28 October 2019

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

What’s been in the news?




Government supports next generation of scientists

On the 24th October, the government announced new plans to back the next generation of scientists. In collaboration with industry, they will be investing £327m to deliver 2,700 new PhD places in biosciences and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes this investment will be key to retaining the best talent and strengthening the UK’s ongoing success in technology breakthroughs.

These PhDs will help research and development thrive in the UK and allow young scientists to find solutions to society’s largest challenges, including climate change, diseases and the ageing population.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore emphasised the importance AI has in boosting productivity, enhancing the economy of industries and opening Britain up to new business opportunities.



English fishing industry receives boost

To ensure this industry will thrive post-Brexit, English fishermen and those in the sector will be able to apply for a share of the new Maritime Fisheries Fund (MFF).

This fund builds on the government’s commitment to establish the UK as an independent coastal state. This will be supported by development in innovation; technologies will strengthen the industry’s economy, increase energy efficiency, and improve safety and environmental impact.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, said, ‘We are committed to a thriving fishing and seafood industry, and this funding will support innovation, jobs, safety at sea and help establish new markets and opportunities as we leave the EU.’


Smart waste

Smart waste tracking

The government has announced funding to tackle waste crime and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.

Each year, illegal waste activity drains the UK economy of around £600 million every year. Reports have proven the lack of digital record-keeping has allowed illegal waste activities to occur unnoticed.

Government funding for innovative solutions has led to new prototypes for the UK’s first comprehensive digital waste tracking system.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said ‘Waste crime causes economic, environmental and social harm in every community it blights. That’s why our transformative Environmental Bill will be a driving force for change – improving the way we manage our waste by creating powers to introduce an electronic waste tracking system.’

Technology, including block chain, the use of electronic chips and sensors, has been put forward as possible solutions for tracking waste. In addition to this, plans to use data from apps and sensors on waste containers will be potential solutions.

Calls for evidence

  • Plastic food and drink packaging inquiry

Deadline: Open

  • Commercial genomics inquiry

Deadline: Open

  • Electronic waste and the Circular Economy inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • Net zero government inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • Financing energy infrastructure 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: 27 November 2019

Up to £30 million is available to build regional centres which will by industry and researchers to drive the development of power electronics, machines and drives technologies.

Deadline: : 4 December 2019

Apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to develop innovative aerospace technologies

Deadline: 11 December 2019

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million for 5G collaborative R&D projects.

Deadline: 22 January 2020

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is funding an opportunity to apply for a share of up to £5.4 million. This involves taking part in the application of whole genome sequencing to analyse cancers.

Deadline: 8 January 2020

Apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver commercially viable innovative idea that can will have a significantly large economic impact.

Deadline: 20 November 2019

Up to £3.5 million is available from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to enable data in accountancy, insurance and law.

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