Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, industrial research

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies to transform manufacturing supply chains.

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Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £1 million and £3 million. Up to 35% of costs can be covered.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest in 2 competitions to drive digital innovation in UK manufacturing supply chains. The funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Your project must help UK manufacturing supply chains to develop digital technologies to become more efficient, productive, flexible, resilient. These must encourage the use of digital approaches to better integrate and optimise the performance of supply chains.

This competition comprises of 2 strands running at the same time. The strands are:

feasibility studies – project size £250k-£500k (click here for details)
industrial research (this strand) – project size £1m-3m

In this competition the total grant funding your project applies for, which we refer to as ‘funding sought’ in the application, must be no more than 50% of the total eligible project costs. Funding claims from RTO’s and academic partners count towards this 50% limit. Cumulative funding to all parties cannot exceed this limit. Of this remaining 50%, up to 70% can be covered depending on business size, so the maximum that can be covered is 35% of total costs.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £1 million and £3 million
  • apply for total grant funding of no more than 50% of your total eligible costs
  • start by 1 April 2021
  • last up to 24 months

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, academic institutions, charities, public sector organisations or research and technology organisations (RTO)
  • involve at least one SME
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

The aim of this competition is to encourage the use of digital technologies to enable more efficient, productive, flexible, resilient and sustainable UK manufacturing supply chains. Projects should seek to integrate and optimise these supply chains.

Your project must develop a supply chain integration or optimisation idea and carry out a project to test the concepts. It must focus on a digital application.

Your project must investigate one or more problems that your specific supply chain is experiencing and develop ideas for digital technology solutions to address these problems.

Your project must carry out activity that develops and tests innovative digital solutions in UK manufacturing supply chains, focussing either on supply chain design or supply chain execution, comprising any one of the following:

  • improve and optimise existing supply chain networks
  • re-design or re-engineer existing supply chain networks
  • design new supply chain networks for either new products or processes

Your project must be across a supply chain, not just focused within one organisation or within one supplier.

Planned outputs must be:

  • increased understanding of the problems faced by the specific supply chain
  • tested proposal for digital solutions to address these problems
  • case study outlining the proposed digital solution, the results of the project, and qualitative and quantitative evidence of benefits identified

In addition, where possible provide open access to the set-up of the project as a demonstrator of the digital solution.

Innovate UK will hold several online workshops for potential applicants: click here for details and booking links.

10 July: Pharmaceutical workshop
14 July: Online briefing event
16 July: General workshop for any sector
21 July: Food and drink workshop
31 July: Aerospace and automotive workshop

(Note that at present, registration is only open for the 14th July online briefing: the remaining events will open soon.)

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

Click here to apply.


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