A fund to strengthen UK science and business innovation and take on the biggest challenges that society and industry face today.
UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together our world-leading research base with Britain’s best businesses to transform how we live, work and move around.
By investing in the very best research, development and innovation, it will tackle the major industrial and societal challenges we face today and put the UK in the best position to take advantage of future market opportunities.
The fund is delivered by UK Research and Innovation.
It is part of government’s £4.7 billion investment in R&D over 4 years that will support the delivery of its modern Industrial Strategy.
Working with businesses and academics, we identified the biggest opportunities in the 4 grand challenge areas where:
Future challenge areas shortlisted to be supported by the fund include: accelerating detection of disease, commercialising quantum, digital security by design, driving the electric revolution, future flight, industrial decarbonisation, manufacturing made smarter, sustainable plastic packaging and transforming foundation industries.
How we experience the world is changing. People will soon be able to become totally immersed in their favourite films, sports and entertainment.
The audience of the future challenge will support the UK’s best creatives to tell the most ground-breaking stories. Using virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies, they will create truly immersive experiences that capture the public’s imagination.
It will invest up to £33 million to create and test new immersive experiences, improve the production of high-quality content and develop new talent.
Creative industries – such as film, music, video games and architecture – are among the largest and fastest-growing in the UK, employing more than 2 million people and enriching the lives of the countless others that experience them.
Up to £39 million from government is being matched by funding from academia and industry to design new creative products and services, develop commercial partnerships and embed highly-skilled jobs that build for the future.
Driverless car technology is advancing to make them a safe, viable option for roads. It is a growing sector predicted to be worth £63 billion by 2035.
This challenge has so far announced £38 million of funding to test and develop the AI and control systems for these vehicles.
More and more people are making the switch to fully electric and zero emission vehicles. As petrol and diesel cars come to be phased out this market is only going to grow – to an estimated £5 billion in the UK and £50 billion in Europe by 2025.
The £246 million Faraday battery challenge will invest in research and innovation projects and establish new facilities in battery production, use and recycling.
These batteries will be more cost-effective, durable and lightweight than ever before, with improvements to their performance, safety and sustainability.
Their use will go beyond the automotive sector, crossing over into other applications within the low carbon, electrified economy.
Identifying a disease early is usually the best way to manage and minimise its effect – but some can take years to present symptoms.
As we come to better understand the characteristics of disease, health professionals will be supported to diagnose patients earlier and select the right treatment first time.
The challenge will invest up to £210 million to combine research data and evidence from the NHS to create new and improved ways of identifying disease and treatment pathways.
Our population is ageing – with a third of children now expected to live to be 100-years-old.
The healthy ageing challenge will invest up to £98 million to help people to live active, independent and happy lives as they age.
It will allow them to stay in their homes for longer and provide more effective care options when this is needed.
Medicine isn’t one size fits all. Patients with the same disease or condition can respond differently to treatment.
The £181 million challenge will develop and manufacture new medicines, vaccines, advanced therapies and other healthcare products, including digital technologies.
It will speed up the time it takes to get the right treatment to the individual, while growing life sciences manufacturing in the UK, which delivers almost 9% of our manufacturing GVA.
Industries including aerospace and automotive are calling for more affordable, light-weight, composite materials for their vehicles and component parts.
This challenge – with up to £26 million funding announced to date – will invest in industry and research to develop the next generation of materials for advanced manufacturing.
With up to 10,000 satellites due to be launched into orbit by 2025, there’s a market for high-performance launch technologies and testing capabilities to meet this ambition.
A £99 million investment will help to establish a National Satellite Test Facility. The facility will support the assembly and delivery of next-generation satellites, including bigger, more technologically-advanced systems.
Financial and professional services – including accountancy, insurance and legal services – employ around 2.2 million in the UK to a value of £190 billion.
Through £20 million of ‘pioneer’ funding, the next-generation services challenge will develop and embed technologies including artificial intelligence and data analytics to make these more efficient and productive.
This should lead to better services for customer and clients, and a more competitive sector.
Moving to a low-carbon, more resource-efficient economy is good for the UK, and for its people – helping to improve air quality and offering cheaper, more convenient access to clean energy.
This challenge will invest £102.5 million to develop smart, clean energy systems and localised approaches that join up energy supply, storage and use with heat and transport.
It will also allow the UK to pursue global opportunities, with an estimated $2 trillion set to be invested in energy infrastructure worldwide every year.
Quantum technology is still at an early stage – but there’s potential for it to transform industries such as automotive, cyber security, defence, healthcare, infrastructure and telecommunications.
The challenge is a £20 million ‘pioneer’ fund to translate quantum science into a whole new set of products and devices, including sensors, consumer electronics and digital services, with enhanced capabilities.
Industries such as nuclear, offshore energy, deep mining and space conduct their activities in extreme and challenging environments.
Now, with advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, there’s an opportunity to make greater use of unmanned systems – and create work for people that is safer, leaner, and improves quality of life.
The up to £93 million challenge will develop advanced robotics that remove people from potentially harmful operations and improve productivity, resilience and delivery of public services and infrastructure.
The UK needs more affordable places for people to live and work that are safe, healthy and energy efficient.
To create better buildings and deliver the £650 billion worth of projects planned under the national infrastructure programme, the construction industry needs to become more productive, competitive and sustainable.
This challenge will invest £170 million – matched by £250 million from industry – to modernise construction processes and techniques, such as using digital design and standardised, modular components for offsite manufacture.
The growing global population will need 60% more food by 2050 – calling for more resilient, healthier, sustainable sources and management practices.
Through an up to £90 million investment, this challenge will support new developments in precision agriculture and food production, building on UK strengths of understanding in crops, livestock and environmental sciences.
It will create more efficient, sustainable food supplies that are less vulnerable to shocks, such as disease outbreaks and extreme weather.