Finance for a better future

Ben Peace of KTN examines upcoming opportunities that could help make your business more sustainable, resilient and competitive.

There has never been a better time to think about the future. We have all been through a time of great change and there is a feeling that there is more to come. Never have we seen so many headlines about climate change and the shortages of resources such as gas and gasoline. The appetite for a new, greener economy exists on the part of government, industry and consumers.

This change may seem different for every business. How are you going to improve what you do, more effectively? How will you deal with fluctuations in the price of resources? How will you be competitive in a new, greener and increasingly global economy? How can what you manufacture add value to customers, to society? How to recover and reuse valuable materials and thus generate more income for your business? What products could you manufacture in the future? Maybe some were in the “” government10-point plan for a green industrial revolutionPublished earlier this year?

The government and its agencies recognize that the industry needs funding, support and good relationships in order to change over time, to plan for the longer term. It is my privilege here at KTN to work to support companies, large and small, in all industries, that are making the change.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A key tool that we help provide access to is funding and since I’ve been here at KTN, there have never been so many targets for manufacturers. Two particular strands that I am currently involved with in scoping assistance are detailed below. Interested companies will have to develop a project proposal for Innovate UK and funds are allocated to the best projects to cover part of the project costs and thus reduce the risks of your innovation:

Circular economy for SMEs – innovate with the NICER program

This is a relatively small competition (a pot of £ 1million funding around 20 projects). Projects should demonstrate how you will create a radical change in adopting circular economy approaches such as repair, reuse, refurbishment, recycling and reclamation. The competition also offers the opportunity to work with 5 national interdisciplinary research centers in circular economy. We run the information meeting on October 18, and the closing date is December 8.

Smarter innovation: a sustainable smart factory

This is a much larger competition (£ 20million) that will help manufacturers, large and small, across industries, explore how digital technologies can help identify and save resources and energy within the plant. We run a event exploring the subject on October 19, full information meeting on November 9 and in-person networking in our Made Smarter theater at Smart Factory Fair. This competition ends at the end of January 2022.

Dedicated contests are also available now or to come on:

  • Industrial energy transformation fund – designed to help energy-intensive industries and energy-intensive businesses reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions. Supports commercial deployment and permanent installation of technologies at industrial sites, rather than general research, development and testing of a technology solution. A prize pool of £ 60m closed on December 6, for the following types of projects:
    • studies – feasibility and engineering studies to allow companies to study identified energy efficiency and decarbonation projects before making an investment decision
    • energy efficiency – deployment of technologies to reduce industrial energy consumption
    • deep decarbonization – deployment of technologies to achieve savings in industrial emissions.
  • Industrial energy efficiency accelerator – open to all UK industrial sectors that can demonstrate either a new technology or the use of established technology in a new way, to lead to reduced carbon emissions, through reductions in energy consumption and / or improvements in resource efficiency. £ 8million in total funding. Grants of £ 150,000 to £ 1million will generally be available for each successful project. Closed in January 2022.
  • Transforming Foundation Industries demonstrators – support for large projects (up to 2 years and more than £ 5 million) for the foundation industries (metals, ceramics, glass, chemicals, paper and cement). Focused on demonstrating future technology required to improve the productivity and competitiveness of UK foundation industries, piloted at active foundation industry sites, reducing future deployment risks for all foundation industries. Capacity briefing and event on October 12.

KTN organizes briefings for most of them and can help you:

  • understand which competition is right for your business
  • understand the application process
  • find the type of partners that will make your project convincing (e.g. the right expertise, providers of the right solutions)

Take a look at our website ( for more information. And come to Smart Factory Fair where KTN staff will be on hand to help you take advantage of these opportunities. (Please note that some of these competitions are still in the planning stage and details may change prior to launch.)

It is the companies that think about the future that will shape it. Make the most of this unprecedented number of opportunities and help create a better and more prosperous future.

About the Author

Ben Peace-KTN.  Image courtesy of KTN.Ben Peace is Knowledge Transfer Manager – Sustainable Manufacturing at KTN

The mission of KTN’s Manufacturing Support is to help the industry make things better and better. We are helping Britain’s manufacturing sector become more productive, resilient and prosperous through the connections we make – the big ideas, creativity and research for which our country is known.

KTN also has a strategic role to play in creating new communities that tackle challenges and opportunities, and in shaping and providing access to finance.

Ben has a background in product design and engineering. After ten years in industry (fuel cells, solar panels, zero emission vehicles, etc.) and in consulting, Ben joined KTN for environmental sustainability in 2011. His particular interests include circular economy, remanufacturing , industry 4.0, design, business model innovation and tools. .

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