New funding available for industrial digital technologies

Many manufacturers have digital change high on the agenda, but often struggle to find practical ways to make it happen. Process automation developed through technology innovation can enable manufacturers to become more efficient, reduce costs of production and scale their operations.

To support this wave of change in the sector, the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) has announced funding of up to £30m in projects that focus on the use of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) to transform the productivity and agility of UK manufacturing.

Digital technology is changing our world at an astonishing pace. Robotics, AI, and machine learning will revolutionise how work is done. This funding opportunity is a great incentive for forward looking manufacturing businesses to lead the way in embracing digital change in the sector.

Projects must be able to achieve short-term impact and rapid technology development. The challenge will support innovation and deployment of IDTs across industry sectors via cross-sector collaboration and learning. 

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK based manufacturing business of any size;
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME);
  • collaborate with others; and
  • start their project by 1 December 2019 and end by 31 October 2021. 

Projects must focus on one of the four innovation themes being:

  1. smart connected factories, including the use of real-time data to optimise operational efficiency;
  2. connected and versatile supply chains, including information integration, communication, traceability and trust;
  3. design, make and test, including transforming product design, through digital technologies; and
  4. adaptable, flexible manufacturing operations and skills, including culture change and skills development to fully utilise technologies.

Total eligible project costs must be between £250,000 and £10m. Total funding available to each project must not exceed 40 per cent of the total eligible project costs.

Project funding under the ISCF does not preclude a claim for Research & Development Expenditure Credit (‘RDEC’). A project could therefore be part funded by the ISCF and also generate tax savings or a payment from HMRC of between 9-10p for every £1 spent on qualifying projects via the RDEC regime. A claim could be made on total project costs where they qualify under the RDEC legislation.

Applications can be made here and the deadline for applications is Wednesday 28 August 2019.