,000 into its research and development programme, which aims to help eliminate fuel poverty for vulnerable people across the UK.

The project, which is being driven via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Huddersfield, has already seen the creation of an integrated smart thermostat for Trust Electric’s own range of heaters.

The new round of funding will focus on the development of “CAVE”, due to its focus on solving fuel poverty issues for “Confined, Adults who are Vulnerable and Elderly”.

The web-based technology enables remote monitoring, diagnosis and control of electric heating systems, providing help and support for many who struggle with digital thermostat programming.

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“Fuel poverty is an issue for everyone,” said Trust Electric’s managing director Fiona Conor, who is leading the project team in partnership with the University of Huddersfield.

“During the pandemic it has been highlighted that many vulnerable adults are having challenges controlling their heating.

“Ordinarily, we would schedule a visit but this can take up to two weeks, which causes frustration and affects the well-being of the customer.

“However, under current circumstances, a home visit is not an option for many customers who are self-isolating.

“When smart thermostats were launched, no one really thought about less-digitally savvy people.

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“Some customers simply turn their thermostats to manual and lose the advantages that are available on energy savings.

“Everyone offers big button controls but they are forgotten as customers don’t really know how to control their thermostats.

“Our CAVE thermostat gives us full remote control. We can look at timings and discuss energy efficiency together.

“Our web-based interface sends ‘traffic light’ signals, giving us an amber warning for a variety of faults.

“This then enables our office to put in a quick call to the individual without visiting the property, and stops the problems this group encounters such as waiting for engineers to visit if something is not working.”

By Miran Rahman

Source: The Business Desk

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Rinri Therapeutics has secured a grant from Innovate UK

Rinri Therapeutics Secures Innovate UK Funding Grant for £3.2m Project to Advance its Novel Cell-Based Therapy to Restore Hearing Loss

Rinri Therapeutics (‘Rinri’), a biotechnology company developing a novel cell-based therapy to restore hearing loss, is delighted to announce that it has secured a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. This grant will fund a £3.2 million project to further develop Rinri’s novel stem cell therapy to reverse sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) an area where there remains a significant global unmet need.

The project will be led by Rinri in collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGTC), and the Universities of Sheffield and Nottingham.

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Over the course of the project, the CGTC will help establish a process and analytical tools for clinical trial manufacture of Rinri’s stem cell therapy for hearing loss, Sheffield University will further the nonclinical data package and Nottingham University will develop the necessary techniques for the first in human trial of Rinri’s cell-based therapy to restore hearing loss.

Rinri’s underlying technology, based on innovative stem cell research originating from the University of Sheffield, seeks to reverse SNHL by repairing the damaged cytoarchitecture in the inner ear. SNHL happens when there is damage to the hair cells in the cochlear and/or the auditory nerve. There are currently no pharmacological treatments available for SNHL despite the rapid increase in the number of patients that suffer from this condition globally.

Dr Simon Chandler, CEO of Rinri Therapeutics, commented: “We are delighted to receive this substantial grant from Innovate UK to conduct further important research into our stem cell therapy for hearing loss. We have made superb progress in refining and optimising our technology following our ground-breaking proof of concept data. This grant will be instrumental in supporting the development and initiating clinical studies of our pioneering approach to reverse hearing loss.”

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Matthew Durdy, CEO of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult added: “Rinri’s cutting-edge stem cell therapy is a very exciting development in the field, and we look forward to working with them to prepare for clinical manufacture. Combining forces under this Innovate UK funded grant will help accelerate the development of this promising technology.”

Andrew Hogben, Head of Impact and Intellectual Property at the University of Sheffield said: “Given Rinri was founded on pioneering research led by Professor Marcelo Rivolta at the University of Sheffield, we are really excited to participate in Rinri’s Innovate UK funded project alongside Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Nottingham University to advance this novel treatment into the clinic.“

Professor Douglas Hartley, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, said: “This significant award from Innovate UK is a substantial boost to our pioneering UK partnership that could lead to a revolution in the treatment of disabling hearing loss.”

