1 December 2020 | Bryony Parker

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

IEA assists China on emissions goal

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has concluded a ‘productive meeting’ with the Chinese Government to discuss how the IEA can support China in achieving its ambition of becoming carbon neutral before 2060.

Welcoming the opportunity to assist China in development of a roadmap and policies for achieving a peak in emissions before 2030, the IEA said its input is expected to draw on its expertise on critical technologies such as renewables and carbon capture, utilisation and storage. It would also provide policy expertise on emissions trading systems implementation.

The Chinese Government is developing its 14th Five Year Plan which is set to strengthen policies introduces to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu highlighted President Xi Jingping’s emphasis on the need for green, low-carbon industries, which he views as a ‘necessary component of the high-quality economic development China is pursuing.’

In similar news, the UK government has announced the next steps for rolling out the green industrial revolution.

The fourth round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme – to open in late 2021 – will aim to double the capacity of renewable energy compared to the last round and expand the number of technologies supported, with offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal and floating offshore wind projects all eligible to bid.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘The new plans set out [last week] build on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and put us firmly on the path towards building a new, green industrial revolution.’

Find more information on this topic here: https://www.soci.org/news/2020/11/iea-assists-china-on-emissions-goal

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 30 November 2020 - image of smoke above a cityscape

Flying lab backed by £61 million government funding

The UK government has announced a £61 millon investment into Europe’s largest ‘flying lab’ which will support research into some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The lab will allow leading UK scientists and researchers to continue progressing environmental research missions at altitudes of up to 10 kilometres for the next 10 years on board the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) Airborne Laboratory, based in the UK. This includes collecting data on emission and pollution levels from remote locations around the world, such as above the North Sea and volcanoes in Iceland.

The atmospheric data captured during future air missions will directly assist the government, businesses, universities and researchersby informing future policy, transforming industries with high carbon emissions like shipping, and assessing the impact of new environment regulations – helping the UK meet its net zero emissions.

Head of the FAAM Airborne Laboratory Alan Woolley said: ‘We operate the largest flying laboratory in Europe and, through our experience and expertise, offer a complete package of support for in-situ atmospheric measurements. From measuring cloud microphysics to detecting complex chemical species, the aircraft is a highly capable flying laboratory.’

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 30 November 2020 - image of an aerial view over landscape

AI research received £20 million boost

The UK government has introduced new Turing AI Fellowships as part of its ambition to maintain the UK’s postition as a world leader in AI, and support ground-breaking innovations.

Named after British AI pioneer Alan Turing, the £20 million fellowship scheme will be delivered by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute and Office for Artificial intelligence.

EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: ‘The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships will support some of our leading researchers to progress their careers and develop ground-breaking AI technologies with societal impact.‘

Fifteen projects will share the £20 million government funding which will be used to improve cancer diagnostics as well as speed up processing of data at lightning speed lowering energy consumption. In addition, the development of an “AI clinical colleague” could further support doctors by recommending the most effective drug prescriptions and doses for patients – and helping them decide the best course of action for recovery.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 30 November 2020 - image of an AI face graphic


Calls for evidence 

Reducing ammonia emissions from urea fertilisers
The government is seeking views on their plans to reduce ammonia emissions in England by regulating the use or sale of solid urea fertilisers.

Deadline: 26 January 2021

You can find further details of this inquiry on the DEFRA website


Technological Innovations and Climate Change: Tidal Power
The Environmental Audit Committee is conducting an overarching inquiry into technological innovations which could contribute to tackling climate change.

Deadline: 18 December 2020

You can find further details of inquiries here.


Funding competitions

ISCF Future Plastic Packaging Solutions
UK registered businesses of any size can apply for a share of up to £2 million for early-stage projects in SSPP. Projects can last up to 18 months but must end by November 2022.

Deadline: 20 January 2021


SBRI: Innovate at HS2 2020, phase 1
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £300,000 to support construction and design innovation in HS2. Projects are expected to last up to 3 months.

Deadline: 16 December 2020


Development of the Digital Security by Design Software Ecosystem
UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million of funding to investigate requirements for adoption of Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies across the software development ecosystem. Project must last no longer than 6 months.

Deadline: 13 January 2021


Manufacturing Made Smarter Innovation Hub – Digital Supply Chain EoI
UK registered businesses and research organisations can apply for a grant of up to £10 million from ISCF to set up and run a digital supply chain innovation hub.

Deadline: 13 January 2021


SMEs transforming food production: series A investor partnership
UK registered SMEs that are transforming food production towards net zero can apply for a grant share of up to £5 million. Projects must last 18 months.

Deadline: 13 January 2021


UK and Canada biomanufacturing innovations in cell and gene therapies
A collaborative opportunity with the National Research Council of Canada for process improvement in biomanufacturing of gene and cell therapies. 75% project funding for costs up to £128,000 and projects must last up to 24 months.

Deadline: 23 December 2020


You can find further details of the funding calls on the Government website.

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