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Nick Hill

Government allocates £1bn to Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investments

The Government is investing £1bn in new technologies to create jobs and raise living standards, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced Friday (April 21st).

The funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) will be spent across six key areas over the next four years, which will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.

The Government has worked with businesses and academics to identify core industrial challenges, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of which the UK can become world-leading.

Through the ISCF, the Government’s funding allocations are designed to help deliver a step-change in the UK’s ability to turn strengths in research into commercialised products.

The first three areas set to receive investment through the fund are healthcare and medicine, clean and flexible energy, and robotics and artificial intelligence. The Business Secretary has confirmed the total investment in each field.

Over the four year period, clean and flexible energy will receive an investment of £246m to help UK businesses in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Secondly, Healthcare and medicine will also secure an investment of £197m to develop technologies for the manufacture of medicines that will speed up patient access to new drugs and treatments, building on the exporting strengths of the UK’s biopharmaceutical sector.

Thirdly, robotics and artificial intelligence will receive investment of £93m to make industry and public services more productive, by developing A.I and robotics systems that can be deployed in extreme environments which occur in offshore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining.

Greg Clark also confirmed today that, subject to business case approval, the three additional areas that will be receiving ISCF grants in the next four years.

Firstly, the Government will be investing a further £38m in new collaborative research and development projects in driverless car technology. This sector is predicted to be worth £63bn by 2035.

Manufacturing and future materials will also enjoy a new £26m fund for research and development programmes. The Government will support the UK’s civil aerospace industry, a sector which employs over 230,000 people, to develop the next generation of affordable lightweight composite materials for aerospace, automotive and other advanced manufacturing sectors.

Finally, the ISCF will provide funding for a £99m Satellite Test Facility supporting new launch technologies and the manufacturing and testing capabilities that will allow the UK to construct future satellites and deliver payloads into orbit.

Further announcements on allocations, including dual support funding, will be made in due course.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “As part of our Plan for Britain this Government wants to create a modern industrial strategy to support the key sectors of our economy and spread jobs, prosperity and opportunity around the whole country.

“Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we will provide an enormous boost to our world-class research and development sector, to help turn brilliant British innovations into new businesses and good jobs.

“The UK is home to some of the world’s best innovators at the very forefront of global excellence. The funding I am announcing today, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of support to develop the next generation of technologies across a range of sectors, shows our determination and commitment to making sure the UK remains at the very forefront of research innovation for years to come.”

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, added: “Addressing the UK’s productivity gap is key to raising living standards and ensuring we are match fit to compete in the global economy. That is why I created the £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund.

“As we leave the EU, we are determined to help Britain’s innovators compete with the best and seize the opportunities ahead, and this money will help advance our position as a global leader in developing cutting-edge technologies.”

Innovate UK has also confirmed that it will be supporting a £10m first wave of projects through the ISCF in each of the six areas with a number of smaller projects, starting in 2017-18.

To support delivery of the ISCF, the Government announced at the Spring Budget it will invest £250m over the next four years to continue to build the pipeline of research talent.

The Government has now concluded its eight-week consultation on its Industrial Strategy following its open call to people, businesses and local groups across the country to contribute to the vision set out in the Green Paper. Responses will now be considered before a white paper is published later in the year.

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