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Government funding will boost civil nuclear power innovation

29/03/2012

The Government is to invest up to £15 million in research, development and knowledge transfer to stimulate innovation and support growth in the civil nuclear power sector. 

The investment – through the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC – www.decc.gov.uk), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA – www.nda.gov.uk) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC – www.epsrc.ac.uk) – will fund feasibility projects, collaborative research and development and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) that stimulate innovation and strengthen the UK supply chain.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
“This is an important and exciting time for the UK civil nuclear industry. With potential for investment and innovation in the new-build and decommissioning markets, now is the right time to make sure that the UK is best placed to win orders and grow global market share. That’s why we are launching this substantial new funding programme to enhance innovation and capability development and expand the UK nuclear industry to provide rewarding careers and contribute towards more stable and balanced economic growth.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added:
“Innovation is key if UK businesses are to take advantage of likely future global market opportunities in civil nuclear engineering and its associated technologies. As part of a strong, sustainable supply chain, we see innovation, combined with the development and transfer of skills, as vital ingredients to success. Hence, with our delivery partners, we are launching an integrated collaborative R&D programme combined with a focussed call for KTPs.”

The investment will support innovative technologies that can be used in the construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, waste management and decommissioning of nuclear plant in a safe, economic and sustainable manner.

Dr Melanie Brownridge, NDA Head of R&D said:
“The NDA is committed to encouraging innovation as it progresses the safe decommissioning of the UK’s first generation of nuclear facilities. We see investment in R&D as a key element in this long-term mission and are therefore delighted to be working with Technology Strategy Board, DECC and EPSRC in promoting opportunities for collaborative innovation projects across the supply chain and academia.”

David Delpy, Chief Executive of EPSRC added:
“The global nuclear industry is expected to undergo a resurgence, which opens up opportunities for UK academia to contribute new ideas and technologies. EPSRC wants to ensure that the outputs of UK research are taken up and developed in conjunction with the nuclear industry and its suppliers in order to support the UK growth agenda. This joint activity with the Technology Strategy Board, DECC and NDA is a crucial step to achieving our ambition.”

Up to £12 million will be made available for business-led collaborative research and development projects. Up to £2 million will be invested in feasibility studies and a further £1 million will be available to support Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), which will focus on the transfer of knowledge and skills into industry from academia.

The competitions for collaborative R&D projects and feasibility studies will support innovative technologies to help UK business benefit from the resurgence in civil nuclear fission power generation and decommissioning. Applicants will have to show how they will help strengthen the UK supply chain whilst contributing to the high-level, long-term challenge of developing cost-effective and safe solutions with high reliability and durability in the nuclear sector. They must also take account of the key issues of regulation, health and safety and non-proliferation.

The targeted call for KTPs is focused specifically on the exchange of knowledge and skills from academia into the nuclear supply chain and will be run in parallel with the other competitions. It will help businesses to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance in the nuclear sector through the better use of the knowledge, technology and skills that are already available within the UK knowledge base.

The feasibility and collaborative R&D competitions open on 2 July 2012 and the deadline for registration is 29 August 2012.

The deadline for submitting feasibility applications and expