Letter to the editor: Steve Fletcher, Director of Strategy, Chemistry Innovation

At a recent event, a fellow delegate told me that funding applications for new innovations were not worth the time. I was disappointed to hear this, and wanted to encourage others not to dismiss applications.

Innovation is critical to the manufacturing industry and funding can and has helped companies with potentially important ideas and offerings make them a commercial reality. Funding calls are carefully designed – in consultation with industry – to identify pressing issues and provide support to the innovations which can best address them.

In the chemicals industry – where I work – funding is critical for bringing together different teams to address problems collaboratively. As innovations become increasingly complex, we need projects which involve not just chemists, but biologists, computational experts, materials scientists – and of course those with commercial expertise.

Of course not every idea gets funded, but many great ones do, and the evidence is there to prove it. Those in doubt should attend Innovation with Impact (http://bit.ly/10OB8hm) at the end of June, where some of the UK’s most exciting chemicals businesses will be discussing how they have secured funding and support for their innovations and the impact this has had – both for their individual companies, and for their wider industry.