Muriel Cozier | 10 August 2020

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

What’s been in the news?

Funding for green startups and SMEs

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has awarded more than €307 million to 64 ‘game-changing’ green deal startups and SMEs. Those selected contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal Strategy and the Recovery Plan for Europe.

Winning proposals range from innovative solutions for the automotive, aerospace and maritime sectors through to advanced materials and technologies for the ‘internet-of-things.’

EIC noted that more than one third of the selected companies are led by female CEOs, tripling the number compared with previous funding rounds. The EIC said the increase reflected a pilot measure introduced which guaranteed at least a quarter of the companies invited to final interviews would have female CEOs. The 64 startups and SMEs are based in a wide range of countries, making this funding round the most geographically diverse the EIC added.

EIC offers ‘blended finance’ combining grant and equity. Equity investments are through a recently established EIC Fund, managing equity stakes on behalf of the European Commission. All selected companies also benefit from exclusive business acceleration service opportunities to support rapid growth and scale.

Read more - SMEs awarded funding to support Europe’s recovery plan

Stack of coins with seeds growing out of the top of each stack


Continental neighbours cooperate

The European Investment Bank and the African Export-Import Bank are directing €300 million of financing to support the resilience and recovery of African nations in response to the covid-19 pandemic. The finds will ensure businesses across the continent have the working capital to sustain jobs and maintain vital imports.  It also earmarks at least a quarter for climate change mitigation and adaptation, helping Africa maximise the opportunities of a green recovery. Green projects will include renewable power and energy efficiency.

Read more on the EIB website

COVID-19 virus illustration


Funding competitions


The UK-RAS Network has announced a new Medical Robotics Challenge for Contagious Diseases. This new international challenge is aimed at entries that could offer solutions as part of a multi-faceted response to the current and future global pandemics. Robotics have a key role to play and across the world, robots and drones are being repurposed and deployed as part of the COVID-19 response.

Submission of video entries 30th September 2020, the prize fund is £15 000.

Read more on UK-RAS Network

Innovative recovery

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and Innovate UK, are investing up to £8 million in innovation projects, aimed at supporting fast recovery and growth from Covid-19 through improved productivity and sustainability of the UK’s foundation industries. Proposal must help the UK’s foundation industries remain globally competitive and become more environmentally sustainable.

Read more on the Government website

Clean air

UK Research and Innovation has invited proposals for interdisciplinary research and innovation consortia under the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Clean Air Program. The aim of the SPF Clean Air Program funding is to equip the UK to proactively tackle new and emerging air quality challenges related to changing emissions and exposure patterns and health impacts on groups of people most at risk. Up to £10m is available to fund approximately three to four consortia. Projects should start on 1 September 2021 and run for four years.

Closing date for notification of intent is 3 September 2020. Closing date for outline proposals is 15 October 2020.

Read more on UKRI

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