£5m Available for UK/Taiwan Collaborative Innovation

Innovate UK in collaboration with Taiwan's Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT), has announced a new funding opportunity aimed at fostering international cooperation in industrial research. With up to £5 million available for innovation projects, this initiative seeks to unite UK and Taiwanese expertise to drive technological advancements and commercial success in several cutting-edge sectors.

Competition Overview

This funding competition is designed to support collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects that are business-led and focused on creating new products, services, or industrial processes. Projects must be innovative, involve technological risk, and demonstrate high market potential. Importantly, each project must include at least one partner from the UK and one from Taiwan, with funding for UK participants provided by Innovate UK and for Taiwanese partners by DoIT.

Key Sectors and Technologies

The competition prioritises projects in several high-impact sectors, reflecting the latest trends in technology and market demands:

  • Smart Technology: This includes next-generation communication technologies, semiconductor technology, and advancements in space technology.
  • Green Energy Technologies: Focus areas include electric vehicles, hydrogen transportation, renewable energy solutions, future grids, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage.
  • Smart Manufacturing: Enhancing automation and digital integration in manufacturing processes.
  • Biotechnology: Projects might involve the development of medical materials and devices that can transform healthcare.
  • Service Innovation: This sector encompasses the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and the latest in telecommunications standards, 5G and 6G.

Funding and Project Details

This competition closes at 11am (UK time) on the 17th July 2024. UK applicants can apply for a grant of up to £900,000 per project. Each project must:

  • Request no more than £900,000 in grant funding.
  • Start by January 1, 2025, and conclude by December 31, 2027.
  • Last between 24 and 36 months.
  • Perform the majority of their project work in the UK and plan to exploit the results domestically.

Consortium Requirements

Each consortium must include at least one business registered in Taiwan and ensure that all businesses are separate legal entities. This stipulation is key to fostering genuine collaboration across borders, as opposed to facilitating internal company research. The contribution of project costs must be balanced, with no single partner or country claiming more than 70% of the total project costs.

Innovation and Impact

Projects must demonstrate:

  • A clear, disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes, or services.
  • A robust business plan with documented market potential.
  • Practical financial plans with clear timelines.
  • Good value for money, which is a critical consideration in funding decisions.
  • A plan to deliver significant economic impact and growth through commercialization soon after project completion.
  • The benefits of UK and Taiwanese collaboration, detailing how international cooperation adds value.
  • A well-defined IP strategy for the use and sharing of intellectual property created during the project.
  • A clear route to market within two to three years of project completion.

What Next?

For a free consultation to discuss your project’s fit with the competition, please contact RedKnight today.

Pioneering Digital Transformation in UK Energy Networks

Innovate UK is investing £1.2 million dedicated to fostering collaborative projects that focus on the development of digital twins, enhancing data interoperability, and boosting cyber resilience across the nation's energy infrastructures.

This initiative is part of the broader "Building a Secure Resilient World" programme (BSRW), which aims to safeguard the critical infrastructure that powers our daily lives. The primary goal of this competition is to strengthen the cyber resilience of the UK’s energy networks through advanced digital solutions, particularly by supporting the creation and integration of digital twins.

What is a Digital Twin?
A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical entity, system, or process that can be used for simulation, analysis, and optimisation. This technology allows for detailed insight into the operation and potential vulnerabilities of energy networks, offering significant opportunities for improvement in both efficiency and security.

Competition Details and Requirements
The competition invites proposals that:
• Develop, support, or deliver digital twins within energy networks.
• Significantly improve the cyber resilience of these networks.
• Enhance the quality and interoperability of data across energy networks.
• Engage end-users throughout the development process and demonstrate testing in real-world conditions.

Eligible projects may also:
• Enable the development of digital twins specifically for energy networks.
• Improve the resilience of systems, technologies, data, and information within these networks.
• Foster increased collaboration among SMEs, energy networks, and researchers.
• Deliver products, services, or solutions with potential for commercialization.
• Help achieve the objectives of the UKRI’s BSRW programme.

Who Can Apply?
Applications are welcomed from SMEs specialising in:
• Cybersecurity
• Data interoperability
• Operational technologies
• Analytics and digital twins

SMEs from outside the energy sector are particularly encouraged to apply, highlighting the competition's focus on bringing innovative perspectives and technologies into the energy domain.

Funding Scope and Project Eligibility
The competition closes at 11am on 24th May 2024.  Eligible projects should request grant funding between £100,000 and £300,000 and must be completed within 6 to 12 months. All project activities must occur within the UK, and the results must be exploited domestically. The projects should be ready to commence by 1st October 2024, and wrap up by 30th September 2025.

