Circular Materials and Manufacturing: Global Business Innovation Programme in Japan

Businesses that focus on delivering circular materials & manufacturing solutions are invited to apply for an innovation visit to Japan.

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Explore Circular Economy opportunities in Japan, gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Japan, find potential innovation partners, and improve your company value proposition


Innovate UK

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Note: This opportunity is fully funded support and not monetary funding.

The Circular Materials & Manufacturing Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) with Japan is organised by Innovate UK and delivered by Innovate UK EDGE. The three-phase, competitive programme, consists of a five-day in-market visit to Japan, together with intensive pre- and post-visit training and support by our innovation and growth specialists.

The programme is focused on helping your business to maximise the opportunities identified in Japan and provide international partnership opportunities to help you to develop your innovation and bring your ideas to commercialisation.

Find out how our GBIP in Japan can help your business grow.

  • A GBIP has three stages:

    Prepare for the market

    Preparing for the market includes the cohort being briefed by sector and market experts on, for example, cultural aspects of conducting business in that country. Delegates receive help to find business partners and arrange meetings and are advised on best practice including the management and protection of their intellectual property.

    Visiting the market

    Visiting the market provides opportunities to attend pre-arranged meetings and activities in order to better understand and maximise the opportunities that the visit presents.

    Exploiting the opportunity

    Exploiting the opportunity is arguably the most important aspect of the programme. To maximise the opportunity, participating companies are given bespoke one-to-one support from an Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist to help develop and implement an action plan.

    The Global Business Innovation Programme operates on a competitive basis and businesses selected are required to participate in all three stages (some or all of which may be online).

  • To apply, you must:

    • Be a UK-based innovation-led company with ambitions to grow and expand overseas.
    • Be a company with fewer than 500 employees.
    • Be able to attend and complete all activities.
  • With high population density and limited landfill space, Japan is driven to avoid waste by retaining more value from materials and avoiding incineration for end-of-life products. Japan’s environmental industry reached a record size of 105.3 trillion JPY in 2018 and is estimated to grow to a value of 133.5 trillion JPY in 2050. Businesses related to recycling and waste management, re-manufacturing and repair, leasing and renting and long-life construction were set to account for 40%.

    New UK-Japan co-innovation agreements have opened a pipeline of future collaborative funding opportunities, and as a major industrial producer, but with limited domestic metal and mineral resources, this makes the re-manufacturing and recycling market attractive.

    • Materials and design for resource efficiency and maximum through-life value
    • Resilient supply chains, including resource recovery and recycling
    • Minimising materials use and waste, practising complete traceability, and using new remanufacturing and value retention services
    • Targeted circular economy sectors in plastics, textiles, carbon fibre-reinforced polymers, batteries, PV panels
  • Innovate UK and Innovate UK EDGE will fund and organise flights, accommodation, and any conference fees for successful applicants. Innovate UK will also pay for any reasonable adjustments throughout the initiative. Only one
    representative from each company will be funded.

    On acceptance, a commitment fee of £500 will be obtained from each delegate, which will be refunded on
    completion of the full activities and agreed action plan. Non-completion after formal acceptance may result in
    forfeiting some or all the commitment fees.

  • Register for the applicant briefing event on Tuesday 25th July 2023 here

    Closing date for application: 6th September 2023
    Two-day pre-visit workshop: 16th and 17th January 2024
    Innovation visit: 24th February – 2nd March 2024
    Exploitation workshop: May 2024


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