Innovate UK has today published its Delivery Plan 2016-2017, outlining the main ways in which they will invest around £561 million in helping businesses to innovate and grow in the financial year 2016 to 2017.
The plan explains a number of significant changes to the way Innovate UK will work. These include:
a new sector focus that is easier for industry, investors and government to work with
a 5-point plan to underpin activity across these sectors
making their funding programmes clearer and easier to navigate
strengthening the way they connect businesses
increasing their regional presence
In the foreword, Dr Ruth McKernan CBE, Chief Executive of Innovate UK says, “Whether you have a small or large business or are involved in any way in innovation, this plan will explain how we are working this year to accelerate its pace – and ultimately increase UK productivity and growth.”
Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested £1.8 billion in innovation, which has been more than matched by the private sector. This investment has returned between £11.5 billion and £13.1 billion to the economy. They have supported innovation in 7,600 organisations, creating around 55,000 new jobs.
Funding opportunities for Agri-Food and Biosciences
Innovate UK will run two broad Health and Life Sciences competitions, and two broad Manufacturing and Materials competitions during the year, plus two ‘open’ funding competitions per year for applications from any sector. They will also run open knowledge transfer competitions through the year, and an open ‘growth and scale’ competition in Q3.
The Delivery Plan lists various priority activities including:
Improving agriculture productivity: through, for example, new breeding technologies, improved control of pests, weeds and pathogens and the increased uptake of robotics/autonomous systems, satellites, sensors and photonics
Enhanced food quality: developing high-value, healthy, nutritious foods of known provenance by supporting the reduction of salt, sugar and fat; increasing fibre and bio-fortification and developing new proteins
Biosciences: exploiting the outputs of bioscience and biomedical research will underpin many new products and services across the bio-economy. Gene editing, synthetic biology and analytical technologies will create the bedrock on which many new health and agri-food products will be developed
You can download the Delivery Plan from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/innovate-uk-delivery-plan-2016-to-2017
You can read a whistle-stop tour of the delivery plan by Mike Biddle, Deputy Director of Innovation Programmes at Innovate UK, here.