31 August 2021 | Bryony Parker

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

What’s been in the news?

UK Government news roundup

We roundup UK Government news in science and policy from the last few weeks.

As previously reported, the UK Government published its Innovation Strategy in July. More information on this can be found here and here. The strategy highlights that ‘Innovation is crucial to the UK, and is at the heart of ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’. The strategy highlights increased innovation in the private sector as an essential part of the UK’s future prosperity as well as achieving UK objectives to be a force for good on global challenges around climate, biodiversity, prosperity and security.

In similar news, the UK Government has launched the country’s first Hydrogen Strategy, which it is said will drive forward on commitments made by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in the 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

The Government said its analysis indicates that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based. By 2030 hydrogen could have a key role in decarbonising energy intensive industries like chemicals, oil refineries, power, and heavy transport. In addition, a UK-wide hydrogen economy could be worth £900 million and create more than 9000 high-quality jobs by 2030, potentially rising to 100 000 jobs and worth up to £13 billion by 2050.

More information on this topic can be found here.

SCI newsletter PoliSCI - 31 August 2021 - Government Roundup - image of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament in London

Covid-19 round up

We roundup Covid-19 news from the last few weeks.

The scientific academies of the world’s 20 leading economies, the S20, are calling on the G20 Governments to take immediate action to increase preparedness for future global pandemics. In a S20 Academies joint statement: Pandemic preparedness and the role of science, the S20 set out priorities required to shore up future global health security. More information on this topic can be found here.

In similar news, following the recommendation from the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), the government’s independent expert scientific advisory body, and a review carried out by the MHRA, a new antibody treatment developed by Regeneron/Roche has been approved for use in the UK. Administered as an injection, the monoclonal antibody is suitable for use in the prevention and treatment of acute Covid-19 infection for the UK.

As for vaccines, the UK Government has pledged to share 100 million vaccines, of which 80 million will go through COVAX to provide global access to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Plans are also underway through the Vaccine Taskforce for the future protection of Covid-19 as the UK signed a contract for 25 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The UK Government is backing a new trial known as OCTAVE DUO. The £2.2 million study builds on the OCTAVE trial led by the University of Glasgow and will determine whether a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine provides a stronger immune response in those with weakened immune systems.

Finally, Canada’s Government has established a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Moderna to build a ‘state-of-the-art’ mRNA vaccine production facility in the country. This ties in with the recent announcement of Canada’s biomanufacturing and life sciences strategy for the future. For more information on this topic, see here.

SCI newsletter PoliSCI - 31 August 2021 - Covid19 Roundup - image of Covid19 virus cell

Climate Change roundup

We roundup climate change news from the last few weeks.

Commenting on the recently published IPCC Sixth Assessment Report’s findings, which the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson called ‘sobering’, a letter signed by several senior UK Government scientists, including Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser advising on COP26 noted: ‘The release of the first part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report makes for stark reading… The report also dispels any notion that the effects of the climate crisis are abstract or distant. Extreme events are being felt across the world…’ The letter adds that while average global temperatures between 2011 and 2020 were 1.1oC higher compared with 1850 to 1900, limiting global warming to 1.5oC is ‘ambitious – but it is not fanciful.’ The letter continues ‘Working back from 2050, it is clear that reaching net-zero requires a renewed emphasis on science and innovation…’ More information on this topic can be found here.

In similar news, following on from the launch in June of the Together For Our Planet ‘Business Climate Leaders’ campaign, the UK Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffiths wrote to organisations in the manufacturing and technology sector to share the next steps to take for tackling climate change.

Finally, the UK Government announced it is backing a new research programme ‘Climate Services for a Net Zero Resilient World’ which will help inform future climate policy and will be led by a consortium of some of the leading authorities in environmental science such as University College London and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

SCI newsletter PoliSCI - 31 August 2021 - Climate Change Roundup - image of a polar bear on an ice shell

Calls for evidence 

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: 31 December 2021

Further information can be found here.

Funding competitions

Horizon Europe
To find more on eligibility for Horizon Europe funding for your sector, you can view the national contact points here and European Funding and Tenders can be searched here.

Further information on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe can be found here.

Further information on the SME and start-up fund can be found here.


SBRI – Healthy Ageing Social Ventures industrial research
Organisations can apply for a share of £3 million inclusive of VAT to develop products and services to support healthy ageing. Projects must have total eligible project costs from £50,000 to £150,000 inclusive of VAT.

Deadline: 15 September 2021


Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 14
Registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for capital centric investment projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK. Projects must strongly align to the Automotive Transformation Fund.

Deadline: 15 September 2021


SBRI: Digital Regulatory Navigation Platform (Health Products)
Organisations can apply for a share of £3 million to help develop a digital regulatory navigation platform for health product innovators. Eligible costs must be between £250,000 and £1 million and start by 1 November 2021, lasting up to 5 months.

Deadline: 20 September 2021


ISCF Transforming Foundation Industry - Small Scale R&D Strand 2
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million for small scale R&D projects as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Projects must have a total eligible cost between £75,000 and £250,000 and last between 3 and 12 months, starting on 1 February 2022.

Deadline: 29 September 2021


APC 19: Developing automotive technologies and growing capability
UK businesses can apply for a share of £25 million for late-stage R&D projects to accelerate a net-zero automotive future in the UK. Projects must last between 18 and 42 months and have a total eligible cost between £5 million and £40 million.

Deadline: 6 October 2021


Women in Innovation Awards 2021/22
Women with innovative ideas and who will inspire others can apply for a £50,000 grant and bespoke business support. Projects must start on 1 April 2022 and last for one year.

Deadline: 13 October 2021

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

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