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Innovative Manufacturing Working Group Newsletter


Summer has arrived and for those of you lucky enough to be planning a well-earned break…  Enjoy the sunshine! For those of you not taking a break yet then, there are some tempting opportunities in this week’s Newsletter to keep you distracted!  I would just take a moment to highlight the Innovate UK Smart grant round for those looking for to develop from an R&D phase to commercialisation this is worth looking at.  But, beware this round closes on the  27th July.


Innovate UK: Fast Start Innovation Grants 
Deadline: 26 July 2022 
Innovate UK are offering these grants of up to £50,000 each, to provide a fast way to boost cash flow in order to propel innovative ideas that have a clear route to commercialisation.  Grants will back innovations in the seven technology areas outlined in the government’s Innovation Strategy, and which also can contribute to solving the net zero challenge.

Innovate UK: Smart Grants – April 2022 
Deadline: 27 July 2022 
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25million from Innovate UK for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. The grant provides funding for innovative research and development (R&D) projects across a variety of technologies, markets and research categories, including feasibility projects, industrial research projects and experimental development projects.

BEIS: Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Innovation Competition – Call 2 
Deadline: 5 August 2022 
BEIS is supporting the deployment of CCUS in the UK with up to £20million grant funding.  This call is split into three lots. Lot 1 is for projects developing mid-stage (TRL 3-5) CCUS innovation, with grants up to £1million. Lot 2 is for projects developing late-stage (TRL 6-8) CCUS technology, particularly demonstrating at intermediate (~100 tonnes CO2 per day) scale or greater, with grants up to £5million. Lot 3 is for next generation carbon capture technology feasibility studies of technologies at TRL 3-8 for deployment at a UK based site, with grants up to £50,000. You must register your interest in advance.  The deadline to apply for Lots 1 and 2 is 5 August 2022, and for Lot 3 is 2 December 2022.

EIT Circular Economy Community: Circular Economy Prize  
Deadline: 31 August 2022 
This prize is targeted at start-ups and SMEs who have an innovative service, technology or product around circular economy, and offers the chance to pitch your idea in front of an expert jury, secure a substantial financial award to develop your business, and to be part of the vibrant circular economy network.

SBRI: MRV Tools and Techniques for Land Based GHG Removal 
Deadline: 7 September 2022 
Organisations can apply to this Innovate UK fund for a share of £375,000 inclusive of VAT, to develop tools, technologies and techniques to assist and enable the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of land based greenhouse gas removal methods. The results of this project will increase in the credibility, confidence and uptake of land based greenhouse gas removal techniques.

BEIS: Industrial Energy Transformational Fund 
Deadline: 9 September 2022 
This funding supports industrial sites, such as manufacturing, mining, quarrying and material recycling, with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future.  It targets existing industrial processes, helping to cut energy bills and carbon emissions by investing in more efficient technologies and reducing the costs and risks of investing in deep decarbonisation technologies. Grants are available for feasibility and engineering studies, deployment of mature energy efficiency (TRL 8-9) and deployment of deep decarbonisation (TRL 7-9). IETF is also holding a summer stakeholder event on 8 June on Phase 2 to hear about the scope of upcoming competitions, learn about the eligibility criteria and network online to develop partnerships for the competitions.

Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2022 to 2023, Round 3 
Deadline: 14 September 2022 
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme allows a UK registered business or not for profit organisation to partner with a UK education institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or Catapult to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project.
Successful applications are partially funded on the following basis:

  • large companies may receive a grant contribution of up to 50% of eligible project costs, subject to a cap, with the business paying the balance
  • SMEs may receive a grant contribution up to 67% of eligible project costs, subject to a cap, with the business paying the balance

To visit the KTP site and find out more, click here.

BEIS: Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator – Phase 4 
Deadline: 19 September 2022 
You can now register your interest for this phase of this fund for the development and demonstration of technologies that could reduce energy consumption, maximise resource efficiency and cut carbon emissions in industry.

Small Business Sustainability Basics Programme 
Small Business Britain is launching this programme in partnership with Oxford Brookes Business School to help small businesses with sustainability planning, reducing their environmental impact, and to turn these plans into commercial advantage. The programme which begins in September, will be delivered over six weeks entirely via digital channels.

DIT: Internationalisation Fund   
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched its new Internationalisation Fund for eligible businesses in England. Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity (subject to eligibility and availability). To secure a grant, you’ll need to fund a proportion of your costs yourself. This varies according to where your business is based and will be either 40 or 50% of the total cost. The Fund is currently available throughout England except Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, which has its own similar scheme. Applications for businesses in London have now closed.

HS2: Business Opportunities    
If your business is near to the new railway, HS2 wants to find out more about you. HS2 is already using over 1,000 businesses near to the line of the new railway. This accounts for around half of their current supply chain. Over three quarters of these are Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), so there are real benefits already being realised by local businesses through our contractors. Their shopping list is varied. As well as tools, materials and services which are required for construction, they also need to ensure that their workforce (up to 30,000 people at the peak of the works) has everything they may need. This means that their contractors could also be looking for caterers, stationary providers, accommodation and much more.


Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability Insights Breakfast Meeting 

Deadline: 20 July 2022 (in person) 

This face to face event at Ramada Hotel, Coventry, will feature a series of interesting conversations about sustainability and the financial and non-financial support available to local businesses.  Coventry’s Green Transport Strategy and other green local projects will also be discussed.

Cenex: Low Carbon Vehicle 
Date: 7-8 September 2022 (in person) 
The seminar programme for this year’s Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event will combine low carbon vehicle, connected automated mobility and energy for transport themes. It will highlight the technology, policy and market trends that are driving forward market transformation, as well as the research and industrialisation that will help ensure a competitive motor industry supply chain in the UK. Click here for more details.

