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PoliSCI (w/e 21 September 2018)


Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

skyscraperSwansea win £36m for clean energy construction project

A consortium led by Swansea University will receive funding worth £36m for innovative clean energy projects that will transform the construction sector, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced this week. Swansea University currently researches new building materials and coatings that can generate electricity from light and heat, which can then be used to power homes and other buildings or be fed back to National Grid.

The funding supports the government’s intention to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 as part of its Clean Growth Grand Challenge and supports the Construction Sector Deal launched as part of the Industrial Strategy earlier this year.

‘The UK government is backing the industries of the future that will deliver jobs and opportunities across Wales’ said Hammond. ‘This £36 million new funding will support exciting green technology that could cut energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create better homes and workspaces.’

cow£3m dedicated to reducing farm air pollution

In collaboration with the Environment Agency and Natural England, Defra has launched the Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative, aimed at helping farmers reduce their ammonia emissions. Currently, the agriculture and farming sector is responsible for 88% of the UK’s ammonia emissions. The government has been focusing on improving environmental standards of farming in the UK as part of its Clean Air Strategy, which also includes schemes to improve water quality and flooding prevention.

‘As custodians of the land, farmers have an important role to play in protecting the environment. But reducing ammonia emissions can also bring real business benefits,’ said Bob Middleton, Programme Manager at Catchment Sensitive Farming. ‘The UK loses £138m of nitrogen per year from ammonia emissions, so by taking action to reduce them, farmers can get more value from their manure and fertiliser and save money.’

AIEuropean AI researchers collaborate to challenge US and China

An alliance – the Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe – of over 2,100 AI researchers from 29 countries across Europe has been formed to collaborate and call for large-scale funding for AI projects that could challenge the US and China. Both countries have seen significant and rapid progress in the research area.

‘European AI is at a crossroads given the huge investments in the technology in the United States and China,’ say the group, which met for the first time last week.

The alliance has called on the European Commission to implement an AI Strategy that will rival similar policies launched by the US and China in 2016 and 2017 respectively. They have advised several AI centres are set up around Europe to help nurture the best AI talent and retain R&D and innovation standards.

Calls for evidence

BEIS: Balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending inquiry

Deadline: 28 September 2018

DIT: Citizen trade consultations

Deadline: 26 October 2018

Defra: Agriculture Bill inquiry

Deadline: Open-ended

Funding competitions

APC 11: advancing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability

Deadline: 3 October 2018

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is investing £20m in collaborative match funding for late stage R&D projects in low carbon propulsion technologies for the automotive industry.

Biomedical Catalyst 2018 round 2: primer award

Deadline: 3 October 2018

UK SMEs can apply for a share of £5m to solve healthcare challenges including disease prevention, early detection and diagnosis, and personalised treatments.

Biomedical Catalyst 2018 round 2: late stage

Deadline: 3 October 2018

UK SMEs can apply for a share of £10m for projects in a clinical setting or late-stage environment to solve healthcare challenges including disease prevention, early detection and diagnosis, and personalised treatments.

Digitalisation of medicines manufacturing: Challenge Fund

Deadline: 3 October 2018

£8m from Innovate UK is available for capital projects to improve medicines manufacturing through the application of digitally-enabled technology.

Productive and sustainable crop and ruminant agricultural systems

Deadline: 24 October 2018

Businesses can apply for a share of £20m from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop precision agriculture technologies.

UK-Sweden EUREKA proposals for aerospace research and development

Deadline: 24 October 2018

UK organisations can apply for a share of £2.25m to work collaborative with Swedish companies to develop aerospace technology through EUREKA Network Projects.

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