Gov pledges £8m for foundation industry innovation

UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of £8 million in grant funding for projects supporting the recovery and growth of foundation industries.

These include cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and bulk chemicals – all of which are vital for the UK’s manufacturing and construction sectors. Combined, they are worth about £52 billion to the UK economy, but they face common challenges.

A statement from Innovate UK explained that consumption of raw materials and energy use leads to significant operating costs and environmental impact; companies operate in an internationally competitive landscape with long investment cycles; and the benefits of innovation are not shared throughout the supply chain, limiting incentives to invest.

The Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge, part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is investing £66 million in a partnership with UK businesses to develop sustainable technologies that reduce the environmental impact of the foundation industries.

This is to ensure that these sectors remain internationally competitive and are ready to meet the government commitment of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £8 million from the fund to invest in innovative research and development projects that address resource or energy efficiency of foundation industries.

Projects must demonstrate how they address resource or energy efficiency of foundation industries and support resilience and sustainability of the sector and its supply chains.

Applicants can include techno-economic assessment of new products, services and business models – and must: help the UK’s foundation industries remain globally competitive and become more environmentally sustainable; indicate how the innovation helps meet the needs of industry as it emerges from the pandemic; and demonstrate that the business has the capability to deliver the project.

The government is looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, sectors, technological maturities and research categories.

Projects can focus on one or more of the following areas: establishing long-term viability of domestic supply chains, or new markets, business models, products, services or processes.

The competition is open and the deadline for applications is 4 November. UK businesses of any size and research and technology organisations may apply, with total eligible costs to be between £100,000 and £1 million.

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