Embracing Digital innovation in the Rail Sector  
Date: 8 September 2022, 9:30-13:30 (in person) 
This event will hear from local Universities supporting research and development in rail and explore what support is available to SMEs through local facilities and Universities to assist them in their digital innovation journey, how to access this support and illustrate some of the technical and non-technical challenges that the current digital revolution is highlighting. Click here for more details.

Demand Hub: Engaging with Med Tech 
Date: 14 September 2022, 9:30-14:45 (in person) 
The DEMAND Hub (Data-Enabled Medical technologies And Devices Hub) has organised this SME engagement event in Birmingham, providing support to small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the right expertise that will enable them to successfully collaborate and move novel ideas from products and services through to apps and data technologies. The event will also offer a unique pitching opportunity for SMEs to receive 1-to-1 coaching from experts working within the field of commercialisation and technology translation. Click here for more details.

Constructing Excellence Midlands: Offsite Expo 
Date: 20-21 September 2022 (in person) 
This two day event will host the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers who are driving change in the construction sector.  It will showcase panelised modular solutions, pod and prefabricated solutions, and the latest in digital and BIM technology.  The event is being held at Coventry Building Society Arena. Click here for more details.

Rail Forum Annual Conference   

Date: 11 October 2022 (in person) 

The Annual Conference will be held at the ICC, Birmingham. The focus for this year’s Conference will be Delivering the Future; from strategy to infrastructure projects and from rolling stock to new ways of working. The day will be structured around a series of key themes and will include a number of presentations and discussion panels.

Rail Forum Members:. All bookings in excess of the free places provided as part of the membership will be invoiced at £50.00 per person plus VAT.

Non-Members: Non-members are very welcome to join the conference. A limited number of places are available on a first come first served basis. Tickets are priced at £250.00 per person plus VAT. Speakers will be announced over the coming weeks but will include representatives from HS2, GBRTT, Siemens and East West Rail. Click here for more details.

Derby University – Enscite Learning Labs – Workshops
This series of workshops is aimed at small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the aerospace, rail and automotive supply chain, which are based in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Click here for more details.

Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands/West Midlands Innovation Programme 

Expressions of Interest Now Open for the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator 

Deadline: 1 August 

The West Midlands Combined Authority welcomes expressions of interest from stakeholders to help shape the programme of interventions to be delivered through the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator. Aligning with the West Midlands Plan for Growth, the Innovation Accelerator will build on our Manufacturing and Engineering strengths and be focused on two key areas: HealthTech & MedTech and CleanTech. This stage of the process focusses on the Innovation Accelerator programme development. Please refer to the identified challenges and opportunities for each sector as these will help guide your thinking about appropriate and impactful interventions. A webform is embedded within the Innovation Accelerator webpage to assist with the collation of your ideas. You can read more about the Innovation Accelerator and submit your Expression of Interest here.

Innovative Working Groups 
For more details of our family of working groups please visit their pages. For ease here is a quick round up of their next events:

Job Opportunities 

Sandwell Council have the following role available:

  • Climate Change Programme Officer and Climate & Natural Environment Officer to join the Climate Change Programme team and support the key objectives of the council becoming carbon net zero by 2030 and the borough to become carbon net zero by 2041. Applicants are expected to have a strong background in climate change issues and experience of project working and liaising with partner organisations. Apply by 11 July 2022.

Our colleagues at Sustainability West Midlands are recruiting:

  • Young Director to join their board to gain experience and contribute to strategic decision making with the help of a mentor.  This would suit a young person who is passionate about building a better future for the West Midlands and can demonstrate a desire and track record to learn and inspire others.  Apply by 29 July 2022.
  • External Advisory Committee to provide independent views on what they do and to help them deliver against their Business Plan to 2025.  There are 10 positions available, and the Committee will meet quarterly in person in central Birmingham or via Zoom, for a maximum of two hours.  Apply by 29 July 2022.

A Wider View 

Innovate UK: Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility – Mass Transit and Deployments 
Deadline: 20 July 2022 
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £1.5m for feasibility studies into the use of connected and automated mobility as a mass transit solution.  Proposed automated vehicle services must be on physically segregated infrastructure.  Organisations can also apply for a share of up to £40mn of CCAV competition funding, to support new automated transport service projects.

University of Birmingham: Showcasing the Transient Aerodynamic Investigation (TRAIN) Rig Facility 
Date: 21 July 2022, 10.00-13:00 (in person) 
This event will give SMEs in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) area the opportunity to see how the TRAIN Rig could help in developing and bringing to market new products and services through specialist innovation support from the Innovate 4 Rail teams at University of Derby and University of Birmingham. The event will take place at RTC Business Park, Derby. Click here for more details.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) 
Dates: 9-10 August, 2022 (in person) 
This course will be held in London and is intended for those in business, commercial and strategically focused roles within such sectors; in particular those responsible for environmental matters, business sustainability and business transformation. You will leave with a clearly explained and independent perspective on how, where and why CCUS is happening now and could grow in future – covering the range of technological solutions and business drivers, including policy. In addition to reviewing existing CCUS approaches, the course will highlight new opportunities and integrated value creation possibilities through emerging carbon utilisation options. Click here for more details.


Dates: 4 October, 2022 (in person) 

The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency invites applications for projects to facilitate the transition toward a sustainable, circular, toxic-free, energy efficient and climate resilient economy and to protect, restore and improve the quality of the environment.