Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.
What’s been in the news?
The following article is a roundup of pre-COP26 news over the last week.
While the focus of activity at COP26 is climate change, sustainability is also a priority. As well as clean transport, catering for conference delegates will see sustainable food sourced locally, as well as drinks served in reusable cups.
Kevin Watson, Business Director, SEC Food said: ‘We have worked hard to create low carbon menus that are accessible to all. We hope our sustainable food strategy will shape menus of the future as we all work to protect our planet. As well as providing great tasting and nutritious food, our menus are focused on local and seasonal sourcing, with a plant-forward approach. We have been delighted to showcase and work with so many local Scottish suppliers and our teams are looking forward to supporting the event.’
Ahead of COP26, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Comission set out a number of objectives for the for the event. She said that COP26 is resting on three pillars: ambition, climate finance and international carbon markets. Talking about the first pillar, ambition, she said ‘So the big question is: Do we get significant commitments to cut the emissions to actually allow us to stay well below 2 degrees Celsius, and close to 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming? If we look at the latest UN Emissions Gap Report, that shows that currently the NDCs do not meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, and thus we are still on a very dangerous course of more than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming. This is worrisome and we have to get better there.’
The European Commission will be reinforcing the Paris Agreement over the course of COP26 and its commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Keep up to date with SCI’s activity around COP26 via our Climate Change Solutions hub.
Autumn Budget: ‘Biggest increase in the science budget in our history.’
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, used his Autumn Budget and Spending Review to reiterate the Government’s commitment to investing in science and innovation. Once again highlighting the move to make the UK a science superpower, the Spending Review includes a £5 billion increase in Government investment in research and development each year by 2024/25, to deliver economic growth across the UK. The target of investing £22 billion, 2.4% of total GDP, in research and innovation will be reached by 2026/27. This is later than originally anticipated.
The Chancellor’s announcement has been widely welcomed. Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said: ‘I welcome the substantial commitment to science and innovation in the Budget. Achieving £20 billion by 2024/25 is the biggest increase in the science budget in our history.’ Clark added ‘While it is regrettable that the Government’s £22 billion target will be achieved two years later than originally pledged, it is reassuring that the Chancellor has given a firm date for meeting it, and listened to representations that steady progress should be made towards the target, rather than deferring increases until later years.’
For more information on this topic, read our news article.
US takes decisive steps to tackle PFAS in the environment
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set out a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Roadmap’ for tackling per – and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
The Roadmap is based on three ‘guiding strategies’: Increased investment in research, immediate action to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerating the clean-up of PFAS contamination. The Roadmap also commits the EPA to quickly set enforceable drinking water limits for PFAS as well as giving stronger tools to communities to protect human health and the environment.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said; ‘For far too long, families across America – especially those in underserved communities – have suffered from PFAS in their water, their air or in the land their children play on. This comprehensive PFAS strategy will deliver protections…by advancing bold and concrete actions that address the full lifecycle of these chemicals.’ US President Biden has called for more than $10 billion in funding to address PFAS contamination through his Administration’s Build Back Better agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.
For more information on this topic, read our news article.
UK trade negotiations
Submissions are welcomed on UK trade negotiations with the EU including views on the objectives of the Department for International Trade for Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Deadline: 31 December 2021
Further information can be found here.
Further information on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe can be found here.
Further information on the SME and start-up fund can be found here.
Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 16
Registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion as a grant from the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) for capital and associated industrial research projects.
Deadline: 24 November 2021
Farming Innovation Programme - small R&D partnership projects
UK registered businesses can apply for up to £11 million for small R&D projects as part of the Faming Innovation Programme, DEFRA. Project eligible costs must be £1-3 million and last up to 36 months.
Deadline: 1 December 2021
EUREKA GlobalStars Taiwan digital industrial collaborations
UK businesses can apply for funding through Innovate UK for collaborative R&D projects focused on industrial research. Grants are available for a total of up to £300,000 for each project which must last between 3 and 24 months and start by 1 August 2022.
Deadline: 15 December 2021
NATEP helping SMEs innovate in aerospace - Autumn 2021
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million as part of the ATI Programme. Industry-led civil aerospace collaborative R&D projects must last between 12 and 18 months and end by 31 March 2024.
Deadline: 12 January 2021
Made Smarter Innovation: Sustainable Smart Factory
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20m as a grant for digital innovation projects. Projects must use digital innovations to deliver sustainable solutions and have eligible costs between £1-8 million.
Deadline: 26 January 2021
You can find further details of the funding calls on the Government website.