Alternative Funding and Competition Dynamics
Applicants are encouraged to explore other funding avenues, such as the OFGEM SIF competition, to maximize their potential sources of support. It’s crucial to understand that this competition is highly competitive, and funding is limited. Even highly scored projects may not secure funding if the available resources are exhausted.

What Next?
For a free consultation to discuss your project’s fit with the competition, contact RedKnight today.

Wales Technology Awards 2024 Winners Announced

Technology Connected recently played host to the eagerly awaited Wales Technology Awards 2024, in collaboration with Headline Partner de Novo Solutions. The grand gala served as a platform to spotlight the remarkable accomplishments and ground-breaking innovations within Wales' thriving tech sector.

Hosted by BBC Wales news anchor Jennifer Jones, the Awards ceremony drew together 300 luminaries from across the Welsh technology landscape, including industry titans, representatives from the public and private sectors, and avid supporters. It served as a tribute to the significant contributions of the Welsh tech industry, showcasing its pivotal role in shaping communication, business practices, and global engagement.

One of the evening's standout moments was the presentation of the prestigious 'The Sir Michael Moritz Tech Start-up Award', shining a spotlight on the exceptional start-ups in Wales driving innovation in cutting-edge technologies. In collaboration with Hexa Finance, this coveted accolade was clinched by Optimise-AI, marking a testament to their creativity and ingenuity.

The distinguished winners of the Wales Technology Awards 2024 included:

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, the Guest of Honour, lauded the event, highlighting the crucial role of the tech sector in the Welsh economy and extending congratulations to the winners.

The Wales Technology Awards 2024 received generous support from esteemed industry organisations and stakeholders, including Headline Partner de Novo Solutions, Hexa Finance, Box UK, Deloitte, Wynne-Jones IP, HCR Law, CSA Catapult, Venture Graduates, and Cardiff Capital Region, BusinessNewsWales, NCL and RedKnight.

Avril Lewis, Managing Director at Technology Connected, praised the event's success, highlighting the pivotal role of Welsh technology in driving societal progress and combating global challenges. She reiterated Technology Connected's commitment to advancing Wales' tech industry and fostering innovation on the global stage.

RedKnight would like to congratulate the Technology Connected team for what was a fantastic evening of celebration. We are already looking forward to seeing what the Class of 2025 will have in store for us next year.

New release of EU Funding & Tenders Portal launched

The European Commission (EC) recently announced the launch of the latest iteration of the EU Funding & Tenders Portal, marking a significant milestone in its journey to enhance user experience. Drawing on the invaluable feedback from a diverse community of over 1.5 million users, which includes EU funding applicants, beneficiaries, tenderers, and experts, the EC has worked to implement improvements that cater to user needs and preferences.

This new release introduces a range of enhancements aimed at providing users with a more intuitive and immersive experience. Among the notable updates are refreshed interfaces across the Portal, with the homepage now prominently showcasing the EC's core services and functionalities. Powered by state-of-the-art technology, the funding page search engine has been revamped to deliver more precise and relevant results, ensuring users can easily discover funding opportunities that align with their interests and objectives.

For logged-in users, the EC has introduced affinity-based recommendations of 'calls for proposals,' tailored to their specific profile and preferences. This personalised approach ensures that users never miss out on relevant opportunities that could take their project forward. Additionally, to further streamline navigation, the EC has integrated a global search feature at the top right corner of the Portal, allowing users to quickly access the information with ease.

The EC’s commitment to continuous improvement means it is constantly striving to enhance user experience on the EU Funding & Tenders Portal. To provide a comprehensive overview of all the latest updates and novelties, interested stakeholders are invited to watch a 3 minute informative video, which highlights the key enhancements and previews what's to come in the future.

The European Innovation Council Impact Report 2023: a €70 billion deep-tech portfolio

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has recently released its annual Impact Report for 2023, showcasing its pivotal role in nurturing deep tech innovation throughout Europe. The report emphasises the EIC's status as a key investor in European innovation, with investments exceeding €1.2 billion in 2023 alone. Notably, these investments have catalysed an additional €3.5 billion in capital, demonstrating the EIC's substantial leverage in mobilising funds for ground breaking projects.

