September 17, 2021

Government sets out a new round of funding as it eyes innovation across the UK

The monetary support from the government to back the under-aided projects and initiatives has been significant over the years. The new rounds of funding announced for industries and businesses become more vital, especially at a time when most of the enterprises are battling to re-establish themselves, overcoming the Covid-led troubles and the unforeseen disruption caused due to national lockdowns and restrictive operating environment.

Building back green in a more innovative manner has been one of the main agendas of the UK government as the Downing Street administration moves ahead cautiously with the planned easements across the country. After periodic review of the Covid-19 activity and the status of the ongoing vaccination programme at distinctive intervals, the government has allowed reopening in three stages so far.

The businesses and regional enterprises, not allowed to operate during the national lockdowns and the erstwhile tier system, have been given the go-ahead as per the phased reopening plan. Given the present status of immunisation in the United Kingdom, the government has arrived at a position to offer a series of relaxations for the hospitality venues, international holidays, and people visiting large gatherings, including the football stadiums.

Alongside all these, the respective departments have been periodically assigning definite monetary resources that can be utilised for the greater good of the industries, paving the way for more and more innovative products. Very recently, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy launched a second round of funding in order to bolster the innovation across various parts of the UK.

The monetary aid, Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, has been designed to support the initiatives that have been instituted to keep the UK ahead of its peers in areas of experimentation and regulatory thinking. Under the second round of funding, a monetary allocation to the tune of £3 million has been set aside to support the innovative projects, effectively catalysing the innovation by resonating with the forthcoming technological advancements in the near future.

The fund has been desperately configured to help the under-supported initiatives to develop new innovative products and services for domestic as well as international usage. The fund is likely to ensure that all out-of-the-box thinkers, innovators and disruptors don’t feel the pain of conventional and old regulations.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy backed funding will remain open for application from 20 May to 15 July 2021. All the individuals or group of innovators who are willing to participate in the competition can apply for a monetary grant of up to £200,000.

The projects and the prospective ideas must be innovative in nature, depicting an adequate approach to learning, experimentation and research under the regulatory framework.

The duration of the project must last for at least six months, and all the operations should finish by the end of 31 March 2022. After the completion of the application, the applicants who have been allotted monetary aid by the awarding panel will be notified by August 2021. The government has expanded the umbrella of funding, including the local authorities, for the first time, following which the regulatory innovations can be tested at national as well as local jurisdictional levels.

The funding has been a prompt attempt to provide the businesses with innovative ideas as enterprises face several unnecessary obstacles while they come up with new disruptive technologies due to the old-fashioned regulatory approach. These monetary aids ultimately support the government’s wider approach to updating the regulatory environment.

Under the competitions, the local authorities, as well as the small-scale developers, will be able to test and pilot some of the ambitious projects that will constructively benefit the innovators.

Earlier, in the first round of funding, a sum totalling £700,000 was allocated to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to help develop synthetic datasets that can support the development of pioneering medical tools and technologies. The datasets were further utilised to deduce innovative apparatus to bolster the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and cardiovascular diseases.

By Kunal Sawhney, CEO, Kalkine Group