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Industry and Academia Explore Funding for Joint R&D Projects

Mon, 06 November, 2023

The latest webinar in the TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN)’s regular series, ‘UK and EU Collaborative Funding Opportunities and Brokerage: An Innovative Journey with TWIIN’ – which guides companies and organisations through the grant funding maze so they can hone in on real-world project opportunities – saw around 75 attendees, from 21 different countries, exchanging technical and industrial expertise with a view to identifying how they could work together, in conjunction with TWI and its Innovation Centres.

During the information-packed morning, Horizon Europe (HE) National Contact Points (NCPs) from Innovate UK: Chris Young: Legal and Finance, Craig Sharp: Digital, Louise Mothersole: Mobility and Global Innovation Lead for Transport, and Helen Sweeney, Innovation Lead for Food, Natural Resources and Agriculture, gave presentations looking in detail at different funding ‘calls’ (competitions), explaining which areas are currently the focus for UK and EU government investment in R&D, and how to approach participation.

Innovation Centre leads Kate Goldsworthy, Director of University of the Arts London Innovation Lab (a UAL-TWI partnership), Evelyne El Masri, Head of Brunel Innovation Centre (a Brunel University London-TWI partnership) and Robert Cooper, Director of the Anglia Ruskin Innovation Centre (an Anglia Ruskin University-TWI partnership) each described the technologies and industries their Centre is geared around, providing working examples of ongoing and completed projects that had successfully won grant funding. Speakers from TWIIN also gave an overview of some of the key support and services the Network can provide to enable companies and organisations to accelerate their R&D activities, elevate their exposure to funding mechanisms, connect them with new partners and more.

The webinar concluded with facilitated, themed networking sessions to discuss novel concepts that require additional knowledge and expertise to evolve them further, and specific projects that currently have consortium roles available, with the aim of matching attendees to active collaborations. Areas currently being addressed through funding calls include digital technologies, clean transport, optimum energy use and climate transition, and circular economy.

Ujjwal Bharadwaj, Technology Innovation Management (TIM) Section Manager at TWI said “Activities such as finding new partners for R&D that have similar goals and complementary expertise to your own company’s, sifting through UK and EU grant funding information to hone in what funding competitions might be coming up, and having a ‘sounding board’ to work out if it is worth investing time and resource to develop a concept further can be demanding. Therefore, we see these webinars as essential to supporting businesses with their engineering technologies acceleration, both companies and organisations who are already familiar with the public funding arena as well as those that are not.”

TWIIN webinar attendee Patrick Gunning, of Goliath Mouldings, told TWIIN “I am not sure how we could navigate to successful innovation funding without those webinar sessions!”. Malcolm Knott, CEO of ITS Ltd also fed back on his experience of the webinar saying “I found the sessions very useful and thought all of the speakers were very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise; overall, very good, and I’d certainly look to attend future events of this type.”

The TWIIN webinar series ‘UK and EU Collaborative Funding Opportunities and Brokerage: An Innovative Journey with TWIIN’ will continue next year. Follow the TWI Innovation LinkedIn page for regular updates as well as visit the TWI Orbit platform.

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