https://innovateuk.blog.gov.uk/2017/11/30/industrial-strategy-challenge-fund-more-challenges-more-opportunities/

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – more challenges, more opportunities

In my Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund October blog I suggested to keep an eye out for the announcement of the second wave of challenges – and now that the Industrial Strategy white paper  has been published I’m delighted to be able to talk more about them.  The next wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) starts here!

Before we go through the challenges – it’s worth reflecting on how we got here.

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9 ISCF workshops across 8 cities and a lot of people to thank

These latest announcements are the culmination of a substantial amount of engagement, deep-thought, debate, analysis and discussion with partners, experts and Government.  This all started with the 618 that helped us back in January when we held 9 workshops across 8 cities to explore possible challenge areas – followed by further development with 600+ experts who helped our expert terms to develop those initial ideas into specific challenges during the summer.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people that have helped us to get to this point.  In fact there have been so many of you have been supporting us that it’s not possible to name-check everyone here - but please do accept a very big thank you from me.

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The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund challenges

The Industrial Strategy, launched by the Business Secretary, sets out a series of grand challenges that our economy will need to address over the coming years, and the ISCF is there to make sure our researchers and businesses work together to find the solutions, so that the UK economy reaps the commercial benefit.

You can find more detail on each of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund challenges here but briefly, the challenges are:

  • Data to early diagnosis and precision medicine
  • Healthy ageing
  • Prospering from the energy revolution
  • Transforming construction
  • Transforming food production
  • Audience of the future
  • Next generation services (pioneer funding)
  • Quantum technology (pioneer funding)

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What we mean by pioneer funding?

You will see that in the list above I have referred to pioneer funding for Next Generation Services and Quantum Technology.  These are challenges with very strong potential, but that where we already recognise we need to develop them even further in partnership with the business, research and innovation communities so that together we can fully articulate the proposition and what we need to do about it.

We’re taking this approach so that UK Research and Innovation can act in newer, riskier areas and through an initial investment work with businesses, researchers and partners to really set the challenge.

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Looking further ahead to Q1 2018

One of the first things we’ll be doing to get these challenges underway is to recruit the Challenge Directors, so do look out for those adverts which should be out soon.  We’ll also continue to develop the challenges so that the first phase of competitions can kick-off from Spring 2018 onwards.

To date, the initial challenges have been based on a combination of priorities identified within government, the expertise of Innovate UK and Research Councils and through extensive external engagement. As part of the Industrial Strategy white paper the Government also announced that there will be more ISCF challenges in the future.  In doing this we feel it is important to reach out further still, so we anticipate this will start with an Expression of Interest phase in the first quarter of 2018.

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Your Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund needs you!

We’re looking for industry groups, business leaders, academic leaders and partner organisations to get together and can come forward with their thoughts for a challenge that will really make a difference and help boost productivity and earning power across the UK.

There’s a lot more work to do to explore these challenges more deeply and of course solve them, and it is vital that we continue to do that in partnership with academia and industry – so in advance, for your help, energy and commitment - thank you!

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