Immersive Technology in Mental Health

Innovate UK’s £20 million Mindset programme is driving the growth of immersive digital mental health solutions in the UK.

A series of events are planned around the UK where you can find out more about funding opportunities, and the Mindset-XR Innovation Support Programme delivered by Health Innovation Network (HIN) South London.

These events are a great opportunity to:

  • Hear from innovators in this exciting and developing field and learn more about why this is important for mental health services.
  • Meet some of the current Mindset-XR award winners and XR innovators.
  • Hear about upcoming funding for Mindset-XR Round 3.

Who should attend? Anyone interested in mental health and immersive technology, including but not limited to:

  • immersive tech companies
  • clinicians
  • researchers /academics
  • innovators
  • regulatory/ legal organisations
  • voluntary sector
  • creatives with an interest in mental health
  • people with lived experience

The events are taking place in the follow cities:

  • Leeds - 25th June
  • Glasgow – 27th Jun
  • London – 2nd July
  • Cardiff – 8th July
  • Exeter – 19th July

To register your attendance, please click here.


UK-Canada: £3m Biomanufacturing Fund

Innovate UK is partnering with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to invest up to £3 million in innovative biomanufacturing projects. This initiative, part of the Canada-UK: Biomanufacturing of Biologics and Advanced Therapies Round 2, aims to propel the development and implementation of cutting-edge technologies in biomanufacturing, fostering flexibility and technical capabilities essential for the sustainable production of next-generation vaccines and therapies.

Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of this competition is to stimulate technological advancements in biomanufacturing. By encouraging bilateral research and development (R&D) collaborations, the initiative seeks to position both the UK and Canada to effectively respond to future health emergencies. Proposals must focus on innovative technologies that enable flexible, scalable, efficient, and cost-effective manufacturing of novel biological therapeutic products and delivery systems. Moreover, projects must demonstrate a high potential for commercialisation, emphasising the economic viability and practical application of the proposed technologies.

Focus Areas

Projects can focus on various areas, including:

  • Enabling technologies for biologics and advanced therapeutics
  • Delivery systems for proteins and nucleic acids
  • Novel biological products (e.g. vaccines and therapeutic proteins).

The competition seeks a portfolio approach, funding a diverse array of projects across different technologies and themes.

Competitive Application Process

Participation in this competition entails entering a competitive process. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 26th October 2024, closing at 11am UK time/ 9am PDT/ 12pm EDT).

For Canadian applicants, registration and submission of an Expression of Interest (EoI) by 2nd July 2024, are prerequisites for eligibility. Only Canadian micro, small, or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply, and failure to complete an EoI disqualifies them from funding.

UK participants must be part of an application submitted to Innovate UK, while their Canadian counterparts submit a parallel application to NRC. Both applications are reviewed independently by Innovate UK and NRC, with funding decisions made jointly. Successful projects must secure grant funding from both Innovate UK and NRC to proceed.

Project Criteria

Eligible projects must request no more than £600,000 for UK organisations and no more than CA$1 million for Canadian partners. Projects should start by 1st April 2025 and conclude by 31st March 2027, lasting between 12 and 24 months. Importantly, projects must commence on the first of the month, as reflected in the grant offer letter.

Balanced Collaboration and Commercial Exploitation

Collaborative projects must involve at least one UK registered SME and one Canadian incorporated SME, with a balanced distribution of total eligible project costs among partners. Projects should predominantly take place in the UK and Canada, aiming for a balanced contribution of efforts and resources. Additionally, proposals must clearly outline the intention to commercially exploit the results, either domestically or globally.

Restrictions and Compliance

Under current restrictions, the competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development, or supply chain activity involving Russian or Belarusian entities. Furthermore, all project costs included in the application must be eligible under the specified guidelines.

Leading and Partnering Organisations

To lead a project, the organisation must be either a UK registered business of any size or a Canadian incorporated, profit-oriented SME. The collaboration must involve at least three eligible, grant claiming organisations (1 from Canada and 1 from the UK, with at least 1 more from either the UK or Canada). Each UK partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on the project.

Subcontractors and Non-Funded Partners

The competition allows for subcontractors, with UK subcontractor costs limited to no more than 20% of the organisation's total eligible costs. Subcontractors can be from the UK and Canada, and the use of subcontractors from other countries requires a detailed rationale.

What To Do Next?

For a free consultation to discuss your project further, contact RedKnight today.


£8m Smart Shipping Acceleration Fund

Smart Shipping Acceleration Fund: The UK's £8 Million Green Initiative

Innovate UK, in collaboration with the Department for Transport (DfT), is spearheading an ambitious initiative to invest up to £8 million in innovation projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve air quality in shipping and port operations. This commitment is not just about preserving the environment but also about positioning the UK at the forefront of maritime technology and sustainable development.

The Drive Towards Sustainable Maritime Technology

The primary goal of this competition is to support detailed feasibility studies that explore innovative technology demonstrations of scalable smart shipping technologies. These technologies are expected to make significant strides in reducing emissions and enhancing air quality. From on-vessel systems to port infrastructure improvements, the scope of potential innovations is vast and varied, encompassing everything from energy efficiency to data-driven operational enhancements.

Applicants are invited to propose projects that combine technical and economic feasibility studies related to the development and demonstration of these cutting-edge technologies.

Competition Requirements and Scope

Projects eligible for funding must have total costs ranging from £75,000 to £750,000 and should be completed within a five-month period (1st November 2024 to 31st March 2025). All project activities must be carried out within the UK, with a clear intention to exploit the results domestically, emphasising the competition's role in boosting local innovation and economic growth.

The competition is comprehensive in its reach, targeting all sizes and categories of maritime vessels, from pleasure crafts to commercial giants, as well as various infrastructures, including ports, harbours, and offshore installations like wind farms.

Innovation Themes and Project Expectations

Participants are encouraged to focus on several key areas:

  • Vessel Optimisation and Smart Efficiency Technologies: Enhancing the operational efficiency of ships through innovative solutions.
  • Autonomous Vessels and Subsystems: Developing control systems and sensors that facilitate autonomous maritime operations.
  • Smart Port Operations: Utilising digital tools to optimise port and shipyard operations, including smart route planning and emissions monitoring.

Projects must demonstrate a potential for significant reductions in GHG emissions or improvements in air quality. They are expected to result in a robust plan for real-world demonstrations by the end of 2027, detailing the technical approaches, objectives, and business cases.

Collaboration and Regulatory Compliance

Successful projects will require collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including vessel operators, port authorities, and potentially, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Compliance with existing and future regulations will be paramount, as will engagement with DfT, Innovate UK, and any third-party contractors involved with the Smart Shipping Acceleration Fund.

 

Intellectual Property and Economic Impact

A clear strategy for commercializing the technology is crucial. Projects must not only anchor Intellectual Property (IP) within the UK but also outline how this IP will benefit the national supply chain long-term. The competition encourages participants from across the UK to contribute to job creation and economic expansion, particularly in regions with existing maritime expertise.

For a free consultation to discuss your project idea, contact us today.


£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.


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.


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.