What’s been in the news?
Research institute to open for battery technology
Business Secretary Greg Clark announced the seven founding partner universities that will lead a new battery technology research institute. The Faraday Battery Institute, which will receive £65 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will bring together academic expertise and industry experience to exemplify research into battery technology, said Clark.
‘Through the Faraday Research Challenge we are cementing our position as the ‘go-to’ destination for battery technology so we can exploit the global transition to a low carbon economy,’ he said. ‘We have huge expertise in this area already and […] collaboration between our seven founding universities provides a truly unique opportunity for us to bring together our expertise and an effort in this area behind a common set of strategic goals.’
The founding universities are: Imperial College London, Newcastle University, University College London, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, and University of Warwick.
West Midlands at heart of Industrial Strategy, says Street
A devolved nation was a common theme at this year’s Conservative Party Conference with a starring role for Andy Street, newly-elected Mayor of the West Midlands, who said the region is ‘powering the UK’s success’. ‘It is indeed our time,’ he said. ‘If the Industrial Strategy is to work, it has to be a roaring success in our regions, and in particular in the West Midlands, because once again Birmingham, Coventry, and the Black Country are becoming the engines of the UK’s success’.
Street highlighted the region’s progress in driverless and electric cars, medicine, and transport – all considered priority research areas by the government. The West Midlands mayor gave a conference speech and appeared in a panel with the new Conservative Mayors – ‘Delivering a modern industrial strategy’ – alongside Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and Environment Secretary, Michael Gove.
May looks to build the ‘British dream’ at party conference
‘The British dream is still within reach,’ said Theresa May at her first party conference since this summer’s general election, held this year in Manchester. In an uncharacteristically personal speech, May focused on Brexit, following on from her Florence speech and the fourth round of negotiations with the EU, and made some key policy announcements, including the publication of a draft bill in mid-October to cap energy bills – ‘bringing an end to rip-off energy prices once and for all’.
The Prime Minister addressed sceptics of the free market – a model the UK may adopt post-Brexit – championing its ability to ‘work for everyone in every part of this country, not just the privileged few’. May claimed that the government is ‘preparing for every eventuality’ in talks with the EU. ‘I am going to make it my mission to solve this problem. I will take personal charge of the government’s response, and make the British Dream a reality […] once again,’ she said.
Upcoming events and networking opportunities
- Assessing the future of climate change policy in the UK– Tuesday 10 October 2017, London
- The future for international research partnerships: responding to Brexit, the Newton Fund and new relationships – Tuesday 17 October 2017, London
- Next steps for developing the 2021 Research Excellence Framework– Tuesday 14 November 2017, London
- Next steps for low carbon road transport: innovation, EVs and transition strategies– Tuesday 28 November 2017, London
- Expanding the UK's Green Economy: investor confidence, low-carbon infrastructure and the Clean Growth Plan– Tuesday 5 December 2017, London
Calls for evidence
- Genomics and genome editing in the NHS: Science and Technology Committee
Deadline: 13 October 2017
In response to the annual report from the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, that highlighted the need for mainstreaming genomic medicine in the NHS in the next five years, the Science and Technology Committee is inviting evidence on her recommendations. The Committee is continuing from the interim report produced by previous members before the General Election.
- Brexit – medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin: Health Committee
Deadline: 26 October 2017
Written submissions are now being accepted by the Health Committee, in response to an inquiry on regulatory arrangements on medicines, medical devices, medical products, and substances of human origin after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Evidence for new opportunities and risks are encouraged to ensure a smooth transition between changes in regulation.
- Brexit – energy security: EU energy and Environment Sub-Committee
The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has announced a short inquiry to evaluate the impact of Brexit on the energy industry in the UK, and what issues should be prioritised by the UK government when pursuing a new energy relationship with the EU.
Competition closes: Wednesday 1 November 2017 12:00pm
Innovate UK is set to invest up to £15 million in the medicines manufacturing sector through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Projects need to improve the productivity, competitiveness and growth of at least one small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) in the UK involved in the project. The competition is split into two parts – feasibility projects and industrial research and development projects.
Competition closes: Wednesday 1 November 2017 12.00pm
£30 million is to be invested to create three new advanced therapies treatment centres in the UK. Successful centres will ultimately form a network for research and innovation, and will be coordinated through the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. Proposals should be on a national level to increase patient access to advanced therapies, and should establish best practice for manufacturing and sale of these products.
Competition closes: Wednesday 15 November 2017 12:00pm
The Department for Transport, along with Innovate UK, is offering up to £7.9 million to support growth in research and development in national and international rail markets. Projects should address the areas of minimal disruption to train services and/or intelligent trains and should last between six months to two years. Proposals must include at least two organisations, one of them an SME.
Competition closes: Wednesday 13 December 2017 12:00pm
As part of the government’s aim for zero emissions from all vehicles of UK roads, Innovate UK and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles are offering up to £18 million to fund projects that will enable industry-led research into zero-emission vehicle technology, particularly for medium and heavy goods vehicles.
Competition closes: Wednesday 6 December 2017 12:00pm
To tackle challenges in health and life sciences, Innovate UK is investing £15 million into improving quality of products and sustainability. Projects must involve innovation in the following priority areas: increasing agricultural productivity, improving food quality and sustainability, cell and gene therapies, precision medicine, medicines discovery, preclinical technologies or advanced biosciences.