Keeping the UK at the very forefront of research innovation
27 July 2017
Business Secretary Greg Clark announced the government is investing £1 billion in cutting-edge technologies to create jobs and raise living standards.
The funding from the flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) will be spent across six key areas over the next four years, driving progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.
The government has worked with businesses and academics to identify core industrial challenges, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future in which the UK can become world-leading.
Through the ISCF, government will bring together the UK’s world leading research with the ambitions of business to meet these challenges head-on. The funding allocations announced are designed to help deliver a step-change in the UK’s ability to turn strengths in research into commercialised products.
The first three areas set to receive investment through the fund – healthcare and medicine, clean and flexible energy, and robotics and artificial intelligence – were announced at the 2017 Spring Budget. The Business Secretary has confirmed the total investment in each field (subject to business case approval):
• clean and flexible energy or the ‘Faraday Challenge’: an investment of £246 million over four years to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy, to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles
• cutting-edge healthcare and medicine: an investment of £197 million over four years to develop first-of-a-kind technologies for the manufacture of medicines that will speed up patient access to new drugs and treatments, building on the exporting strengths of the UK’s biopharmaceutical sector
• robotics and artificial intelligence (AI): an investment of £93 million over four years to make industry and public services more productive, by developing AI and robotics systems that can be deployed in extreme environments which occur in off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining
Greg Clark also confirmed that, subject to business case approval, the three additional areas that will be receiving ISCF grants in the next four years are:
• driverless cars: to ensure the UK’s reputation as a world-leader in driverless car technology, a sector predicted to be worth £63 billion by 2035, the government will be investing a further £38 million in new collaborative research and development projects, working with industry partners to develop the next generation of AI and control systems need to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the driverless cars revolution
• manufacturing and future materials: through a new £26 million fund for research and development programmes, the government will support the UK’s civil aerospace industry, a sector which employs over 230,000 people, to develop the next generation of affordable light-weight composite materials for aerospace, automotive and other advanced manufacturing sectors
• satellites and space technology: building on the UK’s global reputation for satellite technology, a growth industry that underpins mobile technology, the ISCF will provide funding for a £99 million satellite test facility supporting new launch technologies and the manufacturing and testing capabilities that will allow the UK to construct future satellites and deliver payloads into orbit
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said “as part of our Plan for Britain this government wants to create a modern Industrial Strategy to support the key sectors of our economy and spread jobs, prosperity and opportunity around the whole country.”
“Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we will provide an enormous boost to our world-class research and development sector, to help turn brilliant British innovations into new businesses and good jobs.”
“The UK is home to some of the world’s best innovators at the very forefront of global excellence. The funding I am announcing, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of support to develop the next generation of technologies across a range of sectors, shows our determination and commitment to making sure the UK remains at the very forefront of research innovation for years to come.”