Foundation industries: building a resilient recovery: apply for funding

Foundation industries – cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and bulk chemicals – are vital for the UK’s manufacturing and construction sectors.

Combined, they are worth about £52 billion to the UK economy but they face common challenges:

  • consumption of raw materials and energy use leading to significant operating costs and environmental impact, including 10% of all UK CO2 emissions
  • operating in an internationally competitive landscape with long investment cycles
  • benefits of innovation are not shared throughout the supply chain, limiting incentives to invest

The Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge, part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is investing £66 million in a partnership with UK businesses to develop sustainable technologies that reduce the environmental impact of the Foundation Industries (Cleantech for heavy industries).

This is to ensure that these sectors remain internationally competitive and are ready to meet the government commitment of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £8 million from the fund to invest in innovative research and development projects that address resource or energy efficiency of foundation industries.

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Projects should focus on resource or energy efficiency

Projects must demonstrate how they address resource or energy efficiency of foundation industries and support resilience and sustainability of the sector and its supply chains.
Applicants can include techno-economic assessment of new products, services and business models and must:

  • help the UK’s foundation industries remain globally competitive and become more environmentally sustainable
  • indicate how the innovation helps meet the needs of business and/or industry as it emerges from Covid-19 pandemic and aids rapid recovery
  • demonstrate that the business has the capability to deliver the project
    We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, sectors, technological maturities and research categories.

Projects can focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • establishing long-term viability of domestic supply chains
  • new markets
  • new business models
  • new products and services
  • new processes

Competition information

  • the competition is open and the deadline for applications is at 11am on 4 November 2020
  • UK businesses of any size and research and technology organisations may apply
  • total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £1 million


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