Source: Pharmi Web

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Potential impacts to your R&D tax claim

The 2021 budget announcement limits the size of some R&D tax cash benefits, but will it impact your claim?

The R&D tax credit scheme rewards companies for facing challenges and uncertainties by developing new processes or methodologies or improving on existing ones (technological advancements). All while using a systematic approach.

In the construction industry, the general activity of most companies will not be driven by technological advancements instead, they are generally driven by a client-led goal e.g. renovating a listed building. The way the construction industry advances, especially within the SME market, is through the challenges it faces. 

On Wednesday 3rd March, Rishi Sunak made possibly one of the most important modern budget announcements, outlining the plan to get our economy back on-track and providing us with insight regarding: the increase in corporation tax, the impact this will have on research & development expenditure credit (RDEC) and SMEs, the super deduction and, finally, the R&D tax review.

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Corporation tax

The rate of corporation tax will increase to 25% from April 2023, a 6% increase from the current rate of 19%. The increase is expected to raise £22bn in revenues per year whilst keeping the UK’s rate of corporation tax as the lowest in the G7.

The smallest companies will not be affected as a small profits rate will be introduced for businesses with less than £50,000 profit. These businesses, which is estimated to account for 70% of actively trading companies, will continue to pay corporation tax at the current rate of 19%. A tapered rate will also be introduced for profits of over £50,000 so that only businesses with profits above £250,000 will be taxed at the full rate of 25%.

Super-deduction

For a two-year period from 1st April 2021 until 31st March 2023 businesses will be able to claim the super-deduction on their investment in qualifying plant and machinery. This will allow companies to deduct 130% of what they invest from their taxable profits in the form of a capital allowance. This equates to a saving of 25p for every £1 invested in plant and machinery.

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The aim is to encourage businesses to invest. Levels of business investment in the UK, already low in comparison with the UK’s peers, have fallen sharply during the pandemic with a reduction of 11.6% between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020. The super-deduction aims to give companies the incentive and the confidence to invest in their business and ultimately promote economic growth.

R&D tax consultation

The government will be running a review of the R&D tax relief scheme which plays a vital part in promoting innovation and stimulating growth in the UK economy. The government has set a target or raising total investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. The consultation, therefore, aims to ensure that the current R&D tax relief schemes in the UK are still fit for purpose.

The consultation will seek the views of stakeholders on the R&D tax relief schemes currently in operation and will focus on:

  • Definitions, eligibility and scope of the reliefs – are they up to date with modern business practices and do they currently exclude activities that should qualify?
  • How well they operate for businesses and HMRC – are there ways they could be improved in terms of structure and administration?
  • Targeting of the reliefs – do they maximise the value of R&D activity for the UK economy.

Source: The Construction Index

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UK government appoints Indro Mukerjee as new Innovate UK CEO

The UK Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has appointed Indro Mukerjee as the new CEO of Innovate UK, an organisation seeking to help develop the UK innovation and drive investment in research and development.

Specifically, he will be responsible for developing the UK’s innovation capability, driving investments in research and development (R&D) and technologies of the future.

However, the appointment is also meant to transition Innovate UK from a grant funding body “to an agency focused on driving economic growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation, while unleashing private sector investment into research and development,” says the government.

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“I want innovation to be at the heart of our efforts to build back better, and to achieve this we need strong leadership from experienced innovators, with business know-how, who can help unleash the UK’s vast scientific and technological potential,” said Kwarteng.

“Along with his passion for science and technology, Indro boasts impressive credentials having worked at the top tier of businesses of all sizes and across different industries. I look forward to working closely with him at the helm of Innovate UK, which will be a crucial vehicle in accelerating business-led innovation and technology, driving economic growth, creating high-value jobs and cementing the UK’s status as a science superpower.”

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The experienced technology executive and business leader will take up the post immediately.

“Throughout my career, I have had a strong personal passion for the journey from scientific discovery through to innovation and ultimately commercialisation of technology,” said Mukerjee. “I have seen that journey at first hand across many settings, industries, countries and types of business. I will use this experience as I lead Innovate UK and work with the Secretary of State to deliver the government’s innovation strategy.”

