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Innovate UK

Trial tomorrow’s technology today

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Funding, Support

Imagine a world where…

Charging electric cars
Charging electric cars

Imagine a world where food orders are securely delivered direct to your car boot while you work. Or maybe you’ve given up on owning a car and use a car club which is all electric and the cars are recharged wherever you leave them. Or perhaps you are a bus user and love that your route is now using a hydrogen fuelled bus to eliminate air pollution and charge faster than an electric version.

Imagine no more

These future solutions offering greater convenience and a cleaner world are coming to the UK this year thanks to a series of projects supported by Innovate UK.

These ‘first-of-a-kind’ trials seek to:

  • demonstrate the solutions at a real-world scale
  • in the way customers would use them
  • for the first time

We’re willing to pay for UK innovation demonstrators

Internet of Things city demonstrator

A major hurdle for innovators is proving their novel products and services will work in a commercial environment. Without a real-world trial at a meaningful scale, innovators are unlikely to be able to sell their products or get insurance against warranty provision.

Such trials can be prohibitively expensive for an SME, and the majority of potential customers, no matter how keen for the solution, are not prepared to pay for the trial or run the risk of being first.

To help overcome these barriers and accelerate new solutions to market Innovate UK ran the First of a Kind Competition last year. The call specifically sought solutions to help provide the energy systems, transport systems and urban services of the future.

A full list of projects can be found in our list of funding competition winners 2017.

Phase 1 – reduce the risks

The first phase of the competition provided funding for consortia to prepare a business case for their ideas. Having the time to work with partners to ensure the benefits outweigh the cost of deployment brought the financial risk in the projects down. The technological risk should also have been low as proposals were expected to be about first time deployment at scale in a commercial setting rather than developing the core technology.

Phase 2 – try the future today!

Of the successful phase one business cases, a number of trials have now been funded to carry out their first commercial deployment this year. If successful, we expect them to be adopted quickly and scale fast, providing a step change growth for the SMEs involved.

What is really exciting is that UK citizens will be able to try the future today as the projects get underway!

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