£19m to fund manufacturing, materials & infrastructure innovation

Innovate UK has announced it is to invest up to £19m in innovation projects across the manufacturing and materials and infrastructure systems industry sectors.

Digital Innovation Stock - Image courtesy of Depositphotos.
UK manufacturing represents almost 70% of total business research and development (R&D) spend – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Additional funding of up to £16m is also available for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) to help businesses recruit a graduate to work on an innovation project.

Booming UK demand for infrastructure systems

Global urban population is growing by almost 60 million every year which results in a demand for more adaptable infrastructure that is better integrated with social systems.

The market for systems that ensure smart and resilient infrastructure is expanding and we need to improve innovation in the following areas:

  • smart infrastructure, which adds intelligence to physical infrastructure or the design process and create improvements in whole-life cost and performance, or resilience, security and sustainability
  • urban living solutions that tackle the challenges people face in urban areas, improve user experience and lower costs
  • energy supply and systems, to improve the value, affordability and security, and reduce emissions
  • connected transport that moves people and goods more efficiently, and makes transport more secure, user-centric and accessible

Growing the UK’s manufacturing output

The UK is the ninth largest producer in the world, with an output of $247bn, accounting for 3% of global manufacturing output and 11% of the nation’s GVA (gross value added). It represents 50% of exports and 69% of business R&D.

New manufacturing technologies and materials can enable new types of products or services. This can grow UK manufacturing productivity, increase material efficiency and sustain our competitiveness in the long term.

Innovation within the manufacturing and materials arena is required to:

  • develop more flexible and efficient processes
  • develop processes that enable faster and greater customisation of products
  • develop materials for ease of manufacture
  • address the manufacturing readiness of growing sectors
  • develop materials to targeted performance specifications
  • diversify product and service lines
  • develop novel services or business models that open new sources of revenue