Source: Electronics Weekly

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AMT receives £87,000 from Innovate UK to expand its portfolio

Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) has received an £87,000 grant from Innovate UK to expand its portfolio of green technology for post-processing 3D printed parts. Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation competition was created to help all sectors of the UK recover, grow, and create new opportunities from the aftermath of the global health pandemic.

AMT was awarded £87,000 to fast-track its research and development program to introduce a new generation of green, bio-renewable chemistries designed specifically for post-processing elastomer materials – commonly used for 3D printed PPE and other Covid-19 related respiratory items.

This next-generation consumable is dedicated to TPU, and other elastomer materials, and will be used in AMT’s patented PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing process in addition to AMT’s current organic consumable offering.

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AMT’s patented PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing technology allows manufacturers to seamlessly surface finish thermoplastic 3D printed parts for performance-enhanced end-use products. Benefits of the PostPro chemical vapor smoothing process include creating sealed surfaces for highly regulated applications, such as medical, improved mechanical properties for high-performance applications, and improved aesthetics for consumer parts. PostPro technology is compatible with all industry-leading 3D printing technologies and over 100 thermoplastic materials.

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“Developing sustainable solutions that further the industrialization of additive manufacturing is our primary focus at AMT, and we’ve already proven that with our PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing technology. By utilizing the Innovate UK Sustainability funding to develop this new consumable for elastomers, we’re furthering the capabilities of our technology in an even more sustainable way for our customers” said Dr. Konstantin Rybalcenko, Global Head of R&D at AMT. “We look forward to working with OEM industrial partners to implement this next-generation consumable into 3D printing factories across the globe”.

AMT is currently using next-generation consumables for prototyping. The final product will be globally available in Q2 2021 for companies to innovate and potentially export.

By Andrea Gambini

Source: 3D Printing Media Network

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International experiment shows strong evidence of undiscovered particles

Innovate UK: A much-anticipated result from an international science experiment provides strong evidence for the existence of an undiscovered subatomic particle or new force.

The result was announced today, from the Muon g-2 experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It provides tantalising evidence that the elementary particles called muons are not behaving in the way they are supposed to according to the leading theory of physics – the Standard Model.

Scientists from the UK, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, have played a vital role in the g-2 experiment.

What is Muon g-2?

The Muon g-2 experiment searches for signs of new particles and forces by precisely examining the muon’s interaction with a surrounding magnetic field.

The muon, when placed in the magnetic field, itself acts like a tiny magnetic compass and like a gyroscope, this compass rotates at a certain precise frequency, predicted by the Standard Model.

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However, the g-2 collaboration has measured this rotation to be faster than predicted – suggesting that our current understanding of physics is incomplete. This hints at the presence of additional particles or hidden subatomic forces that are manifest in the subatomic quantum fluctuations surrounding the muon.

Professor Mark Thomson, Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said:

“It is an exciting time to be a particle physicist. We know that our current understanding of the universe is incomplete. What we are now seeing from leading experiments, such as g-2, could be the first glimpses behind the curtain into a new world of physics.

The UK, through STFC support, continues to play leading roles in global experiments at the forefront of science. I look forward to the coming years and seeing the next piece of the puzzle fall in place.”

A decade of waiting

This result has been anticipated for over a decade, since a measurement published in 2006 from an experiment at Brookhaven National Lab stood at odds with the Standard Model.

The highly anticipated result from Fermilab pushes the precision of the experiment into uncharted territory in the quest to confirm or refute that finding.

Professor Mark Lancaster of the University of Manchester is the UK lead for the g-2 experiment and an ex co-spokesperson of the experiment.

He said:

“This is a long-awaited measurement and provides strong evidence that hints at the existence of new particles and forces.

We know our current list of fundamental particles and forces is incomplete because they are not sufficient to explain the dark-matter content of the universe or that the universe has very little anti-matter.

This measurement alone has a one in a thousand chance of being a statistical fluke and one in 40 thousand when combined with the previous measurement from Brookhaven.

