12 April 2019

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

What’s been in the news?


New £16m programme to boost automotive supply chains

At a meeting with the Honda Swindon Taskforce this week, Business Secretary Greg Clark launched a £16m programme to support SMEs across the automotive supply chain, starting with those in the Honda supply chain. Funding will be focused on advising suppliers on how best to evolve their products to meet their customer’s needs, training to specialist staff and helping them to access business loans.

‘In support of the Honda and UK wide automotive supply chain I’ve launched a new £16m programme designed to specifically support SME businesses in the automotive supply chain,’ said Clark. ‘We design and manufacture world beating components and technology solutions and this new program will ensure our supply chain sector remains at the top of their game, both here in the UK and internationally, by keeping up with the latest technological developments, backed by dedicated support and advice to make the most of our supply chain expertise and specialisms.’


China set to close US innovation gap, says report

A US report has found that China has either overtaken or are closely following the US in 36 key innovation metrics, concluding that China has made ‘dramatic progress’ in innovation relative to the US over the past decade. The authors, Robert D Atkinson and Caleb Foote, from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation based in Washington, US, expect that China is following in the footsteps of South Korea and Japan who have seen substantial success in innovation over the past few years.

‘For those in the “China cannot innovate, they can only copy” camp, Europe, Japan, and the US should stop worrying about issues such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and massive subsidies to Chinese technology companies because China is not an innovation challenger,’ the report reads. ‘For those in the “China is rapidly following the path nations such as Japan and South Korea took to become global innovation leaders” camp, advanced economies need to raise their game, including stepping up efforts to roll back Chinese innovation mercantilism.’


Liverpool University wins £4.4m contract to aid research careers

Research England has announced that the University of Liverpool has been awarded a £4.4m contract from its RED Fund to boost the success of postdoctoral researchers outside of academia. There is growing concern with the limited number of academic positions available and a growing number of postdocs annually, and this project – ‘Prosper: Enhancing first-time postdoctoral career development and success’ – will help researchers to develop skills outside of research and academia.

At the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy is enabling everyone to get the chance to improve their skills throughout their lives, increasing their earning power and opportunities for better jobs,’ said Science Minister Chris Skidmore. ‘The skills needed for this are not academic alone. An ability to communicate, influence and work collaboratively, is also highly prized. These so-called soft skills are a key requisite of success in today’s world.’

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 8 May 2019

Deadline: 12 May 2019

Deadline: 13 May 2019

Deadline: 31 May 2019

  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Draft National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • Science & Technology Committee: Technologies for meeting Clean Growth emissions reduction targets inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

For Parliamentary Calls for Evidence please see the Parliament Committee page.

 Funding competitions

Deadline: 24 April 2019

Organisations can apply for a share of £20m to help deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

Deadline: 2 May 2019

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £5m to develop innovative technologies targeting global markets with Canadian partners.

Deadline: 8 May 2019

A share of £2m is available from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop reliable extreme environment grade electronics, sensors, and photonics for robotics and AI systems.

Deadline: 29 May 2019

Up to £3m is available from the Global Challenges Research Fund for UK businesses and research organisations working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with eligible African partners.

Deadline: 5 June 2019

The UK and South Korea have announced a joint funding competition of up to £1m for R&D projects under the EUREKA programme.  

Deadline: 15 July 2019

A £2m pool of funding is available to UK businesses developing photonic technologies in partnership with organisations from EUREKA countries.

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