13 January 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

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

What’s been in the news?

Hydrogen fuel capacity shows strong growth

The early signs of a ‘hydrogen revolution’ is anticipated across the globe, with car firms including Toyota and Hyundai accounting for a large majority of more than 1 GW new capacity.

In the wake of the climate crisis, politicians, members of the public and UK corporates have been learning more about the benefits and limitations of hydrogen technology, in order to develop innovative ways of using low-carbon hydrogen.

Although Asia remains the largest market for fuel cells, the UK is set to establish a low-carbon economy with hydrogen acting as a key building block.

 tractor in the field

Defra’s vision for the future

Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) outlined the department’s vision to put farming at the heart of tackling the climate crisis at the Oxford Farming Conference.

Defra hopes to give farmers and land managers more autonomy in deciding how their business can thrive.

Defra will also invest into sustainable productivity to support farmers in feeding a rapidly growing global population. This investment will be in equipment, infrastructure and energy-efficient machinery. As well as this, the department hopes to use a farmer-led approach to their research, using their expertise to increase sustainable productivity.

 plastic package

Plastic packaging

A new report from the Green Alliance revealed that companies which have moved away from single use plastics to alternative materials may not have considered the carbon impact associated with this switchover.

The report is made-up of interviews with five major UK supermarkets and five consumer goods and beverage companies. Interviewees revealed that consumer pressure was a huge driver of change, but this pressure prevented supermarkets from properly assessing material impacts.

One supermarket representative said: 'We are aware that by switching from plastic to other materials we may, in some cases, be increasing our carbon footprint.'

This report highlighted the need to provide a ‘joined-up approach’ to ensure an agreement is made over the materials which could be used and treated.

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 24 April 2020

Deadline: 28 February 2020

Deadline: 24 January 2020

Funding competitions

Deadline: 6 February 2020

This competition is aimed at UK SMEs who can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to work on R&D projects with partners across Europe.  

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: 05 February 2020

Apply for a share of up to £5 million for fast start projects to work on energy efficiency opportunities.  

Deadline: 19 February 2020

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £12 million for solutions in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.  

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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