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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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Recycl8 secures six figure funding from Innovate UK

North east environment technology firm Recycl8 has been awarded a grant by the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK to accelerate the R&D phase of its ground-breaking low carbon process for the construction and concrete industry.

Recycl8 secured an Innovate UK Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge Award, worth £167,000, to carry out testing on its process.

The timescale of the testing phase, which is being carried out in the UK, has been cut by two thirds thanks to this additional funding. Initially scheduled to take place over 2–3 years, the testing process will now take 8–9 months and has already reached the halfway mark.

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Recycl8 works in collaboration with the waste-to-energy and global construction industries to transform Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) often destined for landfill into a high-performing, low-carbon concrete solution.

The testing is required by the Environment Agency (England and Wales) and SEPA in order for them to reclassify the processed material as a product rather than as waste. Following a successful outcome, the Environment Agency and SEPA would provide Recycl8 with a license to process the IBA and take the final product to market.

Recycl8’s unique process will allow IBA to make up to 60% by volume of the concrete. By replacing high C02 emitting cement and other virgin quarried materials, their technology will help concrete manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their climate targets.

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Ian Skene, founder and managing director of Recycl8, said: “Following a very rigorous application process, we are extremely proud to have received this considerable funding grant from Innovate UK. By expediting the testing process and bringing our process to market ahead of schedule, we can create positive impact quicker as part of our commitment to the Circular Economy and net zero goals. If all UK concrete was made with Recycl8 technology we’d save around 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 – a hugely significant opportunity for both the construction industry and waste to energy industry as they tackle the carbon emissions challenges they face to meet international net zero targets.

“What’s more, as a company we are very gratified that the value our process adds to the Circular Economy, and the viability of our business proposition has been recognised by such a prestigious national organisation.”

Source: Source: Scottish Construction Now

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Innovate UK launches 2050 transport vision, calls for feedback

Innovate in the UK has launched its UK Transport Vision 2050 and is asking for feedback on plans that see fully driverless vehicles and 7G wireless.

The UK’s innovation agency has launched an in-depth study that sets out what the UK transport system may look like in 2050 with fully autonomous vehicles, digital twins and 7G wireless, outlining the likely steps along the way to achieving this.

The aim is to gather UK government and industry around a single vision, says Innovate UK. The study identifies six key areas, from connectivity, power, autonomy and infrastructure to demand and business models.

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“We will use this vision and our assessment of the UK’s relative strengths to determine where we invest our efforts over the coming years,” said Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive Officer at Innovate UK. “We hope it will also inform and guide our partners in the public sector and in industry when they are making their investment decisions. We also welcome feedback to help us refine and improve this work.”

Autonomy will make road vehicles smarter, create opportunities for new services such as last-mile delivery by drone and deliver fully autonomous urban transport, and the report anticipates that the urban transport system, air transport, rail freight, ferries to and from UK islands and 90 percent of motorway HGVs will be fully autonomous by 2050.

The report sees widespread 4G connectivity by 2025 and 5G by 2030 with widespread 7G wireless (the generation after 6G currently in early development) by 2050 that will connect all road vehicles with each other and enable a sophisticated central traffic management system.

Electricity, hydrogen, ammonia and sustainable fuel will replace petroleum and create new opportunities for generation, production and distribution. Data connectivity is a key area, with the estimated global market size for vehicle data alone is $750 billion in 2030. One UK vehicle data company is planning to go public via a US special purpose SPAC to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.

But the report goes a long way beyond this. It sees road vehicles capable of cooperating with other nearby vehicles to support traffic flow and safety by 2050 and capable of fully cooperative driving by 2050. This improved connectivity will be vital for real-time data gathering and will provide key information for the public sector, industry, travellers and maintenance. For example, real-time data will improve planning of road usage and lead to efficiencies, cost savings and emissions reductions.

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Developments in connectivity will enable planning simulations using artificial intelligence and machine learning and lead to more efficient traffic management systems with the creation of digital twins that will improve travel planning and routing.

The advanced train protection system, the European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2, will be rolled out on all UK trains by 2040 and 95% of UK mainline rail by 2050, while autonomous unmanned air traffic management (UTM) has been demonstrated and could be adopted commercially in the 2020s. This will be fully integrated into current air traffic, including commercial flight, by 2050 says the report. All recharging and refuelling systems and vehicles will be fully internet connected by 2030 to maximise energy management for motorists, vehicles and energy networks

“It is a time of incredible change for transport. UK and global net zero targets, greater connectivity and digitalisation, automation, and changing consumer habits all present significant challenges for transport industries,” said Mukerjee. “Rising to meet these challenges offers great opportunities for economic growth and for societal benefit – a cleaner environment, and better and more efficient ways for us all to get around and to deliver goods.”

The vision document will be regularly updated and used to inform decisions on future investments.

By Nick Flaherty

Source: EE News Europe

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Innovate UK support boosts jobs and R&D spend for AI sector

An Ipsos MORI study finds Innovate UK grant support has created jobs and new opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI) across the UK.

Support by Innovate UK for the burgeoning AI sector has boosted the number of jobs by over 1,100 and has seen grant funding of £323 million matched by £202 million of private investment.

The findings are revealed in a new study carried out by market research company Ipsos MORI on behalf of Innovate UK.

