Solve challenges of urban mobility and waste-to-wealth in Malaysia: share of up to £2m available

Posted on: 15/07/2019

Up to £2 million (RM 11 million) for innovative projects that provide collaborative solutions to the challenges of urban mobility and waste to wealth.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) are working collaboratively under the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund. Together we will invest up to £2 million (RM 11 million) for innovative projects that provide collaborative solutions to the challenges of urban mobility and waste to wealth in Malaysia.

An online applicant briefing event is being held on 16th July at 9.00amclick here to join.

Innovate UK will fund the UK partners only, and MIGHT will fund the Malaysian partners.

The overall programme will be delivered in 2 phases. This application process is for phase 1. Only successful applications from phase 1 will be able to take part in phase 2, opening June 2020.

Phase 1 is for collaborative feasibility studies only. This is to help UK and Malaysian businesses investigate:

  • the interaction between their innovations
  • how feasible a joint demonstration project would be in responding to Malaysia‚Äôs mobility and waste to wealth challenges

Applications for phase 1 must be received by 16th October 2019.

During phase 2, your project must provide economical and sustainable solutions to be demonstrated in environments that represent real life operating conditions.

Your project must focus on one of the following challenges:

Challenge 1: waste to wealth

On average Malaysia generates 42 million metric tonnes of municipal solid waste a year, 60% of which consists of food and plastic waste, a figure which continues to grow. In comparison the UK produces 30 million metric tonnes a year.

According to the Malaysian Housing and Local Government Ministry, in 2018 the waste separation and subsequent recycle rate was at 24% and the remaining 76% went to landfill. It costs the Malaysian government on average RM 2.4 billion (£437 million) annually to manage the waste. The effects of rapid urbanisation and subsequent rise in waste generation has serious implications on citizens’ health in both urban and rural areas as well as environmental degradation.

The challenges Malaysia faces in waste management and recycling include:

  • the huge amount of waste produced
  • lack of separation at source
  • the public‚Äôs negative perception of recycled goods

There are also opportunities for:

  • introducing community recycling options
  • encouraging separation in households
  • recovering valuable resources in landfill

We are looking for solutions that build on these and create positive social, economic and environmental impact in Malaysia. We are looking for demonstrable innovations which are appropriate and scalable.

Your proposal must fit one or more of the following scope areas:

  • Improving waste separation: municipal solid waste separation with a focus on plastic and food. This could include, but not be limited to: encouraging waste separation at source (households and industrial sites) and collection centres (such as community-led initiatives) and improving the efficiency of waste separation at source and/or facilities.
  • Encouraging recycling: solutions that encourage recycling and/or upcycling at source and/or facilities. This could include, but not be limited to: innovative business models targeting citizen uptake and affordable technologies that make recycling more convenient.
  • Changing public perception: improving the public‚Äôs perception of using secondary materials in the manufacture of new products and creating innovative business models and/or technologies that create increased value for recycled content in new products and/or direct by-products from food and plastic waste. This could include, but not be limited to, increasing the affordability of recycled products.
  • Development of appropriate circular economy approaches for durable goods and products. This could include, but not be limited to, servitisation or ‚Äòpay-per-use‚Äô models.

Challenge 2: mobility

75% of Malaysia’s population now live in cities, which is 20% more than the global average. This is expected to rise to 80% by 2020. Road transportation accounts for about 85% of all transport-related CO2 emissions in Malaysia. Of that, the largest share of 59% comes from cars and 11% comes from motorcycles. This poses a challenge to liveability and quality of life.

Since 2015, the Malaysian government has committed RM 235.4 billion (£42.8 billion) of investment in rail for the next 15 years. However, according to the World Bank, taking into consideration the impact of money spent and committed, urban transportation remains the weakest component of Malaysia’s national transport system, particularly when compared to the connectivity between states and intercity.

Millions of Malaysian urban citizens are affected by daily road congestion, spending more than 250 million hours a year stuck in traffic, or about 20 days a year per person. It is clear that in the next decade, the largest improvements in transportation sustainability have to be made in the urban areas. There needs to be a shift away from personal cars and motorcycles to an increased usage of sustainable methods such as buses and commuter rail services.

We are looking for solutions that increase the use of public transport by improving the efficiency, accessibility and public perceptions of the services provided in Malaysian cities.

We are looking for demonstrable innovations which are appropriate and scalable to meet the needs of Malaysia’s public transport challenges. Proposals should fit one or more of the following scope areas:

  • Improving service delivery. This could include, but is not limited to: increased ridership as a result of innovative business models, more convenient ticketing solutions and better provision of information to citizens (such as real time forecasting of bus or train arrivals).
  • First and last-mile connectivity. This could include, but is not limited to: alternative modes of connecting people and communities to transit points and improving the commuter‚Äôs journey experience (such as weather-proofing or improved safety).
  • Multi-modal transport connectivity. This could include, but is not limited to: solutions that bridge gaps between transit points, in particular e-hailing services, and enabling commuters to identify the best routes and transit.

Phase 2

Phase 2 (open only to entrants who have completed phase 1) will focus on real life demonstrators. A total of up to £800,000 in the UK and RM 4.4 million in Malaysia is allocated to phase 2.

We plan to fund 4 projects of up to £350,000 total eligible costs in the UK and RM 1,165,000 total eligible costs in Malaysia.

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