06 September 2018

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence. 7 September 2018 
Compiled by Georgina Hines

Open access 

European science funders back open access research

Eleven of Europe’s largest research funders have announced that they will only fund research grants if the results are published in open-access, non-paywalled journals. Beginning in 2020, the funders, responsible for spending €7.6bn on research grants, will no longer support paywalled or hybrid journals – the latter have a 6- 12-month delay before research becomes open access. EU Research Ministers have previously promised to make all new papers open access by 2020.

‘We think this could create a tipping point,’ said Marc Schiltz, President of Science Europe, who spearheaded the plan. ‘Really the idea was to make a big, decisive step – not to come up with another statement or an expression of intent.’

However, the announcement has frustrated publishers, with an AAAS representative saying, ‘Implementing such a plan, in our view, would disrupt scholarly communications, be a disservice to researchers, and impinge academic freedom.’


West Midlands becomes first large-scale 5G testbed

The West Midlands has been announced as the winning region of a £50m project to trial high-speed connectivity as part of a large-scale 5G testbed. The multi-city plan will involve Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton. Initial plans include improving services in the healthcare, construction, and automotive sectors, including hosting remote hospital outpatient appointments and the live stream of CCTV from public transport buses to combat anti-social behaviour.

‘5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring,’ said Digital Minister Margot James. ‘The West Midlands testbed, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, will be instrumental in helping us realise this ambition.’ 


Scottish quantum tech to receive £80m

Four development centres across Scotland are set to benefit from an £80m investment from the government over five years to develop quantum technology that will help emergency services. The announcement – made by Chancellor Philip Hammond last week – hopes to attract more jobs and investment to the area by creating ‘cutting-edge’ X-ray imaging that could be used in search-and-rescue missions and hostage situations.

Hammond said: ‘The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies, but others are investing hard to catch up with us. The £80 million in new funding […] will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting technological revolution. Technological leadership boosts our economy and our productivity, meaning higher growth and higher wages.’

Calls for evidence

  • BEIS: Balance and effectiveness of research and innovation spending inquiry

Deadline: 28 September 2018

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

Funding competitions

Deadline: 19 September 2018

Innovate UK is investing £12.5m from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund into innovative projects that will provide solutions in construction, helping to transform the sector.

Deadline: 26 September 2018

Up to £6m of grant funding is available to UK businesses working on early-stage innovations in precision medicine.  

Deadline: 3 October 2018

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is investing £20m in collaborative match funding for late stage R&D projects in low carbon propulsion technologies for the automotive industry.

Deadline: 3 October 2018

UK SMEs can apply for a share of £5m to solve healthcare challenges including disease prevention, early detection and diagnosis, and personalised treatments.

Deadline: 3 October 2018

UK SMEs can apply for a share of £10m for projects in a clinical setting or late-stage environment to solve healthcare challenges including disease prevention, early detection and diagnosis, and personalised treatments.

Deadline: 3 October 2018

£8m from Innovate UK is available for capital projects to improve medicines manufacturing through the application of digitally-enabled technology.
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