The recent government green paper “Building our Industrial Strategy” announced the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The fund will invest in science and innovation challenges, to meet demands and opportunities of UK industry.
In November 2016 the Prime Minister confirmed the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund would be a major element of the industrial strategy. The Industrial consultation document includes 'investing in science, research and innovation' as the first 10 'pillars' . Crucially, the document also includes a focus on supporting businesses to start and grow, and driving growth across the whole country. All things Innovate UK are working hard to deliver, focussing on 8 key areas:
- Bioscience and biotechnology
- Leading edge healthcare and medicine
- Manufacturing processes and materials of the future
- Smart, flexible and clean energy technologies
- Quantum technologies
- Robotics and artificial intelligence
- Satellites and space technologies
- Transformative digital technologies
In addition Innovate UK have been looking at two more areas: Integrated and Sustainable Cities, and Technologies for the Creative Industries, where there are significant global opportunities building on UK strengths.
Teams of experts from Innovate UK and across the Research Councils recently began the process of drafting more detailed challenges in each area. Workshops were held to rewrite challenges, combine them, divide them, and find new ones. Stakeholders were involved to get a sense of where the challenges resonated with local issues and could build on local research assets and industrial capability.
These workshops were just the beginning of the engagement on Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Innovate UK will continue to work with the government and Research Council partners to develop the first set of investments to enable them to start their FY18/19 programme in April.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is just one aspect of the industrial strategy. Through the Government consultation you can feed in your ideas on science, research and innovation – or any of the other pillars – until April 17th.