UK Research and Innovation's Leap into Open Access: Empowering Knowledge Sharing

In a landmark move, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) ushers in a new era of academic openness. From January 2024, its comprehensive open access policy extends to monographs, book chapters, and edited collections, revolutionising the dissemination of scholarly work. This paradigm shift in knowledge sharing aligns with the growing global mandate for open access, marking a significant evolution in academic publishing.

Building on its 2022 policy for peer-reviewed research articles, UKRI now includes a broader range of academic outputs under its open access umbrella. The policy ensures that research funded by UKRI, a critical financier in the UK's academic landscape, is freely accessible to everyone. This democratisation of knowledge aims to accelerate scientific discovery and innovation by removing traditional barriers to information access.

The policy is a response to the scholarly community's call for more equitable access to research findings. It reflects a fundamental change in how research is shared, promoting transparency and collaboration across disciplines. The inclusion of monographs and book chapters is particularly notable, as these forms of academic outputs have historically been less accessible due to cost and distribution limitations.

The implications of this policy are far-reaching. For academics, it represents an opportunity to increase the visibility and impact of their work. Students, educators, and researchers worldwide stand to benefit from unrestricted access to a wider array of scholarly materials. This could particularly benefit those in developing countries, where access to academic literature is often limited. For the private sector, it will enable translation of research into innovative products, processes, and services to aid economic growth and job creation.

The response from the academic community has been largely positive, with many viewing it as a progressive step towards a more inclusive and collaborative research environment. However, there are also concerns about how this transition will be funded and managed, particularly regarding the financial implications for researchers and publishers.

UKRI's expansion of its open access policy marks a pivotal moment in academic publishing. By embracing open access, UKRI is not just enhancing the visibility of UK research but also contributing to a global movement towards a more accessible and equitable knowledge economy. While challenges remain, particularly in implementation and sustainability, the potential benefits of this policy for the global research community are immense. As this policy takes effect, it paves the way for a future where knowledge is a shared and accessible resource, fostering innovation and understanding across borders.


DASA has launched a new Themed Competition: Analysing and Understanding Audiences

A new Themed Competition titled "Analysing and Understanding Audiences" has been initiated by DASA, supported by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The competition aims to provide up to £1 million in funding for innovative concepts to analyse and comprehend audiences.
 

This competition, managed by DASA on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), aims to solicit proposals that can enhance the UK Defence's capacity in the area of "Analysing and Understanding Audiences." The emphasis is on pinpointing inventive tools, techniques, and methodologies that could assist in selecting, analysing, and comprehending audiences. 

 

Areas of particular interest include: 

  • Audience Segmentation 
  • Behavioural Insight Assessment 
  • Narrative Assessment 
  • Information Environment Assessment (IEA) 
  • Human Environment Assessment 
  • Network Analysis 
  • Channel Analysis 
  • Information Packs 
  • Assessment Metrics 

 

Key Dates and Funding: 

Up to £1m is available to fund multiple proposals. 

The deadline to submit a proposal is midday 30 May 2023. 

 

Dial in sessions: 30 March 2023 and 4 April 2023 

A series of 15 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions. 

Register for 30 March 2023 

Register for 4 April 2023 

 

More Information:  

For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today. 


Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme 2023

Join the 2023 Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme by applying now. Innovate UK KTN is seeking to choose a maximum of 15 SMEs for the programme with the aim of expediting their investment process. 

If your small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) is involved in the battery industry and you aim to accelerate your investment efforts, we encourage you to apply. The Investment Readiness Programme will assist you in refining your pitch to investors, gaining a better understanding of funding opportunities, preparing your investment materials, and delivering a compelling commercial story with greater confidence. 

Innovate UK KTN will spearhead the programme with support from the Faraday Battery Challenge, in addition to expert guidance from Mountside Ventures and Stronger Stories. Regular interactions with investors will be part of the programme, allowing you to navigate the fundraising process, build connections, and initiate your journey. 

The chosen SMEs will participate in a 12-week workshop programme led by Innovate UK KTN and facilitated by professionals and investors, including one-on-one mentoring sessions. By the end of the programme, you will have crafted an investor pitch, refined your proposition, and gained a comprehensive understanding of your financials and future plans. 

