Future Focused Solutions for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation - call for UK and UAE businesses

Shaping The Future, Today – Open Call and Investment Forum for UK and UAE Businesses

Opportunity Details


Registration Opens


Registration Closes



UK Based SMEs will be provided with financial assistance up to £10k in total value to develop their showcase presentations and cover the travel and accommodation for the trip to Dubai in March 2024, and also workshops, bespoke support, and networking/introductions in Dubai.

Share this opportunity

The COP28 – Net Zero Mitigation & Resilience Solutions for the UAE programme is seeking to develop long-term, business led research and innovation collaborations between UAE based investors and SMEs and the UK to address pivotal climate change mitigation and resilience challenges.

Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s Gulf Strategy Fund, this programme is responding to three opportunities outlined in the 2023 iteration of Dubai Future Foundation’s The Global 50 future opportunities report. The challenges have been chosen to create collaborations that merge local and UK expertise.

We will work with Dubai Future Foundation and Expo City Dubai to offer UK and UAE SMEs the opportunity to connect and collaborate on solutions to three challenges focusing on minimising environmental risks, harnessing nature’s capacity to restore itself and radically changing ways of life by replacing the models that countries, communities and individuals live by.

For each challenge, we will select 4 SMEs, two based in the UK and two based in UAE to showcase their solution to the challenge in Dubai at the end of March 2024. The selected companies will also present their business to a selected group of UAE– based investors at an Investor Pitch Evening. Where appropriate and viable, the showcase presentations may be selected to be installed at Expo City Dubai, or other suitable venues, for a period of 3 months. UK Based SMEs will be provided with financial assistance up to £10k in total value to develop their showcase presentations and cover the travel and accommodation for the trip to Dubai in March 2024.

The Connected Places Catapult will host an application support webinar on 8 January 2024. This webinar will cover the background to the programme, the challenges it is aiming to address, how the programme will benefit SMEs, guidance on how to apply and information on the application process. Click here to register for a place.

If you have any questions about the programme and application, please contact: Megan Ford, SME Ecosystem Support Officer, megan.ford@cp.catapult.org.uk  

The three challenges are detailed below.

  • UK SME eligibility criteria for UK organisations:

    • You must be a registered UK company.
    • You are ready and willing to collaborate and showcase your solution in the UAE.
    • You need to be export-ready, but no previous export experience is required.
    • The technology on which your solution (product or service) will be based should be TRL 3-4 and above, e.g., at proof of concept stage or above.
    • Desire to expand internationally.

    UAE SME eligibility criteria:

    • You must be a registered organisation according to your national legislation.
    • You are ready and willing to collaborate and showcase your solution.
    • You need to be export-ready, but no previous export experience is required.
    • The technology on which your solution (product or service) will be based should be TRL 3-4 and above.
    • Desire to expand internationally.
  • A series of technological innovations in the wheels redefine the future of car transport – from maglev (magnetic levitation) solutions and drone-like technologies to the replacement of rubber in tyres and new ways of conceptualising the function of wheels on a car. 
    We are particularly interested in sensor / AI driven solutions to optimising tyre and brake wear and reducing pollutants for EVs. 

    Why it matters today: Tyres and brake systems produce large amounts of microplastics as by-products. Up to 100,000 tonnes of microplastics from tyres end up in the ocean each year and a further 40,000 tonnes of microplastics come from wear and tear on car brakes. With the average scrapped car tyre weighing 9 kg, the amount of microplastics discharged into the ocean is equivalent to 11 million tyres each year. Research suggests that nanoparticles generated from road traffic can cause harm, and increased road traffic is a major cause of high particle concentrations in polluted urban areas. Atmospheric particulate matter was recognised as the leading cause of 43,000 premature deaths in Europe by the European Environment Agency in 2015.

    The opportunity: The transport landscape is changing. Imaginative new applications of drone or maglev (magnetic levitation) technology could be the future. For example, in one scenario, there could be hybrid vehicles that are capable of running on electricity or alternative fuels but that switch over to maglev mode when the infrastructure is available. This would prevent the release of nanoparticles of dust, plastic and minerals into the atmosphere, as well as reducing noise levels. Such solutions would make the roads cleaner, improving ecosystems and human health.

    Replacing rubber tyres with new materials and new wheel and brake technologies can minimise wear and tear on both vehicles and road surfaces. When used safely, lower-friction – or even frictionless solutions, augmented by advanced machine intelligence and autonomous systems – can cut energy consumption, enabling electric vehicles to travel further.

    Wheels could become multifunctional. Rethinking the functionality of wheels and tyres beyond simply transportation and carrying the load of the car could lead to the development of wheels that can generate energy, filter nanoparticles and absorb emissions, among other applications.

  • Enabled by materials science, automation and advanced machine intelligence, emissions and particulate matter are absorbed on an as-needed basis, anywhere in the world, independent of technological capabilities available on hand. 

    Why it matters today: On average, those living in the largest urban cities in the MENA region breathe in 10 times the level of pollutants in the air that the World Health Organization considers safe.

    The opportunity: Clean air will one day be a critical need if climate change persists. Materials science, automation and advanced machine intelligence could contribute to the invention of a mobile emissions and particulate matter (PM) scrubber that could absorb carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and PM anywhere in the world. If this idea were scaled, scrubbers could be positioned at sea as offshore platforms to absorb emissions and PM. 

    Mobile emissions and PM scrubbers could be standalone solutions powered by renewable sources of energy. Using advanced materials, they could efficiently absorb greenhouse gases and PM and either store them for later use or convert them into fuel and other non-harmful, possibly useful chemicals. 

  • An AI-powered pneumatic tube system for city-wide delivery on demand that offers a completely integrated OnDemand delivery model reviving an old approach with the technological advances needed. 

    The opportunity: The idea of a city-wide pneumatic tube system is not new – no longer operational because of high operational costs, the New York postal service was connected in 1897 through pipes that delivered letters and parcels around the city.  

    New materials, new building techniques and automated, AI-powered distribution centres could offer completely integrated on-demand delivery models giving traction in reviving the former approach. Pneumatic tunnels (also called vacuum tunnels) embedded into the urban infrastructure to connect buildings and distribution nodes could offer ‘beyond-the-doorstep’ delivery solutions to hospitals and other critical services. With development costs integrated into zoning and real estate plans, the tunnel system could be run on a pay-per-use basis. 

    Integrating small robotic distribution centres around cities would mean that packages could be electronically tagged for delivery to an address and loaded into a sealed pipe for instant dispatch. Buildings would be equipped with hatches where goods could be sent and received. Perfect traceability of goods from dispatch to delivery would be guaranteed, as the system would automatically track tagged goods via distributed ledger technology databases. 


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.