28 June 2019

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

What’s been in the news?


Net zero target passed into UK law

The UK has become the first major economy to pass targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero into law. Having already reduced its contributions by 42% from 1990 levels, the new target will require the UK to hit zero emissions by 2050, which was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change’s May report. It follows Sweden and Norway who have put their pledges of carbon neutrality into law, with France and New Zealand close behind having produced draft laws.

‘The UK kick-started the Industrial Revolution [and now] today we’re leading the world yet again in becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 while remaining committed to growing the economy – putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy,’ said Science Minister Chris Skidmore. ‘We’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.’

Global network

EU overtakes US in innovation ranking, finds report

The European Commission’s annual Innovation Scoreboard has shown that the EU has surpassed the US in innovation performance, but it remains behind strong innovation economies Japan and South Korea. The UK has lost its innovation leader status in the 2019 ranking despite a 17% increase in performance since 2011, while the report shows that China is improving at three times the pace of the EU.

Sweden leads the EU, followed closely by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. The scoreboard found that the performances of Lithuania, Greece, Latvia, Malta, the UK, Estonia and the Netherlands increased by over 15%. While the scoreboard ranks countries using 27 innovation indicators, it has been criticised by experts, particularly as ranking of a country increases as it contributes more resources to innovation even if there is no output from this investment.


Finland to use EU presidency to consider ‘super-university’ model

During its presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland plans to explore the potential of a ‘networked European super-university model’ as part of the EU’s European Universities initiative to increase collaboration between higher education institutions across its member states, a source told Research Europe. The plan was referenced in the Finnish presidency programme published in June.

The newly elected Finnish Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, said Europe mist ‘increase the exchange of students and other forms of cooperation between educational institutions’ and that the model could increase researcher exchange. Finland’s programme is titled ‘Sustainable Europe–Sustainable Future’ and covers areas from industrial policy and cybersecurity to migration management.

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 4 July 2019

Deadline: 12 July 2019

Deadline: 6 August 2019

Funding competitions

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

Companies can apply for a share of this £240,000 Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to develop innovative AI solutions for radiological diagnosis.

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.

Deadline: 7 August 2019

UK organisations can apply for a share of £30m to develop clean, cheap local energy systems for communities across the country.

Deadline: 21 August 2019

Up to £1.7m is available for UK businesses who partner with US organisations to develop innovative technologies for global composites.

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