1 September 2020 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

Coronavirus: European Commission sign for deal with AstraZeneca

As part of the European Vaccines Strategy, the European Commission have moved towards a safer future by signing a deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

The agreement will allow all EU Member States to purchase AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, ensuring availability to all who require it. The Commission expect a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 80 million doses on behalf of all Member States, plus an option to purchase up to a further 80million doses once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against covid-19.

Ursula con der Leyen, President of the European Commission said “The Commission is working non-stop to provide EU citizens with a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 as quickly as possible. The entry into force of the contract with AstraZeneca is an important step forward in this respect. I am looking forward to enriching our portfolio of potential vaccines thanks to contracts with other pharmaceutical companies and engaging with international partners for universal and equitable access to vaccination.”

The European Commission has completed ‘exploratory talks’ with four other pharmaceutical manufacturers in relation to purchasing a potential vaccine against covid-19: Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac and Moderna.

SCI PoliSCI news - European Commission sign deal with AstraZeneca, image of syringe in hand


A new partnership ‘Processes4Planet’ will run as part of Horizon Europe in line with the New Industrial Strategy for Europe to transform the European process industries for a more sustainable society. The project will bring together process industry companies and sector associations, research and technology organisations, SMEs and other stakeholders.

The project aims to develop and accelerate innovations that will contribute to achieving a circular economy and ultimately Net zero by 2050 while remaining competitive. The project’s roadmap is based on four key enablers: process innovation (including energy mix and H2, electrification and Carbon Capture and Use), industrial-urban symbiosis, digitalisation and non-technological innovation.

Processes4Planet will expand the achievements of SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) while also playing an important role in the new Circular Economy Action Plan which strives for Europe to be cleaner and more competitive.

SCI PoliSCI news - Processes4Planet

UKRI R&I funds for life-changing projects for the elderly

Seven new projects are to receive backing from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Fund as part of the Healthy Ageing industrial challenge. The projects are run by small businesses, corporates, charities and local authorities and cover many regions in the UK.

The 7 regional projects known as the ‘trailblazers’ of the Healthy Ageing challenge each have their own purpose. A digital platform to identify care providers and match to those in need is just one of these projects where Artificial Intelligence (AI) will learn to predict the needs within a community and identify how this can be achieved.

Similarly, in Greater Manchester, a project aims to explore the market for technology-enabled care including products and services, designed specifically around the needs of older people.

Further benefits of these life-changing projects include raising the UK’s expertise in the quality of life for the ageing population, the creation of new jobs and boosting regional economies.

SCI PoliSCI news - Healthy Aging Industrial Challenge


Calls for evidence 


Potential of marine energy projects in Great Britain: call for evidence

The UK Government is seeking evidence on the scope for innovative marine technologies across Great Britain, this includes floating offshore wind and wave and tidal energy. This is intended to feed into the forthcoming energy White Paper.

Deadline: 30 September 2020


Funding competitions


Covid-19 Research Programme

The Health Foundation has launched a new research programme, with a focus on the impacts of covid-19 in the UK; service change in the health and social care system and health inequalities.
Grants are worth between £100,000 and £200,000 for up to 12 months.

Deadline: 30 September 2020

Health Foundation website


Global Effort on COVID-19 (GECO) Health Research

A new cross-UK government funding call for researcher-led projects that aim to understand the COVID-19 pandemic and its health impacts in low and middle income countries.
Grants are worth up to £1m per award with a duration of 18 months.

Deadline: 28 September 2020

UKRI website


Women in Innovation Awards 2020/21

10 Women in Innovation Awards are available to female entrepreneurs across the UK. The winner will receive a grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.
The grant is £50,000 for a project duration of 12 months.

Deadline: 14 October 2020

Gov.uk website


National Institutes of Health (NIH)

This FOA solicits applications responsive only to the COVID-19 public health emergency through support of the CARES Act. The funds will support a total of 5-10 Transformative Research Awards that bring innovative approached to the prevention of outbreaks and response to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Deadline: 30 September 2020

View opportunity and more information here


Medical robotics for contagious diseases challenge

This challenge is aimed at entries that could provide innovative ideas in support to the covid-19 pandemic and future global pandemics. The prize fund is worth £15,000.

Deadline: 30 September 2020

View opportunity here


IETF industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation studies

This competition aims to support projects for feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation.

Deadline: 28 October 2020

View opportunity here

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