Clean growth

As part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) these challenges are helping the UK to maximise the advantages from a global shift to clean growth. The UK can lead the world in in development, manufacture and use of low-carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than their high-carbon alternatives.

Industrial decarbonisation

This challenge is supporting the development of low-carbon technologies that will increase the competitiveness of industry and support the UK’s drive for clean growth.

It has up to £170 million to invest in developing technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen fuel switching and deploying them at scale in the UK’s largest industrial clusters. The investment is matched by £261 million from industry.

Projects funded so far include the development of plans for:

  • carbon capture and storage in Grangemouth, Teeside, the Humber, the North West of England, and South Wales
  • production and use of green hydrogen in the Humber
  • small-scale renewable energy power stations in the Midlands.

Read more about the industrial decarbonisation challenge.

Low-cost nuclear

This challenge is developing a new approach to providing low-cost nuclear energy through small modular reactors that can be built quickly and help with the transition to a net-zero economy.

It has invested £18 million in a consortium led by Rolls Royce developing a concept design. If successful, the total public and private investment could rise to £500 million.

If successful, small modular reactors could be deployed in the UK before 2030. They could also provide a significant export opportunity for UK businesses and create up to 40,000 jobs in engineering and manufacturing.

They will help to complement an increasing contribution from renewable energy and secure a reliable and dependable electricity supply in the future.

Read more about the low-cost nuclear challenge.

Manufacturing made smarter

This challenge is developing new digital technologies to improve the productivity of UK manufacturing as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

It has up to £147 million to invest in the development of smart connected factories; connected and versatile supply chains; flexible manufacturing; and new ways to design, test and make products. The investment is matched by £147 million from industry.

Projects funded so far include development of a digital robot able to quickly design a bespoke product, the use of artificial intelligence to help businesses design new products, and a digitised food supply chain.

Prospering from the energy revolution

The programme aims to unlock the potential of intelligent local energy systems by funding business and researchers to work together with local organisations to show how new systems can deliver cleaner, cheaper, investable energy systems while creating high value jobs across the UK.

It has up to £102.5 million to support industry and researchers developing smart systems that can support the global move to renewable energy.

Projects funded so far include:

  • four local energy demonstrators to illustrate how integrated local systems can deliver power, heat and mobility to users in new and better ways
  • highly innovative, ambitious and investable local energy system designs for rural, urban, domestic, industrial, commercial and mixed energy systems.

Read more about the prospering from the energy revolution challenge.

Smart sustainable plastic packaging

This challenge will establish the UK as a leader in smart and sustainable packaging and support a dramatic reduction in waste entering the environment by 2025.

It has up to £60 million to support academic-led research to address known problems and to support industry-led collaborative research and development of new technologies for the design, production, supply, recovery and recycling of plastic packaging. The investment is matched by £149 million from industry.

Funding so far includes:

  • £20 million for four cutting-edge recycling plants
  • early-stage projects that could turn into viable future solutions that reduce use of plastic packaging and increase the amount of reusable packaging
  • £235,000 for projects developing solutions to deliver a more circular economy for plastic packaging.

Read more about the smart sustainable plastic packaging challenge.

Transforming construction

This challenge aims to transform productivity in the construction industry through the adoption of innovative technologies and the development of a more highly skilled workforce. Its targets include buildings delivered 50% faster, costs reduced by 33%, emissions cut by 50% and productivity increased by 15%.

It has invested £170 million including:

Read more about the transforming construction challenge.

Transforming food production

This challenge is supporting new ways to produce food that reduce emissions and pollution and contribute to feeding a growing world population.

It has up to £90 million to invest in projects to develop future food production systems and improve the adoption of data-driven precision approaches in food production.

Projects funded so far include the development of the world’s first autonomous growing system and a system to turn carbon dioxide emissions from a power station into animal food with minimal use of water and no use of arable land.

Read more about the transforming food production challenge.

Transforming foundation industries

This challenge is reducing waste and energy use in the UK’s foundation industries including cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and bulk chemicals.

It has up to £66 million to invest in projects looking at new ways to reduce waste and energy use and in a new research facility to accelerate development of promising clean technologies.

Projects funded so far include investigating the use of ashes and other byproducts as raw materials for new glass and ceramic products, and bringing together a cluster of foundation industry businesses in South Wales to collaborate on saving energy and recycling.

Read more about the transforming foundation industries challenge.

Last updated: 14 January 2021

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