On Monday 5th August, Innovate UK launched R&D funding for industry to meet the challenges of the Construction Sector Deal.
Businesses are invited to bid in two competitions worth up to £36 million, funding collaborative R&D and demonstrator projects. Both competitions focus on modern methods of construction (MMC), digital and whole-asset performance. The funding is provided through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Transforming Construction Challenge lead by Sam Stacey.
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £10 million in UK businesses undertaking collaborative research and development projects. Projects should go beyond the state-of-the-art in improving productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.
The project must focus on one or more of the following themes:
- digital information management, tools, systems and standards
- modern methods of construction and platform-based approaches
- whole-life asset performance, including active buildings
- business models, procurement, analytics, benchmarking and metrics
- financial, assurance, warranty and lending products
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £26 million for practical, demonstrator projects in modern methods of construction, digital and whole-life asset performance.
This competition aims to invest in approximately 10 world-leading practical demonstrators. They must establish improvements in productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector. Demonstrators are the application of approaches, deployed at scale, that aim to improve all aspects of a built assets lifecycle.
The Innovate UK competitions will be open for applications from 28th August 2019 and applicant are encouraged to attend one of the regional launch events.
There is an overview webinar available to watch that includes the answers to many questions here.
To complement the Innovate UK competitions, the Construction Innovation Hub is running an ‘Open Call’ designed to engage and encourage businesses and stakeholders, both from within and outside the construction industry, to get involved in the largest ever Government-backed R&D programme in the sector. The Hub is inviting businesses to respond to this Open Call with their technology, product or service and to be part of the collaborative development team responsible for the design, manufacture, test and assembly of a next generation, proof-of-concept building delivered using a Platform Design for Manufacture & Assembly (P-DfMA) approach. The building design will be aligned to the new-build requirements of UK government departments and be capable of delivering a range of building types from a standardised kit of parts.
For researchers, the Transforming Construction Network Plus will be opening a new round of funding small projects on 19 September 2019. Details will be announced soon.
The development of the Transforming Construction Challenge has been greatly influenced by the work of the CLC and it is hoped that CLC working groups are able to benefit from the competitions. In particular, the competitions can fund the key themes of business model transformation and whole-life performance. It is also hoped that successful projects can be included as future CLC Smart Construction Case Studies and utilise the Smart Construction Dashboard.
I would like to thank my CLC colleagues for their support and guidance developing the competitions and wish them the best of luck in their applications.
Head of Construction