The NDA is contributing £500,000 to a £1.5 million initiative encouraging smaller businesses to find new ways of solving technical challenges in the energy industry.
The contribution means Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer initiative will now be able to distribute a total of £2 million, seeking to benefit from the novel approaches of innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) who currently operate outside the energy sector.
The fund is designed to encourage new entrants into all sectors of the industry, including oil, gas and nuclear, but the NDA is particularly interested in technologies that could be applied to decommissioning.
Innovate UK is the government’s innovation-driving agency, working across all industrial sectors (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk). The NDA has been collaborating with the agency over the last few years to stimulate and encourage innovative ideas that could be deployed on challenges at its sites.
Allocation of funding will take place through a competitive process led by Innovate UK, which starts on 28 March, with SMEs welcome to submit stand-alone project ideas or working collaboratively with partner organisations of any size.
Melanie Brownridge, the NDA’s Head of Technology, said, “The UK is home to a number of world-leading companies in a wide range of cutting-edge fields such as robotics and computer gaming. We want to harness this dynamic and creative thinking in order to address some of the long-term challenges the nuclear decommissioning industry faces. Innovative solutions can mean that our decommissioning work is achieved more safely, sooner, and at a lower cost for the taxpayer. We want to stimulate the development and adoption of novel, emerging techniques as alternatives to established technologies as a means of improving the way we do things. We believe that game-changing technologies can solve a number of existing problems, either by the development of completely new ideas or through technology transfer from other sectors. Could we, for example, adopt virtual-reality techniques from the computer gaming industry to help us work remotely in hazardous environments? We would like to encourage those people who are currently working elsewhere, in industries such as defense, aerospace, automotive and telecommunications, etc, to grasp this opportunity to consider how their techniques could be applied to our field of work.”
• Projects must be led by an SME whose main business lies outside the energy sector. • SMEs can work alone or collaboratively with partners of any size from any sector. • Energy Game Changer projects are expected to last 6-12 months and range from £25,000-£100,000 in costs
• Competition opens: 28 March 2016
• Briefing event: 6 April 2016
• Registration deadline: 12noon, 4 May 2016
• Deadline for video submissions: 12noon, 11 May 2016
• Deadline for invited written proposals: 12noon, 7 July 2016
• Pitch sessions: 5–7 September 2016
Brokering events have also been arranged, providing an opportunity to hear more about the challenges, network with sector experts and meet potential partners. These will be supported by the NDA through its Site Licence Companies.
There will also be a briefing event for potential applicants in London on 6 April 2016.
For supporting documents and to register for events visit: Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer funding competition.