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PoliSCI (w/e 28 September 2018)


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

What’s been in the news?

farmers in kenyaUK to help developing countries tackle climate change

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised £160m to help developing countries transition to clean energy to help tackle climate change and cut emissions. The announcement, made to the UN General Assembly held in Nerk York, US, is part of the UK government’s £5.6bn commitment between 2016 and 2020 to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change, particularly those in vulnerable communities.

£94.5m will go to mitigating the effects of climate change that will directly help families most affected in Northern Kenya; £60m is committed to technical assistance to share the UK’s energy market reform, clean growth research and green finance reforms; and £15m to help smallholder farmers in Sub-Sharan Africa build resilience against food demand and climate shocks.

‘We were one of the first countries to recognise the challenge and huge economic opportunities of the global shift to a greener, cleaner economy - putting clean growth at the heart of our Industrial Strategy,’ said Energy Minister Claire Perry. ‘Now we want to share our world-leading expertise with developing countries. This £60 million programme could provide the boost they need to begin their own clean growth movements, building economies fit for the future.’

female scientistScience needs gender quotas, says EU Research Commissioner

Gender quotas should be introduced to improve the uptake of female researchers into senior positions in universities and labs, it has been suggested by EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas. He has called on European Parliament to make the change after the slow progress seen regarding gender equality in science. The Commissioner has said targets to improve the number of women on evaluation panels for Horizon 2020 are being met.

‘I think that we have hit a point of no return,’ said Moedas to European Parliament. ‘At some point we should have quotas for management positions in universities and science labs.’

Previous attempts to put more women on the boards of companies have been previously blocked by member states but the EU is now calling for a 40% quota for women in these positions. No legislation has been put forward for this latest suggestion from the Commissioner.

sam gyimahScience Minister visits US to strengthen research ties

Sam Gyimah, Science Minister, has visited the US to discuss further scientific collaborations between the two nations and to mark the one-year anniversary of the landmark UK-US Science and Technology Agreement. Gyimah visited leading universities and businesses to learn how the US supports innovation during the trip, including aerospace start-ups and NASA at the Johnson Space Centre to promote the progress and potential of the growing UK space sector.

‘Science has no borders. By collaborating with our US colleagues, we are pooling our power to find the answers to the biggest science questions of today and making the most of the inventions of tomorrow,’ said Gyimah. ‘Building on our reputation as a global force in science is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy and we will continue to learn with and from international innovators to push new boundaries.’

Calls for evidence

DIT: Citizen trade consultations

Deadline: 26 October 2018

Defra: Agriculture Bill inquiry

Deadline: Open-ended

Funding competitions

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.

Digital health technology catalyst round 3: collaborative R&D

Deadline: 31 October 2018

A share of £8m is available to UK businesses for development projects for commercial digital health solutions as part of the Digital Health Technology Catalyst.

Digital health technology catalyst round 3: feasibility studies

Deadline: 31 October 2018

A share of £1m is available to UK businesses for development projects for commercial digital health solutions as part of the Digital Health Technology Catalyst.

Energy Catalyst round 6: transforming energy access

Deadline: 14 November 2018

The Department for International Development and EPSRC have announced a share of £10m for organisations developing clean, affordable and secure energy for Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Innovation loans: September 2018 open competition

Deadline: 14 November 2018

Innovate UK is offering up to £10m in loans to SMEs for innovations with strong commercial potential that will improve the UK economy.

Open grant funding competition: round 3

Deadline: 14 November 2018

Organisations working to deliver disruptive innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy can apply for a share of up to £20m from Innovate UK.

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