30 September 2021 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

Food Systems Summit stresses the urgency for change

The inaugural United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) took place on 23 September. The virtual event, held at the same time as the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, US, brought together 150 countries making commitments to transform their food systems.

Ahead of the meeting, Joachim von Braun Chair of the Science Group of the UNFSS said ‘The UN Food Systems Summit as a whole must become a game changer. The equivalent of the 1.5 degree global warming goal, our goal is zero hunger by 2030, including healthy diets within a sustainable food system. Science, technology and innovation can, and must, play a pivotal role in the necessary transformation of food systems.’

Speaking at the Summit Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) said that while the challenge of  transforming food systems was ‘daunting’ there were  ‘some levers that can help us shift gears towards a sustainable food system that works for everyone.’

For more information on this topic, see here.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter - 30 September 2021 - image of fruit / apples on a market stall

Progress on UK as AI superpower

The UK launched its first National Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy. It aims to establish the UK’s position  as a global superpower and  harness  technological innovations within the UK to meet  global challenges.

Chief Executive Officer of Benevolent AI  and Co-Chair of Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Joanna Shields said: ‘AI, successfully and ethically deployed, could become a foundational technology for the future growth of our economy and protecting our security and society.’

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: ‘UKRI fully embraces the opportunity of AI, as recognised in the government’s AI strategy. We are working with our partners in academia, business and government to establish a national AI research and innovation programme that creates an environment in which world-leading researchers and innovators will thrive.’

In similar news, a report has been published by the Government which sets out a plan to coordinate the UK’s large-scale computing ecosystem. Such world-class computing ability will drive research and product development, and serve as an important tool for solving industrial scientific problems.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance said: ‘This report sets out the building blocks required to create a world-class computing ecosystem so the UK can realise the true potential of large-scale computing and harness this technology to strengthen its position as a science superpower.’

SCI PoliSCI newsletter - 30 September 2021 - graphic of circuits shaped like a head/face/profile

Greener energy

Announced last week, a Government investment of £220 million will  help energy-intensive industries reduce carbon emissions by supporting innovations such as carbon capture and heat recovery technology.

Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘Industry has a crucial role to play in helping us reduce carbon emissions to achieve our ambitious climate change commitments. The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund supports investment in new green technology, driving forward the green industrial revolution by making industries sustainable for the future.’

In similar news, the COP26 Futures We Want project, unveiled last week, conducted a series of workshops to bridge the gap between scientific evidence and citizen insight. This science and innovation programme explored diverse perspectives of climate change such as electricity generation, agriculture and ocean conservation. These visions will be showcased in November during COP26.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter - 30 September 2021 - image/graphic of hand holding lightbulb graphic

Calls for evidence 

Digital Regulation
The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee is to hold an inquiry into the work of digital regulators. The committee will investigate the effectiveness of digital regulation and is seeking response to a series of questions in this area.

Deadline: 22 October 2021


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
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 UK’s association to Horizon Europe can be found here.

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


Women in Innovation Awards 2021/22
Women with innovative ideas and who will inspire others can apply for a £50,000 grant and bespoke business support. Projects must start on 1 April 2022 and last for one year.

Deadline: 13 October 2021


Growing Kent and Medway: Collaborative Research and Development
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million for innovation in the horticultural food supply chain. Projects must be undertaken in Kent and Medway area and last between 12 and 30 months.

Deadline: 20 October 2021


Future flight challenge phase 3: strand 2
UK businesses can apply for up to £65 million to develop integrated aviation systems and new vehicle technologies. Eligible projects must cost between £500,000 and £4 million.

Deadline: 3 November 2021


Healthy Ageing Challenge – Designed for Ageing
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £14.4 million for service-led innovations to support healthy ageing. Project costs must be between £500,000 and £2 million and must last between 6 and 24 months.

Deadline: 17 November 2021


Biomedical Catalyst 2021 Round 2: Feasibility & Primer Awards
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £12 million to develop innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes. Grants are available for project costs between £50,000 and £1 million and must last between 3 and 24 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

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

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