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UK funding at a glance: 11-25 November

This week: fusion energy, funding for emission-free energy systems and transition healthcare to net-zero

UK funding in depth:

Expenditure on R&D by UK businesses fell by around £840 million in real terms—around three per cent—between 2019 and 2020, from almost £27.8 billion to £26.9m, data from the Office for National Statistics show.

Full story: Business funding for UK R&D dropped in real terms, ONS shows 

The UK’s national research funder has told delivery partners on projects funded via its Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund that it can support ongoing projects and will not have to apply further cuts.

Full story: Newton Fund and GCRF projects ‘won’t be cut in 2022-23’ 

Health minister Syed Kamall has admitted that the government needs to “go further” to support dementia research, as he blamed the pandemic for diverting resources away from the government’s promised delivery of a “dementia moonshot”.

Full story: Minister admits that dementia research needs more support


Here is the rest of the funding news this fortnight…

Fusion energy

The UK Atomic Energy Authority has announced the recipients of its Fusion Industry Programme grants, worth a total of £2.3 million. The contracts are awarded to 15 organisations, each of whom will take between £50,000 and £250,000 to focus on challenges in digital engineering and hydrogen technology. 

Scottish innovation

More than £10 million in government funding has been awarded to Scottish innovators for defence and security-related research. The grants are awarded to 66 projects via the UK government’s Defence and Security Accelerator fund, set up to support innovation into technologies that will help solve major security challenges in fields such as artificial intelligence, space technology and robotics.

Biological enterprise

Researchers from the universities of Nottingham, Cardiff, Bristol and one researcher from the Pirbright Institute have been announced as the winning applicants in the latest round of follow-on funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Four grantees will share just less than £1.5 million to translate their research into practical applications such as spin-out companies or social enterprises.

Net-zero healthcare

The National Institute for Health Research will launch £20 million in funding as part of a new sustainability-themed package for research into health and climate change. Grants will be awarded to support new ideas for improving the health outcomes of people in low- and middle-income countries most affected by climate change, but funding will also be made available to transition the UK health sector towards net-zero.

Energy innovation

The government’s Innovate UK is to partner with global energy startup Free Electrons as part of an initiative to support new opportunities for innovation in the energy sector. The move comes as part of the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), launched earlier this year to accelerate research that will help the UK transition towards emission-free energy.

Disease burden in LMICs

The National Institute for Health Research has awarded £19.3 million to four projects that will examine clusters of chronic conditions that are a significant disease burden in low- and middle-income countries. The projects include one studying the links between depression and tuberculosis in Pakistan, and another looking at multiple long-term conditions in children with HIV and severe malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. The funding comes through NIHR’s global health funding programme.