A NEW Expression of Interest competition for Innovation Hubs launched on 23rd November as part of the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The two planned Hubs, Smart Factory Innovation Hub and Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hub, will be grant-funded at £20m and £10m respectively and will be tasked with bringing in further co-investment from industry.

This programme is a core part of our strategy to create a connected ecosystem harnessing the power of the UK’s leading manufacturing companies, technology developers, start-ups and spinouts, and our world-leading research institutions; increasing the number of collaborations up the value chain.

The challenge aims to use the transformative power of this ecosystem to deliver a modern, connected, resilient and flexible, significantly more productive, and environmentally sustainable UK manufacturing sector, with a vibrant technology sector that enables that transformation. By increasing the sustainability of the UK Manufacturing industry, this will create an increase of reusable resources and reduction in waste and carbon emissions.

The Innovation Hubs will develop a national network or cluster of existing facilities. These will be accessible by industry to develop, demonstrate and test digital manufacturing applications, aiding the innovation and deployment of innovative digital systems.

Grant Details

The grant funding is available to cover:

  • overall management of the hub
  • setting up testbeds, living labs and other types of development environments
  • funding projects using hub facilities and accessing capabilities identified by the hub

Who should apply?

Applications for this competition are welcomed from single applicants and collaborations from UK registered organisations of any size from the following categories:

  • business
  • research organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation

Briefing Webinar Recording

Concepts & Collaboration Building workshop

A workshop to learn more about the concepts underlying the Innovation Hub strategy, including the use of test beds, living labs and other development environments to stimulate innovation, and the learnings gained through the test bed pilots currently running, will be held on Tuesday 1st December 2020 at 10am.

The workshop will cover:
  • Some background on the development of the Innovation Hub scope and the reasons for these specifications
  • Insights from a study by an IfM review of international IDT testbed, living lab and other test and demonstration environments. This will include a look at their areas of application, objectives, functions and outcomes with a view to extracting potential design principles, ‘business models’, and lessons learned, which might inform the development of UK MMS Innovation Hubs.
  • Presentations from pilot projects undertaken to test out ideas for using and developing test beds.  This will include an overview of Smart Factory test beds designed, developed and made available for external use by the HVM Catapult; and presentations on two digital supply chain test beds being developed for use when the Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hub is up and running.
Companies may also be able to meet with potential consortia partners during this workshop including the introduction of digital meeting app and a short collaboration partner pitching event showing how this app can be used.

Register for the Concepts & Collaboration Building workshop webinar here.

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