Play your part in the Industrial Strategy
It is three months since the government announced the Industrial Strategy to harness, energise and ignite the United Kingdom’s technological know-how – and put the nation on a firm footing to compete with the likes of Germany, China, Japan and the US.
But to achieve this, the UK needs forward-thinking companies and experts from business and academia at the cutting edge of technology to drive and develop the ideas that will change and enhance the nation, and, most importantly, improve productivity.
The Sci-Tech Daresbury business community is well-placed to play a key role in the Industrial Strategy. At the end of last month, it was announced that Innovate UK, on behalf of UK Research and Innovation, is now inviting proposals for the next set of challenges that will if successful, get support via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
What does this mean?
In November’s White Paper the government identified four Grand Challenges:
- artificial intelligence and big data
- clean growth
- the future of mobility
- meeting the needs of an ageing society
Any proposal will have to align itself to one of those challenges and given the specialities of the companies based on the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus, this is where opportunities lie to push the boundaries of R&D and with significant financial backing.
This is the third wave of industry-led challenges to be announced and selected projects will expect to start in April 2019. In the first wave, £1 billion has been allocated, while a further £725 million has been announced for wave 2, which will run in 2018 and 2019.
The opportunity: How to get involved
As with any proposal, there is rigorous criteria and the need to have a stand out application, and most definitely a collaborative approach.
The announcement clearly defined the parameters:
Proposed challenges should combine the best ideas from academia and industry to create tangible benefits for the UK in productivity and economic growth.
Submitted proposals should either be drafted collaboratively by a consortium of industry and academia or be able to provide evidence of an industry-wide requirement.
You will need to explain and evidence what the challenge is, the positive impact in addressing it, and the capabilities and strengths that we already have in the UK that would help us to become a world-leader in its research and commercialisation.
The challenge must:
- be compelling, focused, understandable and have a real benefit if solved
- be industry-led and in an area of existing strength
- take advantage of the depth and expertise of UK research
- offer a clear opportunity for sustainable growth, including global markets
- evidence that government support is necessary and of strategic importance
- increase productivity
Challenges can be of any size. You will be expected to propose the amount of funding required from government and from industry to address your proposal.
Interestingly, delving into the 260-page White Paper, there is one phrase – linked to the Grand Challenges – that will instil confidence with the start-ups and tech companies considering a proposal.
It states: “We must not let a fear of failure make us unimaginative or risk averse. The government must be willing to back a broad portfolio of risky initiatives rather than be constrained by the possibility of individual failures.”
- the expression of interest for challenges opened on 28 February 2018, and the deadline is 18 April 2018
- consortiums must be led by a business or industry body. Members can be businesses, academic organisations, public sector bodies, or research and technology organisations
- you may submit more than one challenge as long as these are innovative in their own rights and not interdependent
- there will be a briefing event on 14 March 2018
- at this stage proposals are for future challenges only.