The programme will culminate in a live showcase event where the cohort will present to an audience of investors with an interest in the battery sector. 

 

Eligibility
: 

  • UK based SMEs
 
  • Organisations active in battery technologies for transport and energy storage.  
  • Organisations across the battery value chain (including cell materials and components, cells, modules and packs, recycling & enabling technologies) 
  • The programme is open to new participants only. If you have participated in the Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme 2021 and 2022 you will not be eligible to re-apply. 

 

How to submit your application:  

Step 1: Click on 'Submit Pitch Here' below  

Step 2: Create a new account* by clicking on 'Need to create an account?'  

Step 3: You can now start your application by clicking on the 'Submit Pitch Here' button  

*this will enable you to save your application before you submit, revisit to modify your application before the deadline, and check the status of your application 

 

Proposed timetable 

  • Deadline for applications: 5pm, 21st April 2023 
  • Application review and selection: 24th April 2023 
  • Cohort “get to know you”: w/c 1 May *(virtual) 
  • Workshop on Narrative and Storytelling: w/c 8th of May (live) 
  • Workshop on Funding Options and Strategy: w/c 15th of May (virtual) 
  • Pitch practice session: w/c 29th May (live) 
  • Panel to select companies to pitch at Showcase: w/c 7th of June (virtual) 
  • Showcase of selected companies to UK investors: w/c 10th July (live) 

 

*The dates are subject to change. Additional sessions will be added to address the cohort’s needs; participation in these will be optional. Mentoring support will also be available throughout the programme. 

 

More Information:  

For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today. 


UK-South Korea Collaborative R&D Round 2

Up to £2 million will be invested in innovation projects through a collaboration between Innovate UK, which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) and Korean Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP). 

This competition is designed to finance collaborative research and development (R&D) projects led by businesses, with a focus on industrial research. Its objective is to support innovative proposals that are jointly developed between the UK and South Korea. 

At least one partner from the UK and one from South Korea must be included in the proposal. Organizations based in the UK must apply to and receive funding from Innovate UK. 

Innovate UK will not provide any funding to the South Korean partner. Rather, South Korean partners must apply for and receive funding from either KIAT or KETEP, depending on the focus sector of the project: 

KIAT 

  • advanced manufacturing and materials 
  • artificial intelligence 
  • future mobility (including battery technologies) 

KETEP 

  • energy storage system 
  • Hydrogen 

Your project must: 

  • have a maximum grant funding request of no more than £500,000 
  • start by 1 November 2023 
  • end by 30 October 2026 
  • last between 24 and 36 months 

Your project must demonstrate: 

  • a clear game changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services 
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses and documents market potential and needs 
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines 
  • good value for money which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy or national productivity
  • the benefits of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where intellectual property (IP) can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within 2 to 3 years of project completion 

 

Competition closes: Wednesday 7 June 2023 11:00am 

Applicants notified: 14 August 2023 

 

More Information:   

The applications are open until 3 May 2023 11:00am. For more information and registration, please check here.  

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK Smart Grants and can help you develop a competitive application! If you would like help putting together a competitive proposal, please contact us today. 


Horizon Europe guarantee: application and grant offer statistics

On behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is delivering the statistic for 'Horizon Europe guarantee'. 

This data is updated each month and includes the total number of: 

  • verified applications submitted to UKRI, and the total grant value requested in these applications 
  • grant offer letters issued to applicants, and the value of the grant offers issued. 

The data is also divided according to the method used by UKRI to apply for the guarantee funds. 

 

Number of applications and grant offers made through the Horizon Europe guarantee up to 28 February 2023. 

Guarantee grant type  Applications submitted and verified  Value of grants requested in verified applications  Grant offer letters issued  Value of grant offers issued 
Collaborative Horizon Europe guarantee grants (hosted on Innovation Funding Service)  1,387  £614.0 million  1,206  £500.9 million 
European Research Council guarantee grants  211  £304.4 million  210  £301.6 million 
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions guarantee grants  359  £82.1 million  347  £80.3 million 
Total  1,957  £1,000.5 million  1,763  £882.8 million

 

 

Apply for Horizon Europe guarantee funding 

Although the UK is in the process of associating with the programme, the "Horizon Europe guarantee" scheme offers funds to academics and innovators who are unable to get their Horizon Europe grant. UKRI is distributing the cash through its grant mechanisms. 

