Individuals can apply to join a five-day collaborative workshop to develop proposals for autonomous subsea systems that can significantly improve mission duration, sensing and communications.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Robots for a Safer World challenge, through Innovate UK, (as part of UK Research and Innovation), is collaborating with the Ministry of Defence and The Royal Navy, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, BP, and the Oil & Gas Authority. Together they will invest up to £6million, from a cross government and industry joint fund, in collaborative business led projects.
Participants are sought to develop collaborative projects in next generation autonomous subsea systems, which improve levels of autonomy, sensor miniaturisation, mission planning, monitoring, communications, navigation, data management and operations together with improved endurance in the water column up to 3,000 metres deep.
The challenge is to develop next generation subsea autonomous system technologies, which are modular in design with common interfaces and open architectures. Approaches should make trusted unmanned operations the standard approach in areas such as off-shore energy, aquafarming, deep sea mineral exploration and maritime defensive security operations.
In this competition, individuals can apply to take part, on behalf of their organisation, in a five-day collaborative residential workshop known as the Innovation Lab. It will run from 20 April 2020 to and from 24 April 2020 dates. The attendees will form project teams and work together to develop collaborative proposals for research and innovation projects that deliver concept demonstrators.
After the Innovation Lab project teams will have four weeks to finalise their proposals before submitting them for competitive assessment. Only Innovation Lab participants will be eligible to submit final proposals.
To apply to attend the Innovation Lab you must:
- Commit to attending all five days on a residential basis at the nominated UK location
- Show you can work collaboratively and have the relevant skills, expertise and experience to represent your organisation
- Be from an organisation that is eligible to submit a project proposal
- Describe the financial and other resources your organisation can commit
If you are successful in your application you will need to sign a confidentiality agreement and return it before attending the Innovation Lab. This is to protect existing intellectual property (IP) and to allow full disclosure of expertise and capabilities at the Innovation Lab.
Your application to attend will be considered by a selection panel, consisting of the Innovation Lab director and independent assessors, one of whom is an organisational psychologist.
The assessment panel will look for evidence that you have:
- An open, engaging, flexible, imaginative and creative outlook
- The ability to develop new and highly original innovative ideas
- The ability to work constructively with people of diverse disciplines
- The stamina and enthusiasm needed to work with strangers intensively over five days away from home
Project proposal phase
A panel, consisting of mentors and funders, will run an assessment process on the last day of the Innovation Lab. They will use consistent assessment criteria to decide which teams will be allowed to submit final written project proposals.
Project teams will then have up to four weeks to submit final proposals via the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) portal after the end of the Innovation Lab.
To be eligible to submit a project proposal after the Innovation Lab your organisation must:
- Be a UK-registered business, academic, charity, public sector organisation or RTO who attended the Innovation Lab
- Carry out its project work in the UK
- Intend to exploit the results from the UK
- Work in collaboration with others (businesses, research base or third sector)
- Involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
A business must lead the project. Any one business can lead on one application and partner in a further two applications. Academics and RTOs can collaborate in any number of applications.
The research organisations collaborating as part of a consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.
Your project can also include non-grant claiming partners.
The project must start by September 2020 and be completed by 31 March 2022.
If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole company and were awarded funding by Innovate UK but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, no more funding will be awarded to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest that decision. Innovate UK will:
- Assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
- Review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
- Document their decision, which will be made by three team members, and communicate their decision to you in writing
Innovate UK have allocated up to £6million to fund projects developed based on Innovation Lab proposals. Innovate UK expect each project to have total costs between £1.5million and £3million.
The funders will pay your residential and subsistence costs to attend the Innovation Lab, excluding alcohol. You must pay your travel costs to and from the Innovation Lab. You can discuss other costs with Innovate UK and these will be considered on a case-by-case basis. You will not be paid for Innovation Lab attendance or proposal development.
It is expected that only organisations being represented at the Innovation Lab will be eligible to receive grant funding. The inclusion of new project partners not attending the Innovation Lab will be by exception and after agreement with the funders.
Innovate UK are not expecting to fund fundamental research projects.
Innovate UK will not fund:
- Projects which do not include a demonstration of the output solution in a representative environment
- Projects that are unwilling to participate in a technology showcase aimed at promoting the commercialisation of the funded solution
- In-service systems or platforms
Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.
Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.
We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.
Jo has a background in IP commercialisation, having spent more than 25 years in the innovation and enterprise sector. Jo is recognised in the industry for establishing the Loughborough Innovation Centre, where she was the managing director for 15 years.