15 December 2020 | Bryony Parker

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

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EU Hydrogen Economy transition

The European Parliament has published a draft report on its European Strategy for Hydrogen. The report identifies areas that require clarification in transitioning to a Hydrogen Economy.

The European Parliament acknowledges in its report that only clean hydrogen (derived from renewable sources) will be sustainable long term and so low-carbon hydrogen will have to form part of the transition; the period of which is yet to be determined.

The report follows on from ‘A Hydrogen strategy for climate-neutral Europe’ published in July 2020 and highlights the demand to develop a sustainable hydrogen economy. Benefits for the EU include creating future-proof jobs, particularly following on from the COVID-19 pandemic. Investment into this will be significant, and so the repurposing of existing gas infrastructure may keep costs low.

The report also emphasises the importance of research, development, and innovation along the whole value chain of clean hydrogen to assist optimisation and cost reduction.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 15 December 2020 - graphic of hydrogen molecules on EU flag

Space research receives millions from UK government

The UK government has awarded £7 million in funding to boost the UK’s position in the space innovation landscape. Twenty-one UK organisations have been awarded a share of the funding which will go towards tackling climate change through Earth Observation or help to address satellite communications challenges.

One project involves Surrey-based Global Satellite Vu, which will build a new compact, high-resolution infrared camera for satellites to measure thermal emissions from our homes, schools, and places of work, supporting the government’s green economic recovery plan. Three Scotland-based projects will receive £850,000, two of which are led by The University of Edinburgh.

The funding comes from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP), which is the first UK fund dedicated to supporting the space sector’s development of innovations, allowing the UK to compete with other countries, like France and Germany, which have dedicated national funding for space.

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:
‘Space technologies have become deeply embedded in, and critical to, almost every aspect of our daily lives. With rapid technological innovation, space offers a broad and growing range of opportunities to support economic activity and protect the environment.’

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 15 December 2020 - image of a spacecraft in earth orbit - 3D rendering background

EU’s sustainable batteries legislation

The European Commission has proposed to modernise EU legislation on batteries, delivering its first initiative among actions announced in the new Circular Econmoy Action Plan. Improving the sustainability of batteries are among the key goals outlined in the European Green Deal which ultimately outlines the road to net zero by 2050.

Proposed mandatory requirements for all batteries include responsibly sourced materials with restricted use of hazardous substances, minimum content of recycled materials, carbon footprint, performance and durability and labelling, as well as meeting collection and recycling targets.

Introducing these regulations will allow more safe, sustainable and performant batteries to form the transition to electrification of road transport, reducing CO2 emissions. In addition, the commission expects to improve the collection and recycling of portable batteries from a 45% collection rate to 65% by 2025 and 70% by 2030.

Electric vehicle batteries must be collected in full and high recovery levels must be ensured to retain valuable materials such as cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead.

SCI PoliSCI newsletter 15 December 2020 - image of battery array


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


Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition
The government is seeking views on their latest plans for the agricultural transition around the design of the Environmental Land Management National Pilot.

Deadline: 29 January 2021

The role of hydrogen in achieving Net Zero
Written submissions are sought after to address the suitability of the Government’s announced plans for ‘Driving the Growth of Low Carbon Hydrogen’

Deadline: 8 January 2021

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


Innovation continuity loans: Strand 2 November 2020 follow-on competition
SMEs and third sector organisations can apply to receive a loan of up to £1.6 million for the continuation of planned or existing innovation activity due to sudden shortage resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects must last up to 3 years and start by March 2021.

Deadline: 13 January 2021


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


ATF: moving the UK automotive sector to zero emissions
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £7 million for technical feasibility studies to support the UK’s electrified automotive supply chain. Total project’s cost can be up to £1 million and must start on 1 April 2021.

Deadline: 27 January 2021

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

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