Funding + Collaboration x Innovation = Manufacturing Success

This month, Simon Edmonds reports on the results of a recent competition to help boost the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and details the latest funding opportunities for manufacturing businesses and young innovators.

Manufacturers funded to boost economic recovery from Covid-19

Last month, I included details of the recent competition ran by Innovate UK to support companies to develop new projects and services designed to boost economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

Manufacturers were strongly represented in the projects sharing the £40m investment. Indeed, more than 100 of the 869 projects were from businesses manufacturing products ranging from Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and wearable sensors for care homes, to packaging and protein-rich meat substitutes.


Nose Clip Production PR (L) - image courtesy of Brandauer

Kaielum Kerr working on the nose clip production line. Image: Brandauer


A great example of the successful projects was Birmingham-based metal pressings and stamping specialist Brandauer who secured funding to help it develop a solution for easing global shortages of PPE.

Brandauer’s project aims to increase its capacity to produce more than 100 million nose clips for use in face masks every year.

The company will use the £50,000 grant to develop its ‘Quick Clip Tool’ modular tooling that will add a quick changeover capability to a progression tool, something that has never been offered to the PPE marketplace before.

You can read more about this project here.

Another interesting PPE project funded was Alchemie Technology’s project to develop advanced new materials for anti-viral facemasks.

The Innovate UK grant will support the Cambridgebased company in the development of Novara – a precision digital coating product to apply protective coatings to medical textiles.

You can read more about this project here.

Sheffield-based Tribosonics also received funding for its project to develop embedded, real time measurement technology to transform the polymer processing industry.

You can read more about this project here.


CEO Sabrina Malpede in front of wind farm in Edinburgh - © Wattie Cheung

CEO Sabrina Malpede in front of wind farm in Edinburgh. Image: Wattie Cheung 


Yacht-racing inspired concept for world’s lightest wind turbine blade

It was very good news to read that Innovate UK-funded ACT Blade has successfully completed the first of two tests of its novel lightweight blade for wind farms at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

These tests will pave the way for its first operational deployment later this year.

The project has been an excellent example of cross- Catapult collaboration with the company. As well as ORE Catapult, both the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) have been involved in helping the company reach this exciting stage.

The AMRC has outlined how their Sheffield team worked with ACT Blade and its chief executive, Dr Sabrina Malpede, in an interesting article on their website.

This article first appeared in the July/August issue of The Manufacturer magazine. Click here to subscribe 

Funding opportunities for businesses

Manufacturing Made Smarter – businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies to transform supply chains in UK manufacturing.

This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Businesses applying for the new funding can look to improve results from existing supply chains, redesignor re-engineer supply chains or design completely new supply chain concepts for new products or processes.

This competition comprises of two strands running at the same time: feasibility studies and industrial research.

The closing date of the competition is 7 October – for more information, click here.


Young Innovators Awards 2020/21 – Young people can apply for an award to make their business idea a reality. The Award includes a £5,000 grant, tailored business support and a living allowance.

The closing date is Wednesday 2 September. Innovate UK is working in partnership with The Prince’s Trust on this scheme. For more information, click here.


The Sustainable Innovation Fund – this new fund, totalling almost £200m, will be open to companies acrossall parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

Funding could go towards developing new technologies focused on making homes and offices more energy efficient to cut bills, creating ground-breaking medical technologies to treat infections and diseases, or reducing the carbon footprint of public transport in our towns and cities.

There are different rounds to the competition, see our website for the latest information.


The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) competition is offering up to £30m, split across two strands, for grants to carry out feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation.

The IETF is a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) fund. Innovate UK is delivering this competition on behalf of BEIS, which is a joint sponsor.

The closing date for this competition is 28 October – for more information, click here.


Innovate UK

Simon Edmonds, director - manufacturing, materials & future of mobility, Innovate UK.
Simon Edmonds, director – manufacturing, materials & future of mobility, Innovate UK.

Simon Edmonds is director – manufacturing, materials & future of mobility, Innovate UK.

All feedback gratefully received – I blog here, and can also be found on Twitter: @SJSEdmonds

For more information on any of Innovate UK’s funding opportunities, please contact
the customer support service:

0300 321 4357 | support@innovateuk.gov.uk | www.innovateuk.gov.uk 


*Header image courtesy of Depositphotos