One of the report's key highlights is the significant growth in the total portfolio value of enterprises supported by the EIC, which has grown to nearly €70 billion. This exponential increase reflects the EIC's success in identifying and supporting high-potential start ups and scaleups in the deep tech sector.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, has lauded the EIC for its transformative impact on Europe's innovation landscape, emphasising the creation of a robust ecosystem conducive to critical technologies, which is vital for maintaining Europe's competitiveness on the global stage. Commissioner Ivanova said:

“The European Innovation Council (EIC) has emerged as a game-changer in supporting deep tech innovation in Europe. This Impact Report shows how the EIC supports the growth of high potential startups while at the same time building a European community of deep tech investors. This is crucial to ensuring the future of our companies and strengthening EU leadership in critical technologies.”

Moreover, the report highlights the EIC's role in driving the growth of supported companies, leading to substantial increases in valuation, employment rates, and revenue generation. Additionally, the EIC has played a crucial role in fostering unique innovations and facilitating strategic partnerships, further solidifying its position as a driving force in deep tech innovation across the continent.

Key impacts to date of the EIC include:

  • An overall portfolio value of EIC supported companies of nearly €70 billionan increase of over €20 billion in just over a year;
  • Impact on scaling up companies, with over 150 “centaurs” (valuation above of €100 million), 15 of whom have a valuation above €500 million including 8 over €1 billion (unicorns);
  • EIC companies averaging 35% employment growth and 68% revenue growth in the first 2 years following EIC support;
  • Attracting over €12 billion of follow-on investments, primarily from venture capital, corporates, and national promotional banks.
  • 1686 unique innovations generated from EIC research projects (Pathfinder and predecessors);
  • EIC companies and projects matched to corporates, procurers and potential investors resulting in over 125 signed deals.

For those interested in delving deeper into the comprehensive document which offers insights into the EIC's activities, successes, and future directions, you can download it here: EIC Impact Report 2023. You can download the key impacts summary here: EIC Key Impacts 2023.

Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) Round 4 Challenges

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is an Ofgem programme managed in partnership with Innovate UK. Its purpose is to support energy network innovation that will help achieve Net Zero rapidly and at lowest cost; deliver real net benefits to energy network users and consumers; and help the UK to become a 'Silicon Valley' of energy. The next round of SIF is being launched next week, with 4 new targeted innovation challenges.

Innovators will be invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI), outlining their idea to address the challenges. The EoI stage will give Innovate UK an opportunity to engage innovators in developing ideas before submission into the Call for Ideas; opening on Innovate UK’s Innovation Funding Service portal on 1st May 2024.

Successful ideas will have an opportunity to pitch their idea to the energy networks. Networks will then invite the most suitable pitches to partner with them to develop their idea further, with the aim of applying to the Discovery phase of Round 4.

Innovate UK will be hosting two introductory webinars to give a more in-depth view of the new challenges and explain next steps on how to get involved in this exciting new round of the SIF:

  • Thursday 7 March @ 11:00 am
  • Friday 15 March @ 9:00 am

You can register your attendance for the Round 4 Challenges Launch Webinars to ensure you are informed of the new challenges.

EIC Summit and R&I Week

The European Innovation Council Summit 2024, will take place on 18th and 19th March as part of the Research & Innovation week.

Celebrating the 40-year journey through the Research and Innovation Framework Programmes, the R&I Week 2024 will debate the future of R&I and shape the contribution to EU political priorities, in particular the EU Tech Sovereignty and Competitiveness.

Tuesday 19th March will be fully dedicated to EIC beneficiaries with workshops covering diverse issues for researchers and entrepreneurs, such as intellectual property rights, investments, or scaling up your company. Discover the full programme and list of speakers.

The R&I week also includes the Belgian Presidency event on Innovative Procurement, taking over from the EIC Summit on the late afternoon of 19 March and continuing until the afternoon of 20 March. After that, it’s the start of the Research and Innovation Days providing a full R&I related programme, closing at the end of 21st March.

To register, click here.

EIC Accelerator Updates

EIC Applicants that have received a ‘GO’ after submission of their short (Step 1) proposal can now familiarise themselves with the annexes in view of preparing their full application for the 13 March 2024 cut-off. These annexes include for example the simplified financial plan and equity needs, a detailed budget table for lump sum calculations and the ownership control declaration. In addition, ‘Part A’ of the full application form is being updated to ensure automatic collection of key data for the EIC, such as gender of the CEO/CTO/CSO of applicant companies, requested type of funding, and consent to share application data with EIC National Contact Points and the Enterprise Europe Network. This will further facilitate support to future applicants.

