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Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund: workshop plenary session now live

Posted on 23/01/2017

ISCF workshop materials published as PM launches Industrial Strategy.

ISCF workshop materials published as PM launches Industrial Strategy.

As details of the UK’s new Industrial Strategy are shared today, engagement with business and the research community on one of its key programmes is already well underway.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) was announced by the Prime Minister at the 2016 CBI Annual Conference. The ISCF will help identify and develop UK industries that are fit for the future, driving progress in technologies where the UK can build on our existing areas of industrial and research strength.

Over the past week, Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Network and the Research Councils have hosted hundreds of delegates at workshops across the UK nations and regions, designed to gather input on how this cross-disciplinary fund can best support UK industries and our world-leading science base in some of the greatest societal challenges of our time.

The workshops are part of an engagement strategy designed to ensure that the challenges identified match UK business capability and are based on the best available evidence for scientific and commercial success on the global stage.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will focus on challenges where:

  • The global market is potentially large, or fast growing and sustainable
  • The UK has capabilities to meet market needs in terms of research strength and business capacity
  • There are significant social and economic benefits
  • There is evidence that government support will make a difference.

Based on these criteria, and analysis of the UK’s research strengths, including through the Eight Great Technologies initiative, areas from which specific challenges could be drawn include:

  • Smart, flexible and clean energy technologies (such as storage, including batteries, and demand response)
  • Robotics and artificial intelligence (including connected and autonomous vehicles and drones)
  • Satellites and space technologies
  • Leading-edge healthcare and medicine
  • Manufacturing processes and materials of the future
  • Bioscience and biotechnology
  • Quantum technologies
  • Transformative digital technologies including supercomputing, advanced modelling, and 5G mobile network technology.

These are early suggestions for potential challenge areas, and there may be more opportunities – for example, in the creative industries and integrated cities.

There has been enormous interest in the workshops, with many more applicants than places available, and high levels of engagement at each of the sessions so far. For those unable to attend, a video of the plenary session from the workshops is available here; along with the attached slides, which outline current thinking on the ISCF and the nature of the input being sought.

The workshops will conclude on the 26th January, with implementation plans for the ISCF being developed thereafter. We are hoping that the first challenge will be announced in March.

Make sure you have registered for KTN newsletters relevant to your interests Stay up to date by following the BEIS, Research Councils UK, Innovate UK and KTN Twitter feeds, using the hashtags #ISCFChallenges and #IndustrialStrategy.