Innovation is key to success, but it can be costly. The Manufacturer finds out how the Knowledge Transfer Network is giving manufacturers a leg up over this hurdle.
The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is the UK’s innovation network. It brings together businesses, entrepreneurs, academics and funders to develop new products, processes and services.
KTN has helped thousands of businesses secure funding to drive innovation and would like to highlight two eagerly awaited competitions that are of direct relevance to manufacturers.
Established and funded by Innovate UK to foster better collaboration between science, creativity and business, KTN has specialist teams covering all sectors of the economy — from defence to the digital economy, the built environment to biotechnology.
It also has a dedicated manufacturing team — part of its unique network that helps enterprising people and companies reach their potential.
KTN can help you find collaborative partners and provide impartial advice about whether the funding opportunities below are appropriate for your business.
Manufacturing and Materials competition
Innovate UK is investing up to £15m in innovation projects in manufacturing and/or materials. Successful projects will focus on overcoming technical or commercial challenges.
Projects should aim to increase UK SME productivity, competitiveness and growth as well as having multi-sector applications. Innovate UK is looking for projects that focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development.
Projects must be led by a business and involve at least one SME. They can be carried out by an SME working alone or in collaboration with other organisations. However, projects with costs of £100,000 or more must involve working with other partners.
Projects should last between six months and three years and costs should range from £50,000 to £2m. The competition is currently open, with a registration deadline of 6 July 2016.
Innovate UK is also investing up to £4.5m in collaborative industrial research projects that stimulate innovation in additive manufacturing — also known as 3D printing.
The aim of this competition is to help businesses overcome barriers to business growth in the area of additive manufacturing and to encourage them to explore and develop their wider digital manufacturing capability.
Projects must demonstrate an innovative progression in additive manufacturing and connected digital manufacturing. They must be business-led and involve collaborating with at least one other business. Research organisations or academics may be additional partners.
Projects must last between one and three years, with total costs ranging from £500,000 to £1.5m. The competition opened 23 May, with a registration deadline of 20 July 2016.
Steven Barr, managing director of Hennik Edge – focused on creating collaborative solutions for manufacturers dealing with complex challenges such as driving business benefits from Industry 4.0, commented: “This £4.5m investment in collaborative projects will develop additive manufacturing processes and systems, and connect them productively with wider industrial and commercial processes.
“I spoke at the first briefing session, along with experts in AM technologies, and the level of interest in this initiative is clearly strong among innovative manufacturers, researchers and AM technology providers.
“If you are one of them, I strongly urge you to take a look at the funding call and get along to the next briefing event in Liverpool on June 14. Don’t delay – the deadline for applications is July 27.”