24 August 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

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

What’s been in the news?

Building a greener future

The UK government has recently released its plan to use legally binding targets to tackle key environmental and climate challenges.

At least one long-term target in four priority areas will be introduced to drive a green recovery. The four priority areas include; improving air quality across the country, increasing resource productivity, reducing the volume of waste and plastic pollution, restoring biodiversity and improving water quality.

Defra will use an evidence-led process in collaboration with experts and stakeholders. This will ensure that ambitious targets are being set and are building on from the progress achieved in the 25 Year Environment Plan. Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

‘The targets we set under our landmark Environment Bill will be the driving force behind our bold action to protect and enhance our natural world - guaranteeing real and lasting progress on some of the biggest environmental issues facing us today.’

‘I hope these targets will provide some much-needed certainty to businesses and society, as we work together to build back better and greener.’

hand holding light bulb against nature

National Institute for Health Protection

The National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) has been set up to boost the UK’s ability to deal with COVID-19 challenges and health concerns of the upcoming winter.

The institute brings together Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace, and the analytical capability of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) under a single leadership team. The combined expertise from across the areas will help to build resilience and preparedness against the pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

‘To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all – and of spotting and being ready to respond to other health threats, now and in the future – we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience.’


UK government responds to CCUS consultation

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published its response to a public consultation on carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) business models.

The consultation began during July 2019 and was concluded during September 2019. There were 72 responses, around a quarter came from large business, and a quarter from SMEs. The remainder of the responses came from special interest groups, trade associations, academics, private individuals and other interested parties. The Government consultation also included more than 15 events, with a combined attendance of 350 people.

Read more here.

Power plants


Calls for evidence 


The European Chemical Agency has launched a public consultation on the restriction of micro-plastics intentionally added to products.

Deadline: 01 September 2020


Net-zero agriculture

A survey has been launched by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to understand how engineering and physical science research can support the attainment of net-zero agriculture for the UK.

Deadline: 4 September 2020


Funding competitions


Sustainable Innovation Fund

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £26 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of The Sustainable Innovation Fund.

Deadline: 02 September 2020


Industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation

Organisations can apply to the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund for a share of up to £30 million for grants to carry out feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation.

Deadline 28 October 2020


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.

Deadline for notification of intent: 3 September 2020

Deadline for outline proposals: 5 October 2020



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: 30 September 2020


Biomedical Catalyst 2020: round 1

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £30 million to develop innovative healthcare products or processes.  

Deadline: 07 October 2020


Manufacturing made smarter

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies help UK manufacturing supply chains. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Deadline:7 October 2020

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