Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.
What’s been in the news?
Omicron variant roundup
The following is a roundup of news about the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
The UK Prime Minister has updated the latest guidance on Covid-19 due to the increase in cases of the new Omicron variant. International efforts are being made to understand as much as possible about the new variant.
President von der Leyen also spoke publicly about concerns of the new variant and, commenting on the vaccines, said: ‘The European Union's contract with the manufacturers says that the vaccine must be adapted immediately to new variants as they emerge’.
In similar news, the G7 published a joint statement to reiterate their commitment to Global Health, recognising the importance of access to vaccines and supporting research and development. They also praised the efficiency of South Africa in identifying the new variant and raising global awareness.
UK’s position in Horizon Europe
Last week, the UK Government announced a new scheme l guaranteeing funding to the first wave of successful UK applicants to Horizon Europe who have been unable to sign grants with the EU. The funding will be delivered by UKRI and aligns with the announcement at the Spending Review 2021 that in the event the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe, funding will still be allocated to UK Government R&D programmes.
UKRI International Champion Professor Christopher Smith said: ‘We are also working with the government to prepare for all possible outcomes to ensure the UK’s thriving research and innovation sector has the support it needs to continue collaborating and delivering world-class R&D. In the meantime we encourage researchers and innovators across the UK to continue to apply to open Horizon Europe calls.’
European Commission launches Global Gateway
The European Commission has launched the Global Gateway, a new European Strategy which aims to increase investments promoting green and clean, secure infrastructures tackling global challenges such as sustainability and global health. It brings together EU Member States alongside the European Investment Bank (EIB).
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “COVID-19 has shown how interconnected the world we live in is. As part of our global recovery, we want to redesign how we connect the world to build forward better.’ ‘We will support smart investments in quality infrastructure, respecting the highest social and environmental standards, in line with the EU's democratic values and international norms and standards. The Global Gateway Strategy is a template for how Europe can build more resilient connections with the world.’
UK trade negotiations
Submissions are welcomed on UK trade negotiations with the EU including views on the objectives of the Department for International Trade for Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Deadline: Open for submissions
Aligning the UK's economic goals with environmental sustainability
The Environmental Audit Committee is seeking views on how HM Treasury could incorporate environmental sustainability into its leading measures of the UK’s economic success.
Deadline: 7 January 2022
Diversity in STEM
The Science and Technology Committee is seeking views on how to address underrepresentation or particular groups in STEM roles and improve diversity in STEM.
Deadline: 14 January 2022
Further information can be found on the UK Parliament website.
To find more on eligibility for Horizon Europe funding for your sector, you can view the national contact points on the Government website as well as search for the European Funding and Tenders. Further information on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe is available in the UK participation in Horizon Europe document.
Further information on the SME and start-up fund can be found on the European Commission website.
Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 17:
Registered businesses can apply for up to £1 billion for projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK. Grants are available as part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) programme.
Deadline: 12 January 2021
Innovate UK Smart Grants: October 2021
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing R&D innovation. Funding is awarded as a grant through Innovate UK and projects must start by 1 July 2022 and include one micro SME or SME.
Deadline: 12 January 2021
NATEP helping SMEs innovate in aerospace - Autumn 2021
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million as part of the ATI Programme. Industry-led civil aerospace collaborative R&D projects must last between 12 and 18 months and end by 31 March 2024.
Deadline: 12 January 2021
Made Smarter Innovation: Sustainable Smart Factory
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20m as a grant for digital innovation projects. Projects must use digital innovations to deliver sustainable solutions and have eligible costs between £1-8 million.
Deadline: 26 January 2021
Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2021 to 2022, round 5
UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £8 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profits. Innovation projects must last between 12 and 36 months and tackle challenges faced by the business partner.
Deadline: 2 February 2021
You can find further details of the funding calls on the Government website