It falls short of the one in a million gold standard used in particle physics to claim a discovery, but we are already analysing much more data that will significantly improve the precision of the measurement by more than a factor of two.”

This result, along with other recent developments including the LHCb result last week, could suggest that scientists are on the precipice of a new era of physics.
Professor Lancaster added:

“When viewed together with the recent measurements from CERN’s LHCb experiment, there seems to be a pattern emerging of muons behaving differently than our theory predicts.

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This measurement is the most precise measurement ever to be made at a particle accelerator: it has an uncertainty of better than 0.5 parts per million.”

Graziano Venanzoni, co-spokesperson of the Muon g-2 experiment and physicist at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics, said:

“Today is an extraordinary day, long awaited not only by us but by the whole international physics community. A large amount of credit goes to our young researchers who, with their talent, ideas and enthusiasm, have allowed us to achieve this incredible result.”

g-2 in the UK

Muon g-2 is an international collaboration between Fermilab and dozens of labs and universities in seven countries, including the UK.

The UK collaboration comprises the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, and UCL and the Cockcroft Accelerator Institute.

STFC has supported the UK’s role in this experiment since 2014 and UK physicists have had a very significant role in the experiment, providing one of the two main detector systems and one of the experiment’s co-spokespersons from 2018-2020.

The build of the straw tracking detectors at Liverpool was led by Professor Themis Bowcock and Dr Joe Price with data acquisition provided by UCL led by Dr Becky Chislett.

Two former PhD STFC-supported students from the UK now have two of the three largest analysis roles in the experiment.

Professor Lancaster added:

“Liverpool University and UCL provided one of the key detector systems for the experiment and this along with the talent and ingenuity of many young researchers has made this measurement possible.”

Source: Science Business

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UK government has announced extra £250M for ongoing research

The UK Government has solidified its ambitions to become a science superpower by pledging an additional £250 million (€292m) to support research and development.

The money, which will come through BEIS, will be used to support pioneering research, providing UK scientists and researchers more recourse to public funds. It will also fund UK research previously sponsored by Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research programme.

WHY IT MATTERS

The investment supports the Government’s commitment to foster R&D innovation in the UK. In the most recent budget, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government’s ambition to raise R&D investment to 2.4% of UK GDP by 2027. 2.4% is the current OECD average.

This cash injection brings the total UK R&D investment for 2021/22 to £14.9 billion (€17.4b). This surpasses the goal set in the November 2020 Spending Review.

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The £250m is in addition to £400m set aside for UKRI and National Academies for 2021/22.

It is still unclear, however, how the UK will pay for its associate membership to Horizon Europe. Some commentators fear it could come out of UKRI’s budget, which would severely impact the UK’s research community and diminish available funds in real terms.

When Britain left the EU, it lost its membership to the research programme. The projected fee to remain in the 7 year programme as part of the UK–EU TCA is £14 billion.

The £250m will be used to support projects that were already part of Horizon.

THE LARGER PICTURE

In its bid to become a science superpower, the UK government recently announced ARIA, which will focus on high-risk, high-reward science and technology and fast-track radical innovation through bureaucratic processes.

The UK also recently released a report on the future of clinical research delivery, which called for clinical research to be embedded in the NHS whilst promoting digital tools to make research more streamlined, accessible and patient-focused.

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ON THE RECORD

UKRI CEO Ottoline Leyser commented: “This additional funding for research and innovation is most welcome and reaffirms the government’s commitment to an R&D-led recovery. UKRI will be working hard with government and the whole research and innovation community to make the most of the significant public investment entrusted to us to build an inclusive and sustainable knowledge economy, now and for the future.”

Dr Joe Marshall, CEO of the National Centre for Universities and Business, was less enthusiastic, however: “The announcement of a £250m uplift in research funding sounds positive on the surface, however it masks a worrying reality. The new cost of more than £1bn each year for association to the EU’s Horizon research programme will now be taken from the research budget. This results in a real term cut in research funding. If the government is serious about being a science superpower, it needs to invest more, not less in research.”

By Sophie Porter

Source: Healthcare IT News

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