11 January 2022 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

EU and Covid-19

The European Commission has proceeded with authorising a new Covid-19 vaccine, Nuvaxovid, the fifth vaccine authorised in the EU.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: ‘At a time where the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading, and where we need to step up vaccination and the administration of boosters, I am particularly pleased with today's authorisation of the Novavax vaccine. This is the fifth safe and effective vaccine of our vaccine portfolio, offering welcome additional protection to the European citizen against the pandemic. May this authorisation offer a strong encouragement to everyone who has not yet been vaccinated or boosted, that now is the time to do so.’

In similar news, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has launched a new SME funding scheme which helps EU-based SMEs protect their IP. The funding scheme aims to support SMEs in their recovery from Covid-19 and the transition to greener technologies. A budget of just under €50 million will be used for the reimbursement of costs such as those associated with obtaining international trademark and design protection.

PoilSCI newsletter - 11 January 2022 - image of a syringe and covid-19 vaccine

Renewable hydrogen

The European Commission has approved a German scheme to support the production of renewable hydrogen – costing €900 million.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: ‘This €900 million German scheme will support projects leading to substantial reductions in greenhouse emissions, in line the EU's environmental and climate objectives set out in the Green Deal….’

The production of this green hydrogen, produced via electrolysis using renewable energy sources, will run for 10 years under the estimated budget.

PoilSCI newsletter - 11 January 2022 - image of Hydrogen storage

Clean Energy and Climate Solutions

Last week, the US’s Department of Energy (DoE) announced that it will be providing $35 million of funding to allow small businesses to pursue clean energy. The funding will support around 160 projects across 29 states. The funding is administered by the DoE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Projects include next-generation plastic recycling technology using synthetic biology, as well as low-cost and efficient hydrogen energy storage and carbon capture.

In similar news, Canada recently published a progress report around achieving its target methane emission reduction by 2025, confirming that the country is on track to achieve the goal. Consultations will begin in early 2022 on regulations that will aim to reduce oil and gas methane emissions by 75% by 2030. In addition, the Canadian Government is developing a model to cap and cut such emissions by implementing a Clean Fuel Standard through to 2030.

PoilSCI newsletter - 11 January 2022 - image of a lightbulb

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: Open for submissions


Critical national infrastructure and climate adaptation
The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) is seeking views on the resilience on the UK critical national infrastructure (CNI) to the effects of climate change.

Deadline: 28 January 2022


Trade and the environment
The international trade committee are seeking evidence around how well the free trade agenda and environmental policies are aligned.

Deadline: 28 February 2022


Hydrogen and carbon capture in Scotland
The Scottish Affairs committee is seeking views on the UK Hydrogen Strategy and what should be the focus of the UK Government to ensure the Scottish industry is a world leader in green hydrogen for domestic use and export.

Deadline: 1 March 2022

Further information can be found on the UK Parliament website.

Funding competitions

Horizon Europe
To find more on eligibility for Horizon Europe funding for your sector, you can view the national contact points on the Government website as well as search for the European Funding and Tenders. Further information on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe is available in the UK participation in Horizon Europe document.

Further information on the SME and start-up fund can be found on the European Commission website.


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


Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2021 to 2022, round 5
UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £8 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profits. Innovation projects must last between 12 and 36 months and tackle challenges faced by the business partner.

Deadline: 2 February 2021


Driving the Electric Revolution – Building Talent for the Future 2: EoI
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4.5 million for innovative skills, talent, and training projects for Power Electronics, Motors and Drives (PEMD). Projects must start by 1 October 2022 and las between 6 and 30 months.

Deadline: 2 February 2022


APC 20: Developing automotive technologies and growing capability towards net zero
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £25 million for projects that help accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future. Projects must last between 18 and 42 months and start by 1 September 2022.

Deadline: 2 March 2022


UK-Singapore Collaborative R&D
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million for developing innovative proposals with Singapore. Projects must start by September 2022 and last between 24 and 36 months.

Deadline: 20 April 2022

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

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