UK Materials & Manufacturing Grant Funding – ISCFPosted 16th May 2018
The UK Materials & Manufacturing fund will develop new, affordable, light-weight composite materials for aerospace, automotive and other advanced manufacturing sectors. (Innovate UK)
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is part of the UK government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over 4 years to 2021.
It is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.
Insights: Grant funding for Materials & Manufacturing
There was a strong funder presence at the Materials Research Exchange event held at Innovate UK KTN Headquarters in early March 2018. There is to be a Materials & Manufacturing Loan Scheme following the successful pilot of the Infrastructure Systems Loan Scheme at the end of 2017. The £50m funding will be offered at a low rate and over a long term, without the need for personal guarantees from directors. The loans will be classified as State-Aid because of the low interest rates and Innovate UK will be looking for growth orientated, technically innovative SMEs at the late stage of the R&D journey. Further observations from seminars and conversations are:
- 3 Open Innovate UK Loan Funds will run in April, June and September 2018
- Innovate UK are looking to allocate more funding to the later stage of the R&D process and getting ready for manufacturing – ‘tooling up’
- The funders are not looking for incremental improvements, rather significant ‘step-change’ in the development of disruptive products and processes
- There is a ‘Part B’ in loan applications that looks at the suitability of the business (applicant) for a loan – this is in addition to the usual Innovate UK grant application sections
- Analysis for Innovators is running for a second time and looking at solving problems as opposed to developing prototypes. This programme is seeking to support individual companies to become more productive and more competitive. In this programme, a company would state a problem and Innovate UK would suggest partners to help solve that problem. The problems will need to be solved using cutting edge technology – this is where the innovation element comes in to comply with the Innovate UK remit.
Grant Funding Success: Knowledge & Network
There is no substitute for talking to the funders, understanding their drivers and getting a definition of the kind of projects & companies they are looking to award grant funding to. The grant funding landscape is ever-shifting with subtle changes in focus and preferences influenced by macro and micro factors. We will continue to bring insights in an attempt to maximise the chance of securing grant funding for our clients.