A share of £7 million in on offer to support foundation industries, such as cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and bulk chemical sectors, to reduce resource and energy use.
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), is seeking partner investors willing to invest in businesses that carry out projects with support from the fund.
Investor partners will be expected to identify potential businesses – they could be new investments for the organisation, opportunities currently under consideration and SMEs already in a portfolio looking for further investment and grant funding.
Foundation industries, worth £52 billion to the economy, are vital for UK manufacturing but are responsible for around 10% of carbon emissions in the country and consume lots of raw materials and energy.
Manufacturing equipment has a long life and it is difficult to introduce efficiencies that improve resource use and maintain competitiveness on the global stage.
Businesses will be asked to submit funding applications for projects that help reduce energy costs and optimisation such as heat or energy recovery and reuse as well as process measurement, optimisation and digitisation such as sensor technology or digital tools.
They also include waste recycling, utilisation and symbiosis, such as reuse of waste or industrial symbiosis and new product and service development such as new materials or business models.
Investors could include venture capital, angel networks or corporate venture investors and will be asked to make an investment that equals or exceeds the value of the grant from Innovate UK.
The competition to find investor partners is open and the deadline for applications is 9th December 2020.
Business projects could range in size between £50,000 and £2 million and last up to two years.