Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.
What’s been in the news?
UK Government to explore new model for UK REACH
The UK Government has said that it wants to ‘…explore whether there are opportunities to reduce the need for industry to replicate existing EU REACH data by placing a greater emphasis on understanding how chemicals are used in GB.’
The Government’s position coincided with an open letter to the UK’s Chemical Industries Association in which George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said; ‘I am aware of concerns around accessing data packages to support UK REACH transition, including the cost to businesses. Because of that, I have asked my officials to work with the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency to explore a new model for transitional registrations. The model they have proposed would reduce the need for replicating EU REACH data packages by placing greater emphasis on improving our understanding of the uses and exposures of chemicals in the GB context.’
The EU REACH Regulation was brought into UK law on 1 January 2021, and is known as UK REACH. This applies to businesses that import, make, sell or distribute in Great Britain, whether as raw materials or in their finished state.
For more information on this topic, you can read the full article on our website.
STEM for Britain 2021 Awards Ceremony
The 2021 STEM for Britain Awards Ceremony held at Portcullis House on 6 December saw the Westminster Medal, which is sponsored by SCI, awarded to Ben Fernando from the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford following the online poster sessions and announcement of the winners event in March 2021. The event was well attended by the society sponsors, council members and winners of the Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. Ben’s poster: Seismology at the Extremes: From the Oceans to Mars outlined a code described as ‘The first open source method capable of simulating seismic wave propagation in the oceans and atmosphere on a global scale in 3D.’ This methodology is also said to be more efficient than conventional methods, resulting in lower energy and environmental costs for simulations.
Introduced by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, a member of SCI’s Board of Trustees and Chair for Scotland Food and Drink, represented SCI at the event alongside members Susan Grayeff and Andrew Parton as members of SCI’s London regional group.
Five categories are represented at the STEM for Britain event; these being: Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Chemistry. Each category sees gold, silver and bronze medals awarded. The winner of the Westminster Medal is decided from the five gold medal winners for the poster which communicates its science the best. Prior to Ben receiving the Westminster Medal, Lucinda said: ‘Being able to communicate your work to others is a critical skill, as it enables you to engage in a potential development of the science or technology and helps explain its importance to others’. Lucinda also acknowledged Dr Eric Wharton and Sue Wharton - Dr Eric Wharton was an SCI London Group Chair and founder of SET for Britain, which is now STEM for Britain.
Photo – Left to right:
Susan Grayeff (SCI London Regional Interest Group), Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne (SCI Trustee), Nikita Patel (QMUL), Ben Lewis (Imperial College London), Ben Fernando (University of Oxford), Bryony Parker (SCI), Andrew Parton (SCI London Regional Interest Group), Bernard Cooper (University of Glasgow), Scott Harper (University of Bristol), Stephen Metcalfe MP. | Photography credit to: John Deehan Photography and the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee’
Support for SMEs
The following is a roundup of news around support for SMEs.
Following on from Small Business Saturday, an annual event to encourage consumers to purchase from small businesses, the UK Government has published a ‘Selling to Government Guide’ for SMEs containing guidance for winning bids in government contracts. The guidance also includes how businesses can navigate supply chains and work with larger organisations.
Cabinet Office Minister Lord Agnew said: ‘…we want it to be easier for [SMEs] to work with government and this guide, published in support of Small Business Saturday, will help small businesses navigate what can be a complex world of public procurement.’
In similar news, the UK Trade Secretary is encouraging SMEs to make use of new trade deals. This follows on from the Department of International Trade (DIT) publishing an Export Strategy ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ to encourage small businesses to export. SMEs are being encouraged to sign up to the UK Export Academy which provides training for SMEs in selling to customers globally.
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 of groups in STEM roles and improve diversity in STEM.
Deadline: 7 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 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