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Government boosts innovation funding

A £58 million innovation funding boost for energy, infrastructure, biomedical and quantum tech has been announced, alongside a further £24 million to trial low emission vehicle technologies.

A £58 million innovation funding boost for energy, infrastructure, biomedical and quantum tech has been announced, alongside a further £24 million to trial low emission vehicle technologies.

The funding was announced by the then business secretary, Sajid Javid, on 11 July at the government’s first inter-ministerial group on business engagement. 

New challenges

The meeting brought together ministers from across government to discuss issues and challenges facing businesses in all sectors and how government could support them following the outcome of the EU referendum.

As a result, new funding was immediately created to help boost innovative businesses developing sustainable energy or transport solutions, bringing new healthcare advancements to market or driving forward commercial advances in quantum technology.

The funding package includes:

  • Up to £19 million to evaluate new infrastructure technologies for the first time in real-world environments, focusing on energy generation and supply, connected transport and urban living
  • Up to £15 million to develop new infrastructure systems innovations, focusing on energy systems, offshore wind, connected transport, urban living and ‘smart’ integrated infrastructure
  • £10 million to develop innovative healthcare technologies
  • £19.5 million to develop commercial applications for quantum technologies in devices such as clocks, sensors, imaging, communications or computing.

The funding is separate to the extra £10 million recently made available for energy-related projects through Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst round 4 competition.

Dr Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, which is leading on the funding projects along with partner organisations, said: “Innovative businesses right across the country that have been supported by Innovate UK are helping to address some of the biggest challenges the world faces. 

“From reducing carbon emissions, to tackling anti-biotic resistance or developing the very latest quantum technologies these firms are taking risks, trying new ideas and growing our economy in the process. Our new competitions promise to get some of the very best ideas off the drawing board and closer to market.” 

Low emission vehicles

In a separate announcement, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK are providing up to £24 million for industry-led trials of innovative vehicles or on-vehicle technologies that provide real-world emissions reductions.

The competition is separated into two steams, with the first focusing on small trial fleets of low emission HGVs and vans and the second funding projects to trial on-vehicle technologies.

Earlier in July the government announced that it was planning to unveil new funding to help fleets cuts their emissions and an independent testing regime to validate the claims made by developers of low carbon vehicle technologies.