11 February 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

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

What’s been in the news?
 Biofuels Hype or Reality?

Scotland steps up funding around biodiversity and climate crisis.

Scotland has published its 2020-21 budget setting aside millions of pounds for ocean conservation, net-zero heat and agriculture.

The budget includes a £50m pot for local authorities who are looking to invest in heat networks. In addition, £65.5m will be made available for marine conservation and restoration. Money will also be invested into projects dedicated to championing animal and human rights in the seafood supply chain; conserving and restoring habitats and increasing marine renewables.

WWF Scotland’s head of policy Gina Hanrahan feels greater investment in energy efficiency is required if Scotland is to make truly transformative changes.

 Petrol & diesel car

Ban on diesel and petrol cars in UK to move forward

The COP26 climate conference will take place this coming winter in Glasgow, giving the opportunity to the UK and nations across the globe to discuss and set ambitious net-zero targets.

During COP26, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will formally announce that a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be introduced in 2035 - five years earlier than previously planned. The ban will accelerate the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars to reduce air pollution and address the climate crisis.

However, Friends of the Earth’s head of policy Mike Childs stated that the ban should start in 2030 – not 2035.

‘A new 2035 target will still leave the UK in the slow-lane of the electric car revolution and meantime allow more greenhouse gases to spew into the atmosphere.’

 Stethoscope and world map

A time for science and not rumours

At the end of January, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commended China for its response. ‘In many ways China is setting a new standard for outbreak response. It is not an exaggeration,’ Ghebreyesus said. On declaring a global health emergency Ghebreyesus said ‘Our main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries. Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill prepared to deal with it.’

Ghebreyesus stressed that the response to the outbreak had to be evidence based and encouraged countries to continue to work together to manage and stop the outbreak. ‘This is a time for science, not rumours’, Ghebreyesus said.

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 24 April 2020

Deadline: 28 February 2020

Deadline: 01 May 2020

Funding competitions

Deadline: 04 March 2020

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million to develop low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.

Deadline: 01 April 2020

Apply for a share of up to £1 million for early stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.

Deadline: 22 April 2020

Apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations.

Deadline: 01 July 2020

Applicants are invited to spend up to 36 months (full or part time) on secondment in the biomedical sciences sector.

Deadline: 13 May 2020

Apply for funding in innovation projects across 3 streams. 

Deadline: 26 February 2020

Apply for a share of up to £250,000 to test the solutions that can transform food production.

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