11 November 2019

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

What’s been in the news?

Wind turbine 



UK businesses can work with US partners on wind farm innovation

Applications are now available for UK businesses to work with US partners on a $40 million US offshore wind development programme.

Developments in technology have allowed the UK to supply large amounts of energy through offshore wind farm and contribute to carbon emission reductions in the UK. If the UK is to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050, the UK will need to see energy production from wind increase to 75GW. To meet this goal, further innovation is needed to improve the performance of offshore wind farms in order to supply such large amounts of energy.

The competition aims to reduce technical barriers and costs. The US programme will focus on an array of project areas including digitalisation through advanced analytics to boost performance and reduce costs, power system design and innovation, development of a meteorological and oceanographic reference site and technology solutions to increase US supply chain.

 farming land

More than 2,500 European scientists urge for the current intensive agriculture model to be reformed.

More than 2,500 European scientists have come together to ask the EU to reform the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

Their letter, delivered to the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and the Committee of Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), highlights the damaging effects that the intensive agriculture model has on biodiversity. The letter suggests that with continuation of the current intensive agriculture model, the impact on biodiversity will soon become ‘irreversible.’

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy currently delivers approx £51.7 billion every year to intensive and factory farming. Scientists urge that this subsidy could be used for the recovery of biodiversity, asserting that the EU must become more responsive to current environmental damages and challenges.

Many stakeholders from the agri-food industry and farmers’ associations praise digital farming practices as a strategy to overcome this challenge. Using new technologies such as remote sensors, satellites and drones, they might be able to achieve ‘producing more with less input.’

Léna Brisset, policy officer on agriculture and the CAP at IFOAM EU, believes that technological developments do have the potential to reduce the ecological footprint, however she also states that technology is ‘not a magic bullet to solve the problems of the EU’s food and farming sector.’

Léna Brisset feels an integrated approach is needed in order to fully assess the social and economic benefits and risks that come with using such technologies.  


Focus on net positive outcomes for nature

A leading group of conservationists at the University of Kent are urging government to focus on net positive outcomes for nature. This new approach provides a framework structured around efforts to reduce the impact of development and ensure greater benefits to the natural environment. Some of these measures include increasing the number of designated protected areas, and retaining and restoring habitats.

With continued infrastructure development and resource extraction to support economic and societal growth, net positive outcomes have an important role to play in advancing sustainable development. Biodiversity impacts are an inevitable consequence of economic development; therefore, this approach offers the opportunity for government and industry to work hand in hand to achieve positive biodiversity outcomes.

Read more here.

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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