Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – What is it and why should we all be interested?

Featuring Richard Wadman | 14th June, 2018

As a reminder in the words of the GOV.UK website page, “The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. This is part of government’s £4.7 billion investment in R&D over four years.”

It is delivered by UK Research and Innovation.

Competitions and Challenges

The funding is made available through a series of competitions – like the one I blogged on earlier in the week. These competitions are derived from challenges which are:

  • Aimed at areas where the UK has a world-leading research base and businesses ready to innovate and there is a large or fast-growing and sustainable global market
  • Aligned with the Industrial Strategy’s four grand challenges being:
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data
    • Ageing society
    • Clean growth
    • Future of mobility

Challenges announced so far include:

  • Audience of the future
  • Faraday battery challenge
  • From data to early diagnosis and precision medicine
  • Healthy ageing
  • Leading-edge healthcare
  • Next-generation services
  • Prospering from the energy revolution
  • Quantum technologies
  • Robots for a safer world
  • Transforming construction
  • Transforming food production
  • Creative industries clusters
  • Driverless cars
  • Manufacturing and future materials
  • National Satellite Test Facility

View more information on the gov.uk website

So why should we be interested?

  1. It is a lot of money
  2. If the UK Government has got it right, these are the areas where we (UK PLC) can generate a competitive advantage

What next?

My colleagues or I will aim to blog on competitions as we become aware of them. I am also aware that a colleague is planning at least two events over the next few months with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund at the core.

Regardless, I would also suggest that interested businesses sign up to receive email alerts on competitions as they are launched. If you are thinking of a significant RDI project in one of the “challenge” areas, then have a read of that particular challenge to gauge fit.

It is worth pointing out that the competitions may be structured along the lines of the one launched last week i.e., with a significant amount of funding allocated to collaborative projects. So, if you have not done so already, identify which universities have expertise in the research area you are interested in and look to introduce yourselves to them. I suspect that they will be keen to discuss working with you, as private sector involvement is, from what I understand, generally pre-requisite to a bid for funds and involvement in projects is key to a university’s research rankings.

I personally know of one university who would be keen to speak to you…

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