2018 has been a rather successful year for us at RedKnight and we welcome the New Year with high hopes for an exciting 2019. But what do we really have to expect from January onwards? What are the upcoming competitions and which sectors are most likely to take centre stage? In this article we will take a look at the possibilities both Innovate UK and the EU have in store for us:

UK Plans in 2019
To understand what the UK’s plans for this year could be, we have to look the last Budget approved by Westminster in October 2018. The UK Government has committed to providing an additional £1.6bn to fund the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), which will focus around some (if not all) of the following challenges:

-Clean Air
-Reduction in plastic pollution
-Industrial digitisation
-Innovative Mobility (Road, Rail and Air)
-Industrial Transformation
-Cyber security
-Early detection of diseases
-Sustainable packaging

In addition, following the trend set by the Faraday Battery Challenge, up to £78m funding has been confirmed for the Stephenson Challenge to support innovation in electric motor technology, making vehicles lighter and more efficient. Other important key points to consider are the extension to the Government Start-up loans scheme until 2021 and a £25m boost to Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTPs).

On top of that, when the UK leaves the EU, amongst other things, it will also leave the Common Agricultural Policy, creating a funding void that definitely needs to be filled. Therefore, agriculture could very well be another important area to watch closely for new funding opportunities; at least in the medium-long term.

Finally, the Report on the UK’s approach to cryptoassets and distributed ledger technologies in financial services published at the end of October, might suggest these new technologies will receive particular interest in the following calls, also in light of the new £50m per year fund designed to address the most pressing challenges in areas such as public health and cyber security, and due to begin in 2021-2022.

EC Plans in 2019

March 2019 will mark the historical exit of the UK form the EU. Until then, UK organisations can still apply for EU funding (and they are warmly encouraged to do so). Thus, it is even more so important to understand what 2019 is going to look like.

The Commission’s priorities for 2019 have been clearly displayed in the Work Programme for 2018-2020, which sets the strategy for the last stage of Horizon 2020. The budget allocated for the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot competitions, will see a general increase: up to €552.26m for the SME Instrument competition and €247.50m for the Future Emerging Technologies Open competition. The budget for Fast Track to Innovation calls will be kept at €100m.

Here, we have selected a pool of challenges that are likely to be of major interest for the EU during this final Work Programme period:

-Blockchain technology
-Marine resources and sustainability
-Clean air and clean energy
-Food and Agri-food security
-Sustainable agriculture and rural renaissance
-Digital Health and early warning for epidemics
-Low carbon solutions

What can RedKnight do for you?

We hope this brief summary has helped you better understand what 2019 might have in store. If you have realised your innovation fits very well in one of the above areas, why not getting in touch with us for a FREE consultation? We can help you prepare your innovative ideas for the upcoming competitions, so that you can start the New Year in pole position!