PoliSCI (w/e 23 August 2019)

23 August 2019

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

What’s been in the news?


DEFRA addresses the food system

During a public consultation, hosted by the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), consumers, farmers, food producers, scientists and academics have come together to address how the UK should adapt their food system in order to cope with climate change and the increasing population growth.  A draft policy framework due to be published in 2020, will include proposals made during the most recent major review of the national food system. These topics will include food waste, food education, nutrition and land use.

According to the Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, ‘as well as keeping us alive and healthy, food plays a central role in our culture and our national life.’

‘The threats from climate change, loss of biodiversity and the need to deliver safe and affordable food gives rise to new challenges we must address.’

Villiers comments highlight the importance to make informed decisions about the food we consume and given that the global population is estimated to reach above 10 million people by 2050, it is essential for businesses and the government to find solutions for food production to become more environmentally sustainable. As well as this, it is becoming essential that policies are placed to support the emerging agritech space, as agritech have the potential to improve efficiency and play an important role in minimising environmental impact.


New programme has been launched by the UK to support Brazilian trade

The UK has launched a £20 million programme to support Brazilian trade businesses, which will help improve trade with the UK. This trade facilitation programme will support businesses of all sizes across Brazil, bringing them to international markets.

With Britain’s departure from the EU, working with a range of Brazilian businesses will help bring opportunities for both UK businesses and households as this programme is another source of income, creating jobs and building trading connections in the region.

This trade programme is part of the UK government’s Prosperity Fund, and in the next four years, approximately £80 million will be invested in Brazil. The fund is to support economic growth, as well as reducing poverty in partner countries.

As Trade Policy Minister, Conor Burns said, ‘our aim is simply to promote British business overseas and strengthen our trading ties in the region. With our existing trading and economic relationship Brazil was the obvious place to start the visit.’

 Artificial Intelligence

Government is encouraged to support the international AI climate centre

Energy leaders are pressuring the government to back the development of an International Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy and Climate, which has immense potential to change and create value for industries who are working with automation and digitalisation. With the developments achieved in AI over the last decade, AI will be a useful tool to improve the efficiency of energy systems and address the challenges of climate change. This centre would support and guide the government on AI-friendly policy frameworks, data access, and guide businesses on the next steps needed to become fluent in a digital environment, providing innovation funding to accelerate deployment and help start-ups navigate this space.

The creation of an International Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy and Climate is an opportunity to support smaller manufacturers and SME’s who might face challenges in this space. This centre would not only advise the government on AI-friendly policy frameworks, but also help develop the nascent ecosystem of these type of companies, equipping them with the opportunity to reskill and accelerate through potential innovation funding.

Find out more here.

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 16 September 2019



Deadline: 25 September 2019


Deadline: 7 October 2019


  • Electronic waste and the Circular Economy inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • Net zero government inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • The new farming programme inquiry

Deadline: Open

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

Funding competitions

Deadline: 25 September 2019
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £19 million for a chance to work on projects involved in developing supply chains for power electronics, machines and drives in the UK.



Deadline:  09 October 2019
Up to £3 million is available for organisations to apply for in order to help with developing technology to deliver improvements in the efficiency of local energy systems



Deadline: 9 October 2019
‘Seed corn’ funding of up to £50,000 is available to consortia of UK businesses and research organisations for wave 2 of the UKRI Strength in Places Fund.



Deadline: 9 October 2019
Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.



Deadline: 30 October 2019
UK businesses can apply for up to a share of £6 million to work on quantum technology innovation projects.

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