To be eligible you must: 

  • be based in the UK 
  • have been successful at applying for a Horizon Europe grant with final submission deadlines on or before 30 June 2023 
  • have been included on the initial grant proposal as a ‘beneficiary’ with an assigned budget 

Before you submit your application for "multi-beneficiary funds," the coordinator and the European Commission must have signed your grant agreement.  

For "mono-beneficiary grants," the Commission's financing offer must have been withdrawn, or you must send a letter saying that the "grant agreement preparation" process with the Commission has been terminated. 

 

Follow the specific guidance for your type of grant here: UKRI guidance for the Horizon Europe guarantee scheme. 

Source: UK Research and Innovation 


DASA launches two new Innovation Focus Areas

In order to achieve strategic goals, the Defence Artificial Intelligence Centre (DAIC) will enhance the capability of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to use artificial intelligence (AI) effectively. A new Innovation Focus Area (IFA), Artificial Intelligence for Defence, is being launched by Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Defence AI Centre (DAIC). A purpose of this IFA is to invite proposals for innovative research projects aiming to implement AI within Defence and/or to overcome common barriers to implementing AI. This IFA seeks to use a variety of AI advances, including autonomous logistics, machine-speed decision-making, and human-machine teaming for military purposes, to significantly advance defence. 

 

Applying AI to address defence challenges: 

The UK's aim to adapt and utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI) at pace and scale for defence advantage is outlined in the Defence AI Strategy (DAIS). This IFA gives innovators the chance to recommend AI projects to defence in an effort to bring the best ideas from a diverse range of innovators. By using AI application to address defense challenges, the UK and its allies will be capable to maintain an advantage in defence and security.  Defence is willing to utilize the efficiency gains that AI is delivering to a variety of other industries. Examples of intended outcomes from AI include changes in: 

  • the quality and timeliness of intelligence data available to military commanders 
  • the effectiveness in planning and conducting operations 
  • reducing the risk to life of armed forces personnel through the use of uncrewed, autonomous platforms 
  • automating routine tasks to free defence personnel up to do higher value activities 
  • achieving better value for the taxpayer by making the business of defence more efficient 

 

DASA and DAIC are interested in funding proposals that bring significant benefits to defence through the use of AI. 

  • autonomous logistics and any research with the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of the logistics chain or increase availability 
  • exploiting operational data, e.g., to support intelligence analysis, or to protect the force. This could require using open-source data or classified data from any source, including sensors; if the exploitation of the innovation is likely to use classified data, your proposal would benefit from considering how this could be achieved (please note that no classified data will be provided) 
  • human-machine teaming for military effect (including the use of autonomous systems within the force, and the coordination of multiple crewed / autonomous systems) 
  • machine-speed decision making (e.g., to support operational planning and command and control) 
  • increasing efficiency, or how defence manages and supports its people and its systems 

 

Read the full IFA and submit a proposal. 

Source: Defence and Security Accelerator, www.gov.uk 


Has the UK-Horizon Europe Association reached a breakthrough?

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says, the moment the Protocol agreement is approved, negotiations on the UK rejoining the science research programme can start. 

In an effort to resolve the problems affecting post-Brexit trade and regulations in Northern Ireland, the president of the European Commission and Rishi Sunak have reached a "in principle" agreement to revise the protocol.  

Additionally, Ms. von der Leyen claimed that approval of the Windsor Framework would make it possible for the UK to rejoin the €95.5 billion (£84.1 billion) Horizon programme. "This Windsor Framework is fantastic news for scientists and researchers in the European Union and in the UK," she told a press conference in Windsor. 

Academics, lobbyists, and politicians are urging the two sides to complete affiliation as quickly as possible after 18 months of uncertainty as it appears that the main barrier to the UK joining Horizon Europe has been removed. 

According to MEP Christian Ehler, a rapporteur for Horizon Europe in the European Parliament, the Windsor framework was a significant development in the relationship between the EU and the UK. “If a large majority in Westminster supports this agreement, the UK will once again be a trustworthy partner for the EU, and we must immediately complete the UK's association with Horizon Europe”, he said. 