The updated Part A of the application form as well as all annexes are expected to be available on the Funding & Tenders Portal of the European Commission by mid February for eligible applicants who receive an automatic notification in the Funding and Tenders Portal with the submission links. In the meantime, applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the application forms and annexes in preparation of their application, but to wait with uploading the forms until the final versions are available on the Funding and Tenders Portal.

Annexes for applicants to the EIC Accelerator full proposal:

Tpl_Annex_Mandatory data and consent (HE EIC Accelerator full application)

Tpl_Application Form (Part B) (HE EIC Accelerator full application)

Tpl_Data Management Plan (HE)

Tpl_Detailed Budget Table (HE Lump Sum - EIC)

Tpl_Annex Ownership control declaration (HE EIC)

Tpl_Annex_Financial plan and equity needed (HE EIC Accelerator)

Eureka Programme Support & Partner Brokerage Event - 7th March 2024

Are you an innovative company based in the UK considering applying for an upcoming Eureka Network opportunity? The Eureka Programme Support & Partner Brokerage event aims to provide innovative UK companies with information on funding opportunities within the UK Eureka Network and support the building of international consortia through project idea pitching to broker partnerships.

The Eureka Network is an intergovernmental network connecting 47 countries through a joint platform for international cooperation in innovation. Organisations and companies applying to a Eureka programme can access funding and support from national and regional ministries or agencies for their international R&D projects.

Benefits of attending the event include:

  • Finding Eureka programme partners to form strategic international collaborations for submission to the upcoming Eureka calls.
  • Meeting experts in breakout rooms that are currently working on project ideas and pitch presentations. In addition, speaking with the UK Eureka Programme Management team who will be able to answer specific questions about applying for a Eureka opportunity.

Discover more about the upcoming Eureka funding opportunities including Eureka Eurostar's supporting SMEs and Eureka Clusters for supporting industry-led international communities focused on strategic technology areas including next-generation communications, low carbon energy, software innovation, advanced manufacturing & production and electronic components and systems development.

To register for the event, click here.

New EIC Board holds its first plenary meeting

The recent inaugural meeting of the new European Innovation Council (EIC) Board, held on January 10 and 11, 2024, in the prestigious imec facility in Leuven, Belgium, marks a significant milestone in the journey towards fostering innovation across Europe. This event symbolises the commitment of the European Union (EU) to spearhead innovation and sets the stage for strategic advancements in European research and innovation.

Appointed by the European Commission (EC) on December 13, 2023, the new EIC Board, under the leadership of its President, Michiel Scheffer, holds a pivotal role in guiding the direction of the EIC. The Board’s responsibilities extend beyond advisory roles; they encompass shaping the strategy, work programme, thematic portfolios, and, upon the Commission's request, advising on broader innovation policy matters. This structure ensures a comprehensive approach to innovation, integrating strategic insights with practical implementations.

The EIC Board is scheduled to convene five to six plenary meetings annually. These sessions are crucial for deliberating on the EIC's strategic and operational frameworks and advising the EC on various matters within their mandate. The recent meeting marked the first plenary session with the new Board membership. The primary agenda was to establish the priorities for the Board’s work in 2024, especially focusing on strategizing and implementing the EIC's objectives for the latter half of the 2024-27 programme. This session was attended by Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, who engaged with Board members in a fruitful exchange on the EIC’s priorities within the broader context of EU policies and the mid-term review of Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship funding programme for research and innovation, is integral to the EIC's mission, underscoring the importance of aligning the EIC's strategies with the overarching goals of the EU.

The composition of the EIC Board reflects a blend of continuity and fresh perspectives. Members serve in a personal capacity, with their terms set for two years, renewable twice. This structure facilitates the rotation of approximately one-third of the members every two years, ensuring a dynamic infusion of ideas and experiences. The current Board, comprising 10 members with renewed mandates from the 2021-23 period and 10 new members selected from a reserve list, represents a diverse and experienced group of individuals committed to steering Europe towards a brighter, innovation-driven future.

The mandate of these new and renewed members, extending until December 2025, symbolises a period of opportunity and challenge. As Europe navigates through complexities of the modern world, the EIC Board's role becomes increasingly vital. It embodies a strategic think-tank, poised to influence the direction of European innovation, making substantial contributions to the development and implementation of policies that nurture research, innovation, and education.

As the Board embarks on its journey to shape the future of innovation, its decisions and strategies will undoubtedly play a critical role in determining the trajectory of Europe's innovation landscape. With a balanced mix of continuity and new insights, the EIC Board is well-positioned to drive significant advancements in research and innovation, ultimately contributing to the prosperity and competitiveness of the EU on the global stage.