Improving Observation Capabilities of Biodiversity in UK Waters: Phase 2
UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £750k for innovation projects to improve monitoring of UK marine assets.
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to invest up to £1.5 million in grant funding across 3 years. This funding is for innovation projects that can improve the observation capabilities of the UK’s waters, towards improved assessment and evaluation of the status and risks to natural capital assets. These can include the data acquisition, communication, storage, analysis and modelling systems.
The aim of this competition is to test innovative technologies and approaches as part of end-to-end marine monitoring systems from in-situ data collection through to generating insights from the data. The innovation must focus on measures of marine asset extent, condition, and human pressures. The outputs of the work must demonstrate how the data collected can be used to generate insights into ecosystem services flows from marine assets, or how these flows could be impacted by human pressures.
This is phase 2 of a two phase competition (there is no requirement to have been involved in phase 1). The first phase competition was for the development of key technologies and capabilities that can be used for more effective and efficient observation of biodiversity in natural capital assets. This phase 2 competition is for the development of complete end-to-end marine monitoring systems and their verification and validation. These must include on-site testing in an operational environment, or data curation, validation, analysis or visualisation.
To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:
- be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
- be or involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
(i.e. only SMEs can work alone)
If the lead organisation is an RTO it must collaborate with 2 businesses. These partners must include one SME and one business of any size. Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.
Your project must:
- have a total grant funding request of no more than £250,000
- start by 1 February 2024
- end by 31 October 2024
- last up to 9 months
- have an appropriate test site prepared
- have appropriate operational permits or permissions to carry out the planned testing at sea
- carry out all of its project work in the UK
- intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
The test site must match the real-world marine conditions that the innovation is being designed for. Arranging a suitable test site is the responsibility of the applicant and should be factored into project costs.
Organisations that are applying technology used in a different sector to marine monitoring must have relevant marine science expertise on the project team, or involved in an advisory capacity, to advise on monitoring the intended marine assets.
The aim of this competition is to test innovative technologies and approaches as part of end-to-end marine monitoring systems, from in-situ data collection through to generating insights from the data. The innovation must focus on measures of marine asset extent, condition, and human pressures. The outputs of the work must demonstrate how the data collected can be used to generate insights into ecosystem services flows from marine assets, or how these flows could be impacted by human pressures.
Innovations must be within 5 years of being integrated into real-world marine monitoring programmes or used in other sectors with application to marine monitoring. The innovation can target any part of the end-to-end monitoring system, from data collection to data processing, analysis or visualisation, but must be tested as part of a complete system.
DEFRA is looking for ways to significantly improve approaches to measure changes in the extent or condition of marine natural capital assets and provision of ecosystem services by these assets, such as by providing:
- greater spatial or temporal coverage of data collection
- ways to reduce the carbon emissions of end-to-end monitoring systems
- improved efficiency, value for money or quality of data collection, processing, analysis, or visualisation
Your proposal must clearly:
- explain which part of the end-to-end marine monitoring system you will be focusing on, for example data collection, processing, analysis or visualisation
- explain the concept of operation and the marine environment that the targeted or final marine monitoring system will be operating in
- describe the improvements sought, providing the measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to determine the degree of improvement
- describe what is innovative about your project and explain the technological maturity at the start and end of the project
- demonstrate an understanding of what the development and testing of a complete marine monitoring system will entail
- identify other market needs that could be met by your project’s deliverables and objectives
- demonstrate the project’s output in the appropriate relevant environment, either the sea or laboratory
Your project must focus on one or more of the following:
Integration of innovative approaches across an end-to-end system
For example innovations in in-situ observations combined with innovations in data processing, analysis, or visualisation, to achieve efficiency gains across the whole system.
Integrated monitoring of marine assets
For example a monitoring system set up to understand interconnections between two or more assets, such as marine habitats and species. This can also include linkages between assets that span different ecosystems, such as estuaries, coast and offshore environments, or land and sea.
Innovation in approaches to monitor human pressures
Including their impacts on marine assets and the ecosystem services they provide.
UKRI will be running an online briefing webinar at noon on Wednesday 26th July 2023: click here to register for a place.
If you would like help in finding a project partner, contact Jonathan Walker, KTM Robotics.