05 January 2021 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

Climate Ambition Summit marks significant milestone for 75 leaders

In December, the Climate Ambition Summit took place, co-convened by the United Nations, the UK and France, in partnership with Italy and Chile. Marking the 5th anniversary of the Paris agreement, the summit is a significant milestone on the road to the crucial UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, planned for November 2021.

Despite the shared challenges associated with COVID-19, the summit revealed that climate change is at the top of the global agenda and the supporting science is mutually understood. The announcements surrounding the Summit mean that countries representing around 65% of the global CO2 emissions, and around 70% of the world’s economy, will have committed to reaching net zero emissions by early next year. Following these announcements, the commitments must now be backed up with plans and actions in readiness for the targets laid out within the Paris agreement.

In addition, the UK, among others, announced they were stepping up their adaptation efforts. A major new global campaign – the Race to Resilience – was launched in December which aims to safeguard 4 billion vulnerable people to climate risks by 2030. As part of this global movement, the UK and Spain are part of the first International Airlines Group, committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The UK, France and Sweden set out plans to end international financial support for fossil fuels.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 04 January 2021 - graphic of globe with 2050 showing

UK and India collaborate to prevent future pandemics

In December, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met with Prime Minster Narendra Modi to welcome the UK and India’s collaboration on tackling coronavirus. A new virtual UK-India vaccines hub has been announced as part of this joint effort which will also work to deliver vaccines for other deadly viruses. The vaccines hub will share best practices for regulation, clinical trials, and foster innovation.

India’s Serum institute will be making over a billion doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine; the room temperature storage of this vaccine allows it to be transported globally. Millions of the doses made here will be distributed to the world’s poorest people via the global COVAX initiative, in partnership with WHO and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. The initiative is backed by £548 million from the UK.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:
‘This Serum Institute and Oxford University partnership demonstrates the UK-India relationship at its best: a vaccine developed in the UK and made in India, drawing our brightest minds together to save lives as a global force for good. A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on coronavirus vaccines at record-breaking pace and the UK-India Vaccine Hub will now build on these innovations, to bring this crisis to an end and protect us all against future pandemics.’

In similar news, the European Commission have concluded exploratory talks with Novavax to secure a new potential vaccine, among signed contracts with other stakeholders. This broad portfolio will ensure Europe is well prepared for vaccination.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: ‘All Member States must now ensure that they are ready to start deploying some of them as from early 2021 once proven to be safe and effective. Vaccination will determine how we will live and work in 2021.’

Image credit: Free to use images from: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1gS1HB7gm5K8nH2u_tDcN6x_Mkp44A-3v

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 04 January 2021 - image of round table with Dominic Raab

EU boosts sustainable agriculture

€182.9 million of funding has been allocated to the promotion of EU agri-food products in and outside the EU in 2021. This promotion policy work programme focuses on products and farming methods that are more supportive of the European Green Deal objectives, raising awarenss of more sustainable agriculture routes and recognition of organically sourced fruit and vegetables.

This EU policy is designed to increase the sector’s competitiveness by taking advantage of expanding global agri-food markets and raising awareness of the high standards used in EU agriculture.

Around half of the funding will go towards campaigns that are more directly in line with the European Green Deal ambitions. This includes the Farm to Fork strategy which involves informing EU and global consumers about organic farming and the role of the agri-food sector in terms of climate action and the environment. Other campaigns will highlight the high level of safety and quality as well as the diversity and traditional aspects of EU agri-food products.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 04 January 2021 - image of a seedling


Calls for evidence 

Reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilisers
The government is seeking views on its plans to reduce ammonia emissions in England by regulating the use or sale of solid urea fertilisers.

Deadline: 26 January 2021

You can find further details of this inquiry on the DEFRA website


Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition
The government is seeking views on its latest plans for the agricultural transition around the design of the Environmental Land Management National Pilot.

Deadline: 29 January 2021

You can find further details of inquiries here.


Funding competitions

ISCF Future Plastic Packaging Solutions
UK registered businesses of any size can apply for a share of up to £2 million for early-stage projects in SSPP. Projects can last up to 18 months but must end by November 2022.

Deadline: 20 January 2021


Commercialising Quantum Technologies: feasibility studies round 2
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7 million for feasibility studies or market research projects. Projects must last from 12 to 18 months and must end by 31 July 2023.

Deadline: 10 March 2021


ISCF TFI: large collaborative R&D projects
UK registered business or RTOs can apply for a grant share of up to £8 million for R&D projects to improve the UK foundation industries. Projects must last between 12 and 24 months.

Deadline: 10 March 2021


ATI Programme strategic batch: expression of interest January 2021
The ATI programme (representing £3.9 billion) is funding industrial research and investment aid for research infrastructures to make the UK civil aerospace sector more competitive.

Deadline: 20 January 2021


ATF: moving the UK automotive sector to zero emissions
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £7 million for technical feasibility studies to support the UK’s electrified automotive supply chain. Total project’s cost can be up to £1 million and must start on 1 April 2021.

Deadline: 27 January 2021


Eureka Eurostars 2: round 15
UK SMEs can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to collaborate with partners across Europe and associated countries. Grants are available to UK registered research-performing SMEs.

Deadline: 4 February 2021

You can find further details of the funding calls on the Government website

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