Weekly roundup 07/07/2017

06 July 2017


What’s been in the UK science news?

Government creates fund to attract ‘best and brightest’
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson confirmed on Tuesday that the government will invest £100 million to attract highly skilled researchers to the UK through its new Ernest Rutherford Fund.
The fund will provide fellowships for early-career and senior researchers, from the developed world and from emerging research powerhouses such as India, China, Brazil and Mexico. In his speech, Johnson said the fund demonstrates that research and innovation is at the heart of the government’s Industrial Strategy. He also made clear that the UK wants to attract ‘the brightest and best minds’, saying, ‘It will be named after Ernest Rutherford. He is one of our most distinguished scientists, the father of nuclear physics, a Nobel Laureate, holder of chairs at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge, and, crucially, an immigrant – who came to the UK at the age of 24 from New Zealand.’

CBI urges government to remain in single market until final deal in place
CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn said it was ‘impossible’ for all the details of a new trade deal with the European Union to be in place by March 2019, which is when talks about the UK's withdrawal are due to formally finish. The UK should stay in the single market and customs union until a final Brexit deal is in force, she said. In her speech at the London School of Economics, Ms Fairbairn said it was common sense to stay in the single market and customs union until a trade deal was in place. She later informed the BBC that a survey of CBI members found that 40% had reduced investment plans due to Brexit uncertainty. ‘The urgency is simply growing. March 2019 is tomorrow for a lot of businesses. They are having to make their plans now.’

Is CHP a missed opportunity for UK?
A new report from the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) claims that blocking the efforts of combined heat and power (CHP) within the UK’s capacity market auction is failing business by making it more expensive to cut carbon emissions. Around 2,000 factories and businesses have so far adopted CHP to cut an estimated £375m from their total annual bills. But ADE believes the structure of the auction is preventing further benefits. Fresh data suggests that giving CHP the same support as traditional gas plants could more than double its capacity from around 5.5GW to 13GW. The UK uses CHP for only 6% of the energy mix but in European countries, including Denmark and the Netherlands, CHP makes up between 30-50% of energy demand.

Funding calls
Materials and manufacturing round 3
Competition opens: Monday 8 May 2017
Competition closes: Wednesday 12 July 2017 12:00pm
Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovation projects in manufacturing and/or materials. Projects will be funded to focus on identified technical or commercial challenges. These should lead to increased productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Projects will range in size from total project costs of £50,000 to £2 million. Projects should last between 6 months and 3 years. Projects must involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration with other organisations. Projects longer than 12 months or with costs of £100,000 or more, must be collaborative with other grant claiming partners. More information and applications are available here.

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