Future funding for innovation

28 September 2017

Digital and tech companies from across the Sheffield City Region were told how they could access up to £25 million in public funds to help drive growth and productivity among small and medium size firms across the UK.

The Emerging and Enabling technologies funding briefing was held at the Advance Manufacturing Research Centre’s state of the art Factory 2050 and was led by a team from Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network –  two government agencies tasked with finding and driving the science and technology innovations in post-Brexit Britain.

AMRC’s Ruby Hughes creating a digital twin in the state-of-the-art Factory 2050.“This is the first time we have held a briefing at Factory 2050,’ said the KTN’s Digital Economy Manager, Andy Curtis. “It’s is the perfect venue to bring digital and manufacturing innovators together to explore opportunities for collaboration and funding.”

A packed boardroom heard how the new funding streams would focus on technologies ranging from digital manufacturing applications such as sensors, robotics, autonomous systems, and cyber security, through to space and satellite data and signals.

“Competition for funding is fierce, so it is important for people to get to these briefings if they want to improve their chances of success,” said Innovate UK’s Digital Lead, Matt Sansam. “The projects have to show they will add real value to the productivity and growth of SME partners and provide value for money for the taxpayer.”

Peter Hopton, founder of Sheffield-based tech firm Iceotope, revealed the secrets of his success in winning more than €3 million for Iceotope in funding from different agencies across the European Union. “It’s great to be able to support Sheffield businesses in applying for these funding competitions. Sheffield city region based companies have some of the best technologies in the world, it’s wonderful to network and present to assist in the securing of additional funding to develop and promote their technologies.”

Michael Faulks, Technical Director of Sheffield Internet of Things cyber security specialists, Ioetec, said the event had given him valuable insights into how best to access funding. “We are very successful in the intelligence sector, but we are also looking at innovative ways we can work with advanced manufacturers to ensure that cyber security is built into their systems and processes right from the start, rather than as a bolt on extra at the end.

“Being at the AMRC for the second time in a few weeks – I was one of a group of digital ambassadors from Sheffield Digital to take part in the AMRC’s Digital Meet Manufacturing initiative – has helped me realise that our approach to the Internet of Things could be a powerful tool to support the roll out of ever more digital technologies to make UK manufacturing not only more competitive but also more secure.”

The AMRC’s Head of Digital, Rab Scott, who introduced the event, said: “Innovate UK and KTN are to be congratulated for the work they do in driving forward the IR4 agenda. The AMRC is delighted to be working with them on our Digital Meet Manufacturing campaign, which is bringing innovators from both sides together in a way that should help accelerate the adoption of digital applications across diverse manufacturing sectors."

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