Digital innovation fund launched to revolutionise industrial supply chains

Posted on 6 Jul 2020 by Jonny Williamson

Two funding competitions have been launched to help Britain’s most innovative businesses collaborate to develop world-leading digital technologies to boost supply chain productivity and resilience.

Covid-19 has highlighted the fragility of supply chains, and the importance of visibility and resilience both now and in the future.

With the right technology in place creative solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI) can boost supply chain power by predicting shortages, demand spikes and direct supplies into the chain.

Two new competitions, launched by Made Smarter and UK Research and Innovation, and funded  through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will see business-led consortia apply for funding for projects up to £1.5m to transform supply chains to help build a more efficient, flexible and resilient manufacturing sector.

Developing innovative digital solutions which rethink and restructure the way businesses design and operate supply chains is key to super-charging manufacturing so it comes out top on an ever more competitive global stage.

Businesses applying for the new funding can look to improve results from existing supply chains, redesign or re-engineer supply chains, or design completely new supply chain concepts for new products or processes.

Companies of any size may apply, and the consortia must include at least one SME.

Projects can range in size from as little as £250,000 to £3m.

SME businesses which are technology developers or manufacturing companies can benefit from funding up to 70% of their project costs. The projects can take up to two years to complete.

Juergen Maier, co-chair of Made Smarter commented: “Post-Covid, more use of digital technologies can have a turbo-charge effect on kick-starting the economy as a whole.

“Creating resilient and efficient supply chains is a key component of that, where better data analytics, modelling and connectivity can help drill down into supply chains and improve efficiencies very significantly.

“Looking to improve supply chain operations will give business a much-needed boost as they work flat out to replenish their order books as we slowly come out of the current crisis.

“This new funding pot will enable the best and most forward-thinking minds to come together to create world class supply chain technologies which will end up being the new must-have for companies in the global market.”

Both innovations competitions open today, Monday 6 July and the deadline for applications is noon on 7 October 2020.

Competition for feasibility studies

An online briefing event takes place on 14 July 2020, and there are a series of collaboration-building events throughout July.

Find out more and apply here

Competition for industrial research

An online briefing event takes place on 14 July 2020, and there are a series of collaboration-building events throughout July.

Find out more and apply here

*Header image courtesy of Shutterstock