The UK government has consistently pledged that researchers and firms will get at least as much money from the EU initiative during the 2021–27 EU budget term if the UK is permanently excluded from Horizon Europe. In accordance with the TCA (Trade and Cooperation Agreement) , the UK would be permitted to take part in the Copernicus earth and space observation initiative in exchange for making an annual financing contribution of about €2 billion. 

 

Sources: SCIENCE|BUSINESS, iNews, EURACTIV 


Sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture: CR&D

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £12 million for this competition. The funding is intended to support projects that can demonstrate how the use of biomanufacture based products can reduce waste and carbon emissions, as well as improve the efficiency of the production process. Ultimately, the goal is to create more sustainable products that have a positive environmental impact. 

The goal of this challenge is to create and implement innovative, disruptive, sustainable biomanufacturing by 2050. enhancing the UK's ability to compete globally by encouraging cooperative research and development (CR&D) across various industries and sectors. 

Businesses and researchers will be able to collaborate on projects to create more innovative and sustainable bio-based products, biotechnology processes, and products. 

 

Your project must: 

  • have total costs between £300,000 and £1 million 
  • start by 1 October 2023 
  • end by 30 September 2025 
  • last between 12 and 24 months 
  • be collaborative 
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK 
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK 

 

In accordance with current restrictions, Russian, Belarusian, or Myanmar organisation cannot serve as the lead, partner, or subcontractor in any procurement, commercial, business development, or supply chain activity funded by this competition. All Russian, Belarusian, and Myanmar goods and services fall under this category. 

 

Your proposal must support organisations in biomanufacturing in the future to be: 

  • net zero and resource efficient 
  • resilient and responsive 
  • technologically advanced and digital 

 

Your project must address the challenge of developing innovations in sustainable biomanufacturing processes like: 

  • increasing the use of bio-based feedstocks 
  • using biotechnology for alternative bio-based chemical replacements including low carbon polymers and, liquid and gaseous fuels for transport, heating and renewable energy 
  • enhancing the sustainability profile of biotechnology processes 
  • innovative use and re-use of renewable feedstocks 
  • biotechnology-based manufacture processes for sustainable and circular products with whole systems approach 
  • consideration of broader life cycle thinking 

 

Competition opens: Tuesday 7 March 2023 

Competition closes: Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:00am 

 

More Information:  

The applications are open until Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:00am. For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today. 


Energy Catalyst Round 10: Early, Mid and Late Stage

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will collaborate with Innovate UK, a division of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £10 million in innovation initiatives. This funding is part of the Ayrton Fund. 

This contest aims to quicken the innovations required to expand or improve clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or the Indo-Pacific regions. In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 and 13, an equitable and inclusive energy transition must be established, and all people must benefit from clean energy. 

 

Your proposal must focus on: 

  • improving energy access in Official Development Assistance (ODA)eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions 
  • having a technology or business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon 

 

This competition is split into 3 strands: 

 

More Information:  

The applications are open until Wednesday 28 June 2023 12:00pm. For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today. 


EIC fund invests €331 million into European deep-tech companies

Since the last announcement in November 2022, the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund) has invested a total of €331 million in 42 new deep-tech enterprises. Investment agreements have already been signed by 13 companies. A new type of computer vision software and robotics technologies for orthopaedic surgeons, visual search technologies for businesses and industry applications, breast self-reconstruction with patients' own tissue, innovative photonics, improved food production with reduced emissions, and a first miniaturised universal gas analyser for all renewable gases are among the pioneering start-ups that are poised to bring ground breaking innovations to citizens and businesses. 

 

As the EIC Fund is now fully operational, this represents a tremendous advancement. The EIC Fund has made a total of 77 investments totalling over €521 million in deep-tech firms since the appointment of an external fund manager in September 2022. These investments have helped high-risk start-ups launch and expand their unique ideas in key European markets. 

 

For start-ups and small businesses in Europe, the EIC Fund, the investment component of the EIC Accelerator, is a crucial source of capital. The EIC Accelerator grant financing of up to €2.5 million is supplemented by equity investments, which range from €500,000 to €15,000,000 per firm (higher in warranted circumstances). 269 out of the 378 chosen enterprises under Horizon Europe have so far signed their grant agreements. By signing grant agreements with chosen companies within 4-5 months, the EIC is now meeting the goal set by the EIC Board.