Research Innovation Enterprise

Great opportunities for research with industry partners!

Innovate UKIndustrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Ian Anderson and myself attended the Innovate UK annual conference where announcements were made on significant funding to encourage industry to work with HEI’s, a key element of this being the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

The ISCF was announced in April 2017 to bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. At its core, it is about putting innovation at the heart of improving living standards, creating well-paid sustainable jobs and driving economic growth.

The Fund, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years, reflects how public research funding is increasingly prioritising industry collaboration and offers a great opportunity for Edinburgh Napier’s researchers to work with industry on high-impact research.

The ISCF is a series of challenges, some of which have already been announced and more still under discussion to hopefully be announced by the end of December.
Working together the Government, businesses and academics have identified the biggest core industrial challenges where:

• the UK has a world-leading research base
• there is a large or fast-growing and sustainable global market

First wave challenges

The six initial challenges selected to receive support from the Fund, with a combined budget of nearly £700 million were:

  Healthcare and medicines – £197m
•  Robotics and artificial intelligence – £93m
•  Clean and flexible energy – £246m
•  Driverless vehicles – £38m
•  Manufacturing and materials of the future – £26m
•  Satellites and space technology – £99m


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

It was announced that the popular KTP programme has been awarded a further £30 million in funding to support the knowledge exchange activities between Industry and HEI’s. ENU has a strong track record in this area with over 100 KTP’s completed and this offers a high impact opportunity for industry informed research.

A second wave of challenges will be announced in December :

•  Quantum technology
•  Digital manufacturing
•  The future of services
•  Early diagnosis
•  An aging population
•  Low energy buildings
•  Cheap, clean energy
•  Space
•  Mental health
•  Live events
•  Smart agriculture

Whilst we are uncertain which of the second wave challenges will proceed, we do know that the funding call timescales can often be very short, giving limited time to identify industrial partners and prepare an application. Formats and timings of the funding competitions are diverse, reflecting the nature of the research challenges. All funding calls all rely on partnerships between businesses and researchers

We encourage colleagues to explore the possibilities in your respective areas NOW and to register any interest with the RIO External Funding Team who will advise you in developing your ISCF research proposal. 

Information about further challenges will be published on the Gov.Uk website as they are announced. Sign up for email alerts to get ISCF updates.

Norman Turner (Head of Research and Innovation Office) and Ian Anderson (External Funding Manager).

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