06 July 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

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

What’s been in the news?

€10B innovation fund to accelerate hydrogen

The EU will be investing €10 billion across the next ten years to support the commercialization of green energy. The first call will see £1 billion invested in clean hydrogen, as well as other low-carbon solutions for the steel, cement and chemicals industries.

As dependency on renewable sources increases, the fund will also be used to back the energy storage and grid management projects required to ensure resilient electricity supplies.

This fund will support the European Commission’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve this, the strategy is hinged on the production of renewable hydrogen, obtained through the electrolysis of water, using low carbon electricity generated by wind turbines and photovoltaic solar panels.

Green energy concept

Government commits to investing in world-class research infrastructure across the UK

Last week, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced new commitments and an R&D roadmap to ensure the UK is the world’s leading research and ‘science superpower.’

As part of this strategy, there will be an easing of restrictions on researchers entering the UK, meaning certain skilled people can work in the UK to rebuild the country’s economy and strengthen research and innovation.

Additionally, the government is providing a £300 million investment which will be committed to supporting the UK’s scientific infrastructure, as well as providing research institutes and universities with access to better lab equipment, digital resources and provide better support to research facilities.

This money will deliver new opportunities for international collaboration and strengthen relationships with European partners, as both parties will seek to agree on a balanced deal for participation in EU R&D schemes.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway added; ‘The R&D Roadmap will help us achieve our ambitions by unleashing the potential of science and research to embrace diversity, resilience and adaptability while tackling our biggest challenges such as achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.’

Society and plans for innovation

A call to improve alignment of research and societal values

Researchers from Wageningen University & Research, Institute for Advanced Studies, Austria, have concluded that while the European Union (EU) promotes social and ethical values in research and innovation, such values are not well integrated into research policy or practice.

Publishing their work in the journal Science, the research team, along with 18 partners said in a press statement ‘..New disruptive technologies like synthetic biology, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are accompanied with persistent and growing societal concerns about their social and ethical impacts. Failing to take the social and ethical values in research and innovation into consideration systematically; may increase distrust in science and its advances.’

Read more here.

Society and connections

Calls for evidence

 Call for Proposals needing rapid access to the Diamond synchrotron. 

Diamond is offering priority rapid access for projects directly related to SARS-CoV-2 virtual proteins. 


Deadline: Not specified 

 Developing a tree strategy for England

Help inform the development of an England tree strategy to support nature recovery, clean growth and the commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Deadline: 4 September 2020

Funding competitions


Covid-19 rapid response rolling call

DHSC and UKRI have launched a rolling call for proposals for research into covid-19. Research should cover an understanding of the disease, prevention and management of the covid-19 outbreak.

Deadline: 1 April 2021 

Manufacturing made smarter

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies help UK manufacturing supply chains. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.


Deadline:7 October 2020

 Repurposing of UKRI grants for covid-19 purposes

Apply to repurpose your grant to support research into covid-19.

Deadline: Not specified 

 Future flight

As part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the second phase of the Future Flight Challenge is launched. Funding is now available for innovations to help change the way we fly.

Deadline: Not specified

 Sustainable plastic solutions

Apply to win funding for early-stage, design projects to reduce plastics’ harm to the environment.

Deadline: 16 September 

 The Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI phase 1

Apply for a share of up to £10 million to help UK businesses and the public sector recover from COVID-19 in a sustainable way.

Deadline: 5 August 2020

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