Simon Edmonds discusses the latest news from Innovate UK, including the government’s important Faraday Battery Challenge and a must-attend event for anyone involved in advanced materials.
The New Year has got off to a flying start with some significant opportunities for UK manufacturers to grow their businesses through innovation with the support of Innovate UK’s funding competitions.
Faraday Battery Challenge
In November 2017, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced the results from the first stages of the Faraday Battery Challenge – a £246m government investment to develop safe, cost-effective, durable, lighter-weight, high-performing and recyclable batteries in the UK, which will power the next generation of electric vehicles.
This announcement included:
- Investment of £80m into the UK’s first automotive battery manufacturing development facility that will be located in the West Midlands, being created by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). The new facility will allow the UK to develop the processes required to manufacture pioneering battery technology here in the UK at a high-volume production rate.
- Around £40m of grant funding through our innovation competitions – 27 projects were funded involving 66 organisations covering key technologies such as the development of battery materials and cell manufacturing, design and production of modules and packs including advances in thermal management and battery management systems, and recycling and recyclability of battery packs.
- This followed the announcement in the Autumn by Greg Clark of The Faraday Institution, a new, multi-million-pound research institute to drive and accelerate fundamental research in developing battery technologies, and its translation.
Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said: “The Faraday Battery Challenge is breaking new ground because it offers for the first time a co-ordinated programme of competitions across research, innovation and scale-up.
“It will therefore draw the very best of the UK’s world-leading research into commercial technologies and put UK businesses at the forefront of electric vehicle battery development.”
This article first appeared in the February issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.
The Faraday Battery Challenge is ongoing, and the current competition, funded through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund opened on 22 January. For details of the briefing event please see: bit.ly/2D2vJKb
Funding competitions update
In addition to the Faraday Battery Challenge, other significant funding competitions currently open that will interest The Manufacturer readers include:
- The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is to invest in a limited number of collaborative research and development (R&D) pre-production projects. UK businesses can share around £30m for collaborative, match-funded, late stage R&D projects. This is to advance the growth of low-carbon propulsion. Projects must demonstrate the development of on-vehicle technologies and vehicle infrastructure interfaces, for either on- or off-road vehicles.
- The next of our Open competitions – UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £19m to deliver game-changing or disruptive innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy. This competition is open to the best business-led cutting-edge or disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation. These can come from any technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries) and apply to any part of the economy.
For more information on any of these competitions, please see our competitions page: bit.ly/2hLwjWb
Young innovators campaign
I’d like to highlight an important new campaign Innovate UK has launched with the Prince’s Trust to find the next generation of UK innovators, and provide them with support, advice and funding.
The programme – Ideas Mean Business – is open to 18 to 30-year-olds from a range of backgrounds. We are inviting young adults with ideas to fix everyday problems, make changes in their community or tackle environmental issues to take part.
We launched this exciting campaign with the help of investor, entrepreneur and ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, Deborah Meaden. Young people were invited to attend the launch event at a pop-up coffee shop in Islington, London, and speak with business mentors and experts.
Take a look at the launch video: bit.ly/2EiJSlU
A series of regional innovation events ran throughout January 2018 to help anyone interested to develop their ideas. The competition will then open in February 2018, with the award package being presented in March 2018.
For more information please see: bit.ly/2qCvNh6
The Materials Research Exchange 2018
The advanced materials team at Innovate UK are working with the Knowledge Transfer Network, EPSRC and DSTL, to organise the UK’s largest advanced materials innovation showcase: The Materials Research Exchange.
This is a combined two-day exhibition and conference with over 1,200 delegates and 100 exhibition at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London (12-13 March 2018).
This showcase event is focused on bringing together the best in UK advanced materials innovation from industry and our world-class universities. It aims are to show that without a strong, vibrant and connected advanced materials supply chain in the UK, our ability to compete globally will be at risk.
The agenda will include dedicated seminars on automotive, aerospace and defence materials and an investor event to link materials companies with the City. If you are interested in attending, please see the event website for more details: www.mre2018.co.uk