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Competition guidance for UK and Canada: enhancing industrial productivity

Registration is closed
Funding details
Registration opens
11 Feb 2019, 00:00
Registration closes
02 May 2019, 00:00
02 May 2019, 00:00
UK-led projects can have total eligible project costs of up to £1 million with a maximum grant of up to £200,000 for UK applicants and a maximum grant of up to $300,000 CAD for Canadian applicants.
The national funding agencies will fund their respective participants in the projects. For UK applicants this is Innovate UK, part of UKRI: for Canadian applicants this is the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

The UK and Canada are running a joint grant funding competition under the EUREKA framework. This will support collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects, which should result in a new product, industrial process or service. Projects must be innovative, involve a technological risk and target large global markets.

We welcome proposals from advanced manufacturing businesses, food and drink processers, and automation and artificial intelligence (AI) innovators, including those applying ‘AI for design’ techniques.

Your project must start by 1 October 2019 and can last up to 2 years. If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside our eligibility criteria you must provide justification by email to at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

The recording of the competition details can be found here.


This competition provides innovation research and development (R&D) grant funding for projects aimed at enhancing industrial productivity. You must focus on one of these 2 themes:

  1. Enabling technologies.
  2. Enhanced productivity.

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing and/or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses market potential and needs
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run the project successfully and complete on time
  • awareness of the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • considerable potential to positively impact both the UK and the Canadian economy
  • the benefit to participants from the 2 countries working together

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories to build a portfolio of projects that:

  • are high quality
  • target opportunities that benefit both the UK and Canadian economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • demonstrate sufficient innovation, potential return on investment and degree of technical risk
  • demonstrate value for money, including the potential impact of the project relative to its cost, and the cost of other projects under consideration

Specific themes

Theme 1: enabling technologies

These are collaborative R&D projects to demonstrate artificial intelligence for design as applied to advanced manufacturing or food production. These projects must use AI to accelerate the design of materials, devices or processes.

Your project can cover:

AI for design
AI for supply chains
applying AI and vision systems

Theme 2: enhanced productivity

These are collaborative R&D projects addressing global competitiveness by improving or adding to products service or process delivery. This can include enabling technologies such as Internet of Things, blockchain and cybersecurity.

Enhanced productivity projects de-risk and integrate technologies into operationally ready pre-commercial solutions. These must address an identified business need in the area of advanced manufacturing and/or food production. While solutions that include AI or machine learning are welcome under this theme, this is not mandatory.


Project types

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects. Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

For theme 1 we expect to fund projects that address, for example:

The use of machine learning and other AI techniques such as deep reinforcement learning, deep learning and active learning, to help designers invent new advanced materials, devices and complex systems. Projects would propose new AI-driven design tools or create improved designs for advanced manufacturing or food processing in less time, with faster simulations and overcoming human design bias.
The application of AI to improve trust in manufacturing supply networks by tracking the provenance, safety and timeliness of delivery of parts and products.
The integration into factory processes of AI-driven automated design or visual inspection for the non-destructive testing of parts.

For theme 2 we would consider the following:

Advanced manufacturing

This can include:

additive manufacturing processes, materials and machinery
AI, machine learning, robotics and IoT for manufacturing
advanced materials, composites design & manufacturing solutions
biorefinery including circular economy waste solutions
clean energy technologies for industrial applications
digital manufacturing or industry 4.0

Food quality and processing technologies for improved productivity

This can include:

enhancing nutritional value
novel ingredient development
sustainable protein development
food safety solutions
authenticity and traceability systems
processes for improved shelf life and reducing food waste
smart packaging
lean manufacturing or improved efficiency

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • have entirely non-civilian applications
  • do not include partners from both UK and Canada
  • seek to develop solutions that cannot be deployed in high value manufacturing settings, including in food production environments

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