17 May 2019

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

What’s been in the news?

UK will not reach 2.4% R&D target until 2053, say CBI

A new report by CBI and Nexus has found that the government will not reach its target of 2.4% GDP for science and innovation until 2053 – 26 years after its 2017 deadline – and that the UK continues to lag behind several European countries, including Germany, in R&D spending. The reports publication was launched alongside the opening of a new £40m Nexus innovation hub in Leeds, UK, dedicated to advanced data analytics for business R&D. CBI is therefore asking the government to:

  • Act on its commitment to delivering the 2.4% target
  • Make it easier for businesses to navigate innovation support
  • Introduce new support for businesses
  • Deliver the world’s most competitive R&D tax credit

‘Advanced data analytics are opening up a new frontier for UK R&D, to ensure we benefit we must have a comprehensive roadmap underpinned by a boost in public funding to spur growth in UK R&D investment,’ said CBI Director of Digital and Innovation, Felicity Burch. ‘If the UK is to reap the benefits of the data revolution the government’s roadmap must ensure that the R&D tax credit is modernised, that businesses are able to collaborate with universities on data and simplify access to innovation support through a ‘one-stop’ shop.’


UK commits to £4m International Research and Innovation Strategy

Science Minister Chris Skidmore has announced a new International Research and Innovation Strategy worth £4m at the EUREKA Global Innovation Summit in Manchester, UK. It commits to building worldwide partnerships in line with the UK government’s Industrial Strategy target of remaining a world leader in emerging technologies. The three competitions that have so far been announced are: GlobalStars with Singapore that focuses on medical technology; Smart Manufacturing Cluster; and Artificial Intelligence and Quantum, which is an international collaboration across nations including South Korea, Turkey, Canada and select European countries.

Skidmore said: ‘In future, our businesses won’t just be entering new markets – they’ll be making them. We are living through enormous technological, social and environmental change. Science and innovation have no borders, and this new Strategy reflects our aspirations to see the UK draw systemically on research and innovation collaboration to build its economic growth while tackling global challenges. We’ve already backed this ambition by committing £7bn over five years by 2022.’


Experts appointed to new AI Council

Leaders from across business, academia and data privacy organisations have been appointed to an independent expert committee to help the UK in becoming a world-leader in AI and to boost the productivity of its associated digital industries. The Council will address issues such as data and ethics, adoption, skills and diversity. The line-up was announced by Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright at the Vivatech Summit in Paris, France, and will follow the themes of the AI Sector Deal released by the UK government last year.

‘The use of AI is becoming integral to people’s everyday lives, from companies protecting their customers from fraud to smart devices in our homes,’ said Business Secretary Greg Clark. ‘The outstanding expertise of those joining our new AI Council will be invaluable as we look to develop this ever-changing industry into one that is world-leading, attracting the brightest and best to work in new highly-skilled jobs.’

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 31 May 2019

Deadline: 12 July 2019

  • 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: 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 for up to £1m for R&D projects under the EUREKA programme. 

Deadline: 3 July 2019

UK-based SMEs can apply for a share of £1.5m to develop innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital technology to evaluate their product in a real-world clinical setting.

Deadline: 10 July 2019

Up to £25m of collaborative match funding is available to support late-stage R&D in advanced low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.

Deadline: 15 July 2019

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

Deadline: 24 July 2019

A share of £25m is available to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

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