01 June 2021 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

US Department of Energy goals

The following is a roundup of news from the US Department of Energy.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced the launch of a G7 Industrial Decarbonisation Agenda (IDA). The announcement was made by US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, during the G7 Climate and Environment Ministerial, which met virtually on 20-21 May 2021.

The IDA is described as ‘An ambitious initiative to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry.’ Led jointly by the US and the UK G7 Presidency; it said that the IDA will ‘create a strong partnership among like-minded countries to reduce emissions in heavy industries such as steel, cement and chemicals.’

Using the Climate and Environment Ministers’, May 2021 Communiqué the G7 Ministers’ said: ‘To accelerate the pace of industrial decarbonisation, we commit to launch the G7 Industrial Decarbonisation Agenda to complement and support the activities of existing key initiatives and amplify ambition, while plugging critical gaps in the landscape wherever they exist.’

For more information on this topic, see our news article.

In similar news, the US Department of Energy (DoE) is providing up to $14.5 million for research and development into ways to cut waste, and reduce the energy used to recycle single-use plastics. The investment backs the Biden Administration’s steps to ensure the US reaches net-zero by 2050.

The funding will support a range of projects to develop economically viable solutions for converting plastic films to more valuable materials, as well as designing new plastics that are more recyclable and biodegradable.

The DoE said that the funding opportunity builds on its investments in a range of innovative projects including the DoE Bio-Optimised Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) Consortium. This consortium has developed an enzyme to ‘deconstruct’ polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging materials, as well as a plastic that can easily be recycled.

For more information on this topic, see our news article.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter - 1 June 2021 - image petrochemicals plant

Pre-COP26 update

The following is a roundup of news on climate change and COP26.

GSK, an SCI Corporate Partner, has become the ninth Principal Partner for COP26, joining others such as Reckitt, Hitachi and Sainsbury’s. These partnerships show a clear commitment from organisations to achieving net zero and will involve working to research climate change, nature loss on health and supporting the Race to Zero in life sciences.

COP President Alok Sharma said: “Businesses have a key role to play in helping us ensure COP26 is a success and I look forward to working with GSK as we continue our work ahead of the summit in November.”

Meanwhile, five innovative methods for the large-scale removal of greenhouse gas (GHG) l from the atmosphere are receiving £30 million in funding through the UK Government’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF). The research, which will be carried out at the University of Oxford, will inform the UK government on the technologies most effective in reducing CO2 emissions.

UKRI, through its industrial decarbonisation challenge, has also supported the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre IDRIC, run by Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer of Herriot-Watt University. The centre will work to identify opportunities to reduce costs, risks, timescales and emissions across energy-intensive industrial clusters across the UK.

In similar news, as part of the Green Industrial Revolution, £166.5 million has been allocated to boost green technology to achieve the UK’s climate targets. The funding will go to businesses, academics, innovators and heavy industry across the UK to accelerate technologies while creating over 60,000 jobs. Technologies include carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen.

Image credit: rafapress / Shutterstock.com

SCI PoliSCI newsletter - 1 June 2021 - image of COP26 flag

Vaccine and health technology access

A €1 billion investment from the EU budget and the European development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), is being used to launch the Team Europe initiative on enabling vaccines manufacture in Africa.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Team Europe will support Africa with over €1 billion and expertise to help develop its own pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech industries, and ease equitable access to quality and safe products and technologies. The Initiative will also help develop a number of regional manufacturing hubs across the continent, so that the whole of Africa can benefit.”

In similar news, the UK government has accelerated genomic sequencing in a programme to test sewage for traces of Covid-19 to improve understanding of where variant outbreaks are happening.

Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency Dr Jenny Harries said: ‘This innovative programme supports the work of Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to help us understand where the virus may be circulating undetected. Sequencing wastewater samples provides an additional detection system for variants of concern, enabling us to respond more effectively to outbreaks and better protect citizens.’

SCI PoliSCI newsletter - 1 June 2021 - image of medic with iPad and virtual icons

Calls for evidence 

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.


Funding competitions

Horizon Europe
The first funding calls under Horizon Europe launched through the European Research Council.

To find more on eligibility for Horizon Europe funding for your sector, you can view the national contact points here and European Funding and Tenders can be searched here.

Further information on the SME and start-up fund can be found here.


Funding calls as part of the Net Zero innovation Portfolio


UK space strategy and UK satellite infrastructure
The Government has established a new National Space Council as a Cabinet Committee and requires views on the UK’s global position as a space nation including aims of a new UK Space Strategy.

Deadline: 23 June 2021


SME Brexit Support Fund
Businesses established in the UK for at least 12 months can apply for up to £2,000 in total through two types of grants to help with training or professional advice. Apply online here.

Deadline: 30 June 2021


Driving the Electric Revolution: Supply Chains for Net Zero
Shares of up to £22 million are available for innovation projects focused on supply chain development for power electronics, electric machines and drives. Projects must last between 18 and 36 months and cost between £500,000 and £5 million.

Deadline: 30 June 2021


Innovate UK SMART grants May 2021
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million for viable R&D innovation projects. Grants are available for projects of 6 – 36 months.

Deadline: 25 August 2021


Biomedical catalyst 2021: early and late stage awards
UK registered organisations can apply for a grant of up to £18 million to develop innovative healthcare products, technologies, and processes. Projects must last between 12 and 36 months.

Deadline: 26 August 2021


ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: business-led R&D
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7 million for R&D projects, as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Grants available between £200,000 and £4 million and projects must last between 12 and 36 months.

Deadline: 8 September 2021

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

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