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Last week I attended the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) briefing for the Innovate UK Emerging and Enabling Technologies competition. KTN was established by Innovate UK to build better links between science, creativity and business, and it has specialist advisory teams covering all significant sectors of the economy.
Over 200 delegates attended this event in central London, and similar briefing meetings about this competition are scheduled in other parts of the country in the coming weeks (see http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-knowledge-transfer-network-7829726093 for details and to book your place).
During the meeting speakers from KTN and Innovate UK explained the aims of the Emerging and Enabling Technologies funding competition, described the sort of projects that would be in scope, and described the application and assessment process in detail. The speakers also answered dozens of questions from the audience.
For me one of the most interesting aspects of the briefing was the emphasis that the speakers placed on the overall design of a project that was being submitted for funding. Projects should be designed with people, business, and technological advance equally in mind. Assessors will want to see that the project is something that customers will find desirable and beneficial, that it has the potential to be a commercially viable product, and that it uses the latest technology to meet the necessary performance criteria.
One of the questions in the Innovate UK application process refers to “Additionality” and the speakers at the briefing reminded applicants that this question is there opportunity to explain why funding from public sources was important to the success of their project. As Innovate UK only ever funds part of a project, potential applicants were also reminded that although they do not need to have the balance of the funding in place before they apply, they must have all the necessary funding in place before the project begins.
The briefing meeting was also an excellent opportunity for networking, and delegates from all industry sectors and from universities were able to meet each other and discuss ideas. There was even a section of the day allocated for businesses looking for partnerships to pitch their ideas to other delegates.
More details about the Innovate UK Emerging and Enabling Technologies Competition are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-competition-emerging-enabling-technologies