login UK and Canada: enhancing industrial productivity - Signpost 2 Grow - Signpost 2 Grow

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £5 million to develop innovative technologies targeting global marketing with Canadian partners.  

This competition provides innovation research and development (R&D) grant funding for projects aimed at enhancing industrial productivity.

Your must focus on one of these 2 themes:

  • Enabling technologies
  • Enhanced productivity

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing and/or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses market potential and needs
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run the project successfully and complete on time
  • awareness of the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • considerate potential to positively impact both the UK and the Canadian economy
  • the benefit to participants from the 2 countries working together

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories to build a portfolio of projects that:

  • are high quality
  • target opportunities that benefit both the UK and Canadian economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • demonstrate sufficient innovation, potential return on investment and degree of technical risk
  • demonstrate value for money, including the potential  impact of the project relative to its cost, and the cost of other projects under consideration

Specific themes

Theme 1: Enabling technologies 

These are collaborative R&D projects to demonstrate artificial intelligence for design as applied to advanced manufacturing or food production. These projects must use AI to accelerate the design of materials, devices or processes.

Your project can cover:

  • AI for design
  • AI for supply chains
  • Applying AI and vision systems

Theme 2: Enhanced productivity

These are collaborative R&D projects addressing global competitiveness by improving or adding to products service or process delivery. This can include enabling technologies such as Internet of Things, blockchain and cybersecurity.

Enhanced productivity projects de-risk and integrate technologies into operationally ready pre-commercial solutions. These must address an identified business need in the area of advanced manufacturing and/or food production. While solutions that include AI or machine learning are welcome under this themes, this is not mandatory.

Project Types

For Theme 1 the projects that will be funded should address:

  1. the use of machine learning and other AI techniques such as deep reinforcement learning, deep learning and active learning, to help designers invent new advanced materials, devices and complex systems. Projects would propose new AI-driven design tools to create improved designs for advanced manufacturing or food processing in less time, with faster simulations and overcoming human design bias.
  2. the application of AI to improve trust in manufacturing supply networks by tracking the provenance, safety and timeliness of delivery of parts and products
  3. the integration into factory processes of AI-driven automated design or visual inspection for the non-destructive testing of parts

From theme 2 the following wo9uld be considered:

Advanced Manufacturing 

This can include:

  • additive manufacturing processes, materials and machinery
  • AI, machine learning, robotics, and IoT for manufacturing
  • advanced materials, composites design & manufacturing solutions
  • biorefinery including circular economy waste solutions
  • clean energy technologies for industrial applications
  • digital manufacturing or industry 4.0

Food quality and processing technologies for improved productivity 

This can include:

  • enhancing nutritional value
  • novel ingredient development
  • sustainable protein development
  • food safety solutions
  • authenticity and traceability systems
  • processes for improved shelf life and reducing food waste
  • smart packaging
  • lean  manufacturing or improved efficiency

To find out more about this programme, please follow the link provided on the right hand side.