The UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), supported by the UK government, has announced early-stage investment for seventeen new projects that will boost local growth via the UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund.
The funding of up to £50,000 per project covers a wide range of innovative sectors including clean energy, cybersecurity, construction and healthcare.
The energy projects selected for funding are:
HotScot (Glasgow): led by the University of Strathclyde, the consortium will oversee three new mine water geothermal projects, extracting heat from old flooded mines, which will help to provide low-cost, low-emissions heat for communities and businesses across Scotland.
Suffolk and Norfolk Research and Innovation on the Sustainable Energy Coast (SuNRISE Coast): led by the University of East Anglia. The Suffolk and Norfolk coast, while vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and coastal erosion, is crucial for UK’s energy supply combining offshore wind, gas and nuclear energy resources. SuNRISE Coast seeks to address technical, regulatory and environmental challenges that inhibit sustainable economic development in the southern North Sea. The programme will attract private investment to deliver economically and environmentally sustainable growth, including £30 billion of clean energy infrastructure projects around the Southern North Sea, and underpin thousands of jobs in new and existing industries.
Projects will address industrial and environmental challenges by developing, testing and delivering new solutions in clean energy, marine and aquaculture technologies.
South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator (Cornwall and Plymouth): Led by offshore renewable energy research company, Wave Hub, this project will build on Cornwall and Plymouth’s offshore renewables business and research, to fast-track the building of large-scale floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea from 2025 onwards. This will contribute to Britain’s offshore wind target of 40GW by 2030, and also target a fivefold increase in Britain’s floating offshore wind exports.
Should early-stage development prove successful, funded projects can apply for a further £10-50 million each from UKRI later this year.
Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, stated: “We are backing our innovators and with the support they need to turn great ideas into first-class industries, products and technologies.
“From virtual construction projects to extracting clean heat from disused mines, the pioneering projects we are funding today will help create jobs and boost skills across the UK as we continue to drive forward our economic recovery.”
UKRI Strength in Places Fund lead, David Sweeney, noted: “Strength in Places is a flagship fund for UKRI. We welcome the focus of the UK Government’s R&D Roadmap in unlocking economic opportunities around local economy in more places around the UK.
“I am delighted with the range of bids funded across the UK in the second wave of Strength in Places that will foster the local ecosystems to support innovation and sustained growth and strengthen collaboration between industry and our world-class research base.”
Announced in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy in November 2017, the £236 million Strength in Places Fund benefits all nations and regions of the UK.