26 April 2019

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

What’s been in the news?

PoliSCIIPOPlan  IPO launch corporate plan and strategy

Science Minister Chris Skidmore has launched the Intellectual Property Office’s (IPO) Corporate Plan 2019-20 as part of its strategy to help the UK become the most creative and innovative country in the world. As part of the IPO’s Strategy 2018-21, released last June, it promised to:

  • Deliver excellent IP services
  • Create a world-leading IP environment
  • Make the IPO a brilliant place to work

Its corporate plan for the coming year aims for 75% of businesses it interacts with to confirm that they can make informed decisions about their IP, 90% of renewals to be conducted via the new enterprise-wide digital renewals service and have at least 85% of its customers rate the IPO 8/10 or higher for overall satisfaction.

‘If we are to keep pace and maximise our natural tendency to innovate, we need to create the right environment,’ writes Skidmore in the report. ‘[IP] provides inventors, creators and entrepreneurs with the confidence to invest knowing that they will reap the benefits of their investments. This plan outlines the start of the IPO’s transformational journey, which will provide truly modern IP services to its customers.’


UK universities agree open-access Springer Nature deal

Academics in the UK will now be able to publish without an article charge in open-access and hybrid journals ran by Springer Nature, in an agreement worth $11m that will run from the beginning of 2019 to the end of 2021. This is the first major deal struck between a research publisher and UK universities since the launch of the international Plan S open-access initiative last year. Plan S requires research results to be publicly available immediately by 2020, which is supported by UKRI. Currently, 77% of articles by UK academics are available freely at point of publication.

Speaking to Research Fortnight, Springer Nature CPO, Steven Inchcoombe, said: 'With continued funding to support the transition, and collaboration to support the awareness of the benefits of open access, we are excited to see what can be jointly achieved over the next three years.’


Four projects funded to improve local, clean energy approaches

Four government-funded smart energy systems demonstrator projects will show how businesses can develop local energy approaches at scale whilst providing cleaner and cheaper energy to users. Each project will also aim to prove new business models suitable for investment and provide evidence of the efficiency of their novel approaches by the early 2020s. The projects are the Energy Superhub in Oxford, ReFLEX Orkney in Orkney, Smart Hub SLES in West Sussex and Project Leo, which is being led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. They will be funded by the £102.5m Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge, which is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

‘We are at the start of a green revolution, as we move to more digital, data-driven smart systems that will bring us cleaner and cheaper energy,’ said Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry. ‘We’re excited to see how these businesses and project partners reveal how innovative tech, such as energy storage, heat networks and electric vehicles, can set us on the path to a smarter energy future. This is tomorrow’s world, today.’

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 8 May 2019

Deadline: 12 May 2019

Deadline: 13 May 2019

Deadline: 31 May 2019

  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Draft National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • Science & Technology Committee: Technologies for meeting Clean Growth emissions reduction targets inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

For Parliamentary Calls for Evidence please see the Parliament Committee page.

Funding competitions

Deadline: 2 May 2019

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £5m to develop innovative technologies targeting global markets with Canadian partners.

Deadline: 8 May 2019

A share of £2m is available from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop reliable extreme environment grade electronics, sensors, and photonics for robotics and AI systems.

Deadline: 29 May 2019

Up to £3m is available from the Global Challenges Research Fund for UK businesses and research organisations working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with eligible African partners.

Deadline: 5 June 2019

The UK and South Korea have announced a joint funding competition for up to £1m for R&D projects under the EUREKA programme.  

Deadline: 3 July 2019

UK-based SMEs can apply for a share of £1.5m to develop innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital technology to evaluate their product in a real-world clinical setting.

Deadline: 15 July 2019

A £2m pool of funding is available to UK businesses developing photonic technologies in partnership with organisations from EUREKA countries.

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