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Innovate UK: funding competition for additive manufacturing (3D printing)

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Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, has announced a new competition for grant funding, with a budget of up to £4.5 million, for research and development in industrial research projects that will stimulate innovation in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.

Projects must have a significant innovation step in both additive manufacturing and connected digital manufacturing. The additive manufacturing aspect of your project should focus on one or more of these topics:

  • novel additive manufacturing build process with a viable route to market for UK-based machine platform manufacture
  • large-scale build platforms with a build size in metres with a viable route to market for UK-based machine platform manufacture
  • automation, predictability and cost reduction in the pre and post-process material supply and finishing activities. Projects must show a significant improvement to the overall AM process chain productivity
  • innovative hybrid or interrupted AM processes and/or their integration with the adjacent process(es)

Your project proposal must also show that you are including one or more of the following connected digital manufacturing capabilities:

  • interoperability: ability of internet-enabled machines, devices, sensors and people to connect and share data with each other securely (and seamlessly) without the need for specialist technical expertise on the part of the user
  • enriched modelling - integration of raw, operational data from sensors into elements of models and simulations to improve the accuracy and completeness of their predictions and to aid visualisation and decision-making
  • autonomy: ability of machines and systems to make decisions and perform tasks with limited human assistance/intervention and to learn from experience and data
  • real-time insights: capability to collect and analyse data from manufacturing operations and provide the derived insights to support decision-making in real or near-to-real time
  • modularity: engineering of flexible and modular systems, components and services that can be adapted, added, removed and interplayed to meet changing requirements

The majority of your project costs should be devoted to additive manufacturing. Innovate UK recommends you use Manufacturing Readiness Levels to set up your project plan, and expects the start point to be MRL 3 or higher.

In this funding call Innovate UK encourages innovation projects that are inspired by, and respond to, genuine insight into customers’ needs, motivations and behaviours. You could engage with customers, suppliers, professional designers and other stakeholders as part of the project.

The proportion of your project that can be funded by Innovate UK depends on the type of project, and on the size of the company making the application. Full details and application procedures are at the Innovate UK website.

Companies wishing to apply for this funding competition must register with Innovate UK by noon on 20th July 2016, and apply by noon on 27th July 2016. Many companies choose to work with a specialist consultancy for their grant applications, and this may be particularly important for this competition as Innovate UK’s application processes and evaluation criteria have recently changed. If your company would like to work with Myriad Associates for your application for this grant, please contact us as soon as possible, as we would need to have an agreement in place with your company by no later than 27th June 2016.

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Myriad Associates are leading experts in helping businesses maximise public funding for their research and development activities through R&D Grants and R&D Tax Credits. If you would like to discuss any aspect of R&D grant funding or R&D tax relief please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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