Innovate UK – Current Funding Opportunities

Do you want to work with industry to test the feasibility of your idea, research and develop it and demonstrate it in a prototype.

Innovate UK funding competitions cover the following industry sectors:

  • emerging and enabling technologies
  • infrastructure systems
  • health and life sciences
  • manufacturing and materials

Some of the current funding calls include:

  • vaccines for global epidemics – preclinical
  • improving care for stroke patients
  • innovation in health and life science
  • GPs practices of the future
  • Managing sickness absence
  • Cell and gene therapies for industrila manufacture
  • Using technology to improeve dermatology

For further details see the Innovate UK website.

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Update on Catapults

Catapult abstract detailIt’s been a while since we’ve blogged about the Catapults, the TSB managed UK network of research-industry centres in strategic economic areas, but today saw a significant report on activity over the last year:

Catapult Progress Report 2013

The network of Catapults currently covers seven thematic areas, from High Value Manufacturing to Future Cities, and this is seen by the report as the completion of the “first wave” of activity. Catapults in an additional two areas have already been announced (Energy Systems and Diagnostics for Stratified Medicines) as part of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and others may follow.

The rationale behind Catapults is to bridge the gap between academia, research, industry and government. They are the UK equivalent of Germany’s successful Fraunhofer model.

The Catapults are distributed throughout the UK, but with several clustered round the South East and within London (including Future Cities, Connected Digital Economy, and Cell Therapy Catapults) the spread is not diverse. Geographically, the closest connection Northumbria has to the Catapults is through the Centre for Process Innovation, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult based in Redcar and Sedgefield.

The clustering of Catapults in the South of England is something which the Business secretary, Vince Cable, wants to move away from as more centres come on stream. He’s quoted in Research Fortnight as saying: “Just one request, if I may: that we draw on the excellence of centres right across the UK, not just the south of England.”

Activity within the Catapults is at various stages of development, although it’s still relatively early days. Some Catapults have only relatively recently been formed (for example both Future Cities and Transport Systems have only recruited senior staff within the last month), while others are already up and running and delivering projects (e.g. the High Value Manufacturing Catapult which is probably the most advanced, claims 571 businesses directly involved in 830 projects in the first full financial year).

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Catapults: From Cell Therapy to Future Cities

The Technology Strategy Board recently announced that the final two Catapult centres will focus on Future Cities and Transport Systems. These centres will join the five already announced in High Value Manufacturing, Cell Therapy, Offshore Renewable Energy, Satellite Applications and the Connected Digital Economy.

According to the TSB, the latest two Catapults will “bring business and research together to accelerate innovation in order to improve services and quality of life in cities, and to develop integrated, efficient and sustainable national transport systems”.

Expressions of interest for the last two areas are due to open this month – registration of interest closed for the Connected Digital Economy Catapult last month. It is expected that all centres will be operational by 2013.

Catapults (formerly known as TICs – Technology Innovation Centres) are “centres of excellence” which “bridge the gap between business, academia, research and government”. If you want to know what they will look like in terms of structure and kinds of partners, take a look at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult which opened for business in October 2011. Funding for the Catapults will come direct from the TSB as well as research contracts with business and industry.

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