Support for women working in innovation

Posted on 11 Sep 2017 by The Manufacturer

Simon Edmonds discusses the latest news from Innovate UK, including support for women working in innovation, and a reminder of the upcoming deadlines for those interested in applying for funding opportunities through the £246m Faraday Challenge.

Women Working in Innovation Group at a recent Innovate UK event.
Women in Innovation Group at a recent Innovate UK event.

We believe that the most disruptive innovation can only occur when great and diverse minds meet and get access to proper support to realise their ideas.

Over the past year, we have been supporting women working in innovation – this followed the insight that just one in seven applications for business funding to Innovate UK came from women.

Earlier in the summer we partnered with Getty Images to present a two-week photography exhibition to tell the stories of our Women in Innovation Award holders (

Several winners were from manufacturing and materials businesses, such as Pauline Dawes of SOMI Trailers Ltd, who has drawn on her 10 years of professional experience to inform her innovation, which meant leading the development of a trailer body that uses the space underneath trucks to transport greater loads with every journey.

Another good example is Fanzi Down of DPS Designs, who gained funding to create a revolutionary chocolate moulding technique by industrialising the process of displacement moulding.

This article first appeared in the September issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

Innovate 2017 in Birmingham

We are looking forward to our involvement in The Manufacturer’s Digital Manufacturing Week from 15 – 17 November at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool. Earlier that month we have our own annual flagship show, this year taking place at the NEC in Birmingham.

Innovate 2017 is an opportunity to meet global creators, thinkers, investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. It’s a place to do deals, be inspired, and network with future-focused thought leaders. It’s a place to hear amazing speakers and see an exhibition of game-changing innovations.

This inspiring, thought-provoking event will look at challenges that face the entire planet, such as securing the cyber world and automation, and how UK and global innovation is helping to solve those challenges.

In-depth seminars with industry leaders will look at topics including optimising the digital revolution for manufacturers and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For the latest programme and to buy tickets, visit:

Faraday Challenge and competitions update

Now, a reminder for businesses interested in applying for funding opportunities through the £246m Faraday Challenge – the deadlines are looming.

In July, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced details for projects in battery design and development, funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as well as £25m funding for connected and autonomous vehicles.

These include:

  • £30m available for collaborative research and development projects for new battery technologies, and up to a further £10m for feasibility studies. The competitions’ deadline for applications is midday on 14 September 2017.
  • The Advanced Propulsion Centre will fund one project for a new state-of-the-art battery manufacturing development facility. Projects are anticipated to be in excess of £40m. The competition’s registration deadline is midday on 13 September 2017.
  • Research into batteries – separate to the above competitions – the Faraday Challenge will support activities across research, innovation and scale up. This includes a call by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to establish a virtual research institute, plus associated research into battery development.
  • The Business Secretary also announced two competitions to encourage projects that show how connected and autonomous vehicles can work in the real world. These will be funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV). Up to £23m is being made available for collaborative research and development projects, and up to a further £2m for feasibility studies. The competition’s deadline for applications is midday on 25 October 2017. See:
  • A further competition that is also open is the £20m Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) competition that seeks to support projects, which aid the interaction between electric vehicles and the grid, paving the way for widespread adoption of electric vehicles. The deadline is midday on 18 October 2017. See:

Simon Edmonds, director of Manufacturing and Materials, Innovate UK.
Simon Edmonds, director of Manufacturing and Materials, Innovate UK.

Innovate UK

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

Feedback! All feedback gratefully received. I can be found on Twitter: @SJSEdmonds