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Key findings are:

  • Innovate UK had increased the research and development (R&D) spending of recipient firms by £313 million to £666 million by the end of 2019
  • around 70% of firms awarded funding secured follow-on funding for subsequent development
  • around 20% of lead applicants secured follow-on equity investment, collectively raising over £750 million after being awarded funding
  • notable deals included funding rounds of over £40 million by Healthy.io, Rigetti, SoftIron, Tessian, and Yoyo
  • support provided by Innovate UK made a significant contribution, increasing equity investment raised by companies by 5.3% to 16.4%
  • Innovate UK committed £323 million in grant funding for the 757 projects within the scope of this evaluation
  • grants matched by approximately £202 million in private funding
  • jobs created totalled 1,132, of which 400 were R&D jobs.

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Sara El-Hanfy, Innovation Lead, Machine Learning and Data of Innovate UK, said: “We are supporting some of the brightest prospects in British business to develop and deploy AI technologies. These technologies are already on the way to revolutionise the economy and society.

“It is vital that the UK maintains its position in this global sector and it is clear from the findings in this study that Innovate UK’s support is making a real difference.”

Source: Cambridge Network

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Software firm secures Innovate UK funding

A Belfast-based compliance software firm has secured funding from Innovate UK which will lead to creation of jobs in the coming months.

Obbi Solutions, which has been awarded £300,000, is a software platform for integrated compliance of people, processes and safety through HR, operations and health and safety teams.

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It enables firms to connect paper or manual processes into an automated workflow to save time, money and mitigate risk.

Founding director Gareth Macklin said: “We are extremely honoured that we have been awarded the funding of £300,000 from Innovate UK.

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“Securing this funding now enables us to accelerate our growth plans quicker than we have ever imagined. Our software development team will now be expanding, along with our sales and customer support teams.

“With concrete plans of growth with our solution, alongside expanding our team, this is an extremely exciting time for the entire Obbi team. We believe Northern Ireland has some of the finest talent out there, which is why we are exceptionally proud to be able to offer additional roles within Obbi.”

By Adam Beech

Source: Insider Media

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Research initiative handed Innovate UK funding

Oxfordshire-based Nexeon, which is developing advanced silicon materials for next generation lithium ion batteries, has secured funding from Innovate UK for a new collaborative research initiative.

The £1.5m Silicon Anode Battery for Rapid Electrification (SABRE) project will develop battery cells with higher energy density in response to the demand for increased electric vehicle driving range.

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The SABRE project has been awarded funding from the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation.

Nexeon will work with its partners Britishvolt and University College London (UCL) to deliver test cells with a combination of advanced Li-ion cell design and novel silicon anode material.

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“We are very excited to lead this important work, and to collaborate with our partners in designing and producing higher performance battery cells,” said Dr Scott Brown, chief executive of Nexeon.

“This project, and others like it, are important in building a UK-based lithium ion battery capability, and reducing risk in an increasingly competitive supply chain.”

By Storm Rannard

Source: Insider Media

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RECOUP win Innovate UK funding for plastics recycling communications research

Charity, and leading plastics recycling organisation, RECOUP, have secured a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to co-fund an industry led communications and behaviour change research project in Kent.
RECOUP have brought together key industry partners, Kent Resource Partnership, Veolia, Viridor, Ocado, Ecosurety, British Plastics Federation, Plastics Europe and PPS Recovery Systems to deliver this groundbreaking piece of research aimed at understanding better the connection between communications and plastics recycling.

RECOUP’s Pledge2Recycle Plastics citizen facing brand will connect with the 673,00 households across Kent over a 12-month period, to gain citizen insights, deliver plastics recycling messages and evaluate the resulting tonnage and contamination data. The project is the first of its kind to both deliver and measure, (over an extended period) the impact recycling communications campaigns have on behaviour change.

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It is expected that the insights collected will provide evidence to support future plastics recycling engagement strategies.

Anne Hitch, Head of Citizen & Stakeholder Strategy at RECOUP and Pledge2Recycle Plastics project lead, commented, “this project represents a fantastic opportunity for the plastics industry opportunity to better understand better how we can reach 2025 recycling targets.

The aim of this project is to engage with Kent residents to understand if there is any confusion when it comes to plastics recycling and how we can encourage citizens to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics.

The citizens of Kent have an opportunity to help formulate future policy and provide the UK with a blueprint demonstrating the links between plastics recycling communications and behaviour change.”

The project will connect with over 1.5 million citizens in a ‘controlled structured’ way, RECOUP says.

The advice on plastics recycling has been pre-agreed with all Kent Councils, Veolia and Viridor to provide a consistent message with resources based on previous piloted Pledge2Recycle Plastics ‘Cutting the Confusion’ campaigns and resource pack aligned with WRAP and Recycle Now.

The project will provide understanding on how plastics recycling targets can be met with clear and the linkages between communications investment and recycling growth.

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Cllr Nick Kenton, Chairman of the Kent Resource Partnership said: “The 13 Kent councils are very pleased to be working alongside RECOUP and other partners to deliver this Kent-wide plastics recycling campaign.

“The aim of this project is to engage with Kent residents to understand if there is any confusion when it comes to plastics recycling and how we can encourage citizens to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. We look forward to seeing which interventions help with the quality and quantity of plastic recycling here in Kent.”

Viridor’s Sustainability Director, Tim Rotheray, said: “Viridor knows that most people are committed to doing the right thing and recycling more. As a company which recycles and reprocesses plastic, Viridor is pleased to be part of an initiative that seeks to engage with residents and understand any confusion or barriers which exist.

“Following up on this research is the key ensuring residents are armed with the knowledge and the confidence they need. Above all, we want them to understand that their efforts to separate and retain valuable recycling really does make a difference, underpinning the circular economy which is the UK ambition.”

Source: Circular

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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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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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