13 October 2020 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

European Commission invests in new energy infrastructure

EU member states have agreed a Commission proposal to invest €998 million in key European Energy Infrastructure Projects. The funding comes under the Connecting Europe Facility. The largest share of the funding, €720 million, will go to the Baltic Synchronisation Project which will improve integration of the electricity markets of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Other projects include a smart electricity grid linking Hungary and Slovakia and grant for a carbon dioxide transport project for Belgian and Dutch Ports. The allocation of funding is in line with the European Green Deal, to create a sustainable and resource efficiency economy in the EU.

Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, said: “These ten projects will contribute to a more modern, secure and smart energy infrastructure system, which is crucial for delivering the European Green Deal and meeting our ambitious 2030 climate targets. Yesterday's decision marks a decisive step in the Baltic Synchronisation process in particular, a project of European strategic interest. These investments will help sustain the EU's economic recovery and create jobs.”

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 13th October 2020 - image of powerlines in the alps

UK to receive 1 million home antibody testing kits

In a plan to understand how the coronavirus has spread across the UK during the pandemic, the UK government have signed a deal with the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) to provide 1 million home antibody tests. The test involves a finger prick; with results returned within 20 minutes.

The results of the testing will provide evidence about who has been infected with Covid-19, improving understanding of the virus.

Chris Yates, CEO of Abingdon Health, who led the UK-RTC, said: ‘The UK government’s order of the first one million tests is an endorsement of this UK-designed, developed and manufactured high-quality rapid diagnostic test. It is a triumph of British business and a breakthrough for UK life sciences.

We have ramped up production since the start of August and will be ready to deliver the first tests to the government by early October.’

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 13th October 2020 - image of elderly female measuring glucose

Government releases report on mental health

In light of World Mental Health Day, the UK government has published the ‘State of the Nation 2020: children and young people’s wellbeing’ report, setting out the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental health of young people.

The results of the report, which highlight challenges such as isolation from friends and concerns around family members catching the virus, will be used to help public services, schools and the government to frame the best support mechanisms for the recovery of the mental wellbeing of young people.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said: ‘Right from the start of this pandemic we prioritised children and young people’s wellbeing by keeping schools open for vulnerable pupils and developing resources for parents and schools to use remotely, as well as making sure communication continued online between mental health and education professionals when it could no longer happen face-to-face.”

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 13th October 2020 - image of woman celebrating without mask


Calls for evidence 

Public Sector Procurement of Food
Evidence is sought after which address questions around the government’s current procurement rules including achieving environmental outcomes, encouraging healthy eating and supporting local suppliers e.g. SMEs.

Deadline: 31 October 2020


Funding competitions

Robotics for a more resilient future R&D strand

UK registered businesses can apply for up to £6 million of funding as part of the ISCF. Projects or technologies must focus on Robotics and AI and last between 6 to 12 months.

Deadline: 20 November 2020

View via the government website


Innovate UK Smart Grants: August 2020

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million IUK funding for disruptive innovations in R&D. Projects must include at least one SME and can last between 6 and 36 months.

Deadline: 25 November 2020

View via the government website


Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovation R&D, Round 4

UK registered business can apply for a grant share of up to £10 million for feasibility and R&D projects that contribute to the innovation in electric vehicle battery technology.

Deadline: 9 December 2020

View via the government website


NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace Autumn 2020

UK registered micro enterprises and SMEs can apply for up to £2.5 million as part of funding towards projects in civil aerospace research. Projects can last between 12 and 18 months.

Deadline: 18 November 2020

View via the government website


ISCF Transforming foundation industries: Building a resilient recovery

Projects that support recovery and growth of the UK’s foundation industries could be eligible for a grant of up to £8 million. Projects must last between 3 and 12 months and start by 1 April 2021.

Deadline: 4 November 2020

View via government website


IETF industrial energy efficiency and decarbonsiation studies

This competition aims to support projects for feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation.

Deadline: 28 October 2020

View opportunity here

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