Opportunities for the manufacturing sector from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Wave 3 Challenges

Posted on: 29/07/2019

KTN has looked at the opportunities available for manufacturing industries in forthcoming Challenges.

Recently there has been a great deal of activity relating to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). There has been a wave of announcements and these have triggered briefing events and competition launches.  KTN has looked at the Challenges to identify which are of relevance to the manufacturing sector and where we believe there is a considerable opportunity for manufacturing organisations to play a part.

There is a significant investment available through the ISCF Challenges.  KTN is working with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on seven Challenges in Wave 3 of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is bringing its cross-sectoral expertise and industry contacts to bear on ensuring as many UK organisations as possible are aware of the opportunities afforded.


KTN’s Head of Manufacturing, Ben Peace, has pin-pointed two Challenges that should be of interest to the manufacturing community.


Manufacturing Made Smarter

UK manufacturers wanting to adopt the latest digital technologies will be able to bid for a new £30 million R&D competition.

The R&D competition is part of the wider Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge to support the transformation of UK manufacturing by encouraging the development and integration of industrial digital technologies.  It will fund projects that will help transform the productivity and agility of UK manufacturing, ready for a fast start and with the potential for rapid impact. Projects must be business led and collaborative, with all consortia involving at least one SME.

KTN is running a briefing webinar on 30 July, click here for details and to register.

The competition is now open and will close on 28 August at 12 noon. To find out more about the scope of the competition, eligibility and the application process click here.


Industrial Decarbonisation

The government has announced £170m towards deploying technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen networks in industrial clusters to support our mission to establish the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.

Additionally, industry will consider investing up to £261m into new technologies to reduce emissions from heartlands of heavy industry such as steel, chemical and refineries in the North East, North West, South Wales and Scotland.

Competitions are yet to be announced, but we would advise signing up to the KTN Manufacturing newsletter or keeping an eye on our website to stay informed about developments with the Challenge.


Other opportunities

There are other opportunities for the manufacturing sector that are not ISCF-related:

  • Analysis for Innovators: A4I Round 5 (Phase 1) will open on 29th July. UK businesses of any size can get access to cutting-edge R&D expertise and facilities. ¬†KTN is running a competition briefing event in London on 31 July and a webcast for those unable to make it in person. ¬†The detailed scope of Round 5 will be released in mid-July and there are roadshow events being held in the run-up to the competition opening. ¬†More here.
  • 5G Manufacturing and Logistics -¬†DCMS is investing up to ¬£40m in match-funded testbeds and trials projects over the next 2.5 years, starting with this funding competition for the manufacturing and logistics sectors. ¬†More here.
  • Industrial Heat Recovery – BEIS has also committed ¬£18m through its Heat programme to support the manufacturing industries to recover and use their waste heat. ¬†More here.


And for a couple of different approaches to support, you can consider the following:

  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships -¬†This scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate. For the latest opportunities, click here.
  • Innovation Loans – Innovate UK is offering up to ¬£10m in loans to¬†micro and SMEs. Loans are for highly innovative late stage projects with the best game changing and/or disruptive ideas or concepts. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact. More here.

The landscape in innovation funding changes rapidly so to identify what is right for any individual project, based on your needs and on an impartial basis and to find the right partners, contact the KTN Manufacturing team here.

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