UK gov invites bids for £85 million science fund

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is encouraging companies to bid for a share of an £85 million fund allocated for research into
autonomous systems, robotics, and large scale energy storage.

According to the EPSRC, the funds will help develop new ways of storing power, new materials that can aid manufacturing and other industries, and further develop how autonomous systems communicate, learn and work with humans.

The call for bids will build on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement of  £600 million in additional capital funding for the “eight Great British technologies” in last autumn’s pre-Budget statement and has been announced today by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science.

Inviting the bids Willetts said that Advanced Materials and Grid-scale Energy Storage would both each receive £30 million from the pot, while Robotics & Autonomous Systems would be given £25 million in research funds.

He said that the government’s investment would “drive growth and help secure the UK’s high-tech future,” and in turn keep the country “at the forefront of science and innovation”.

Professor David Delpy, EPSRC Chief Executive said the call for bidding would focus on building capability in areas that were vital for the country, although he pointed out that there was already “exciting research” being carried out.

More details on how to bid will be given later on this month with the closing date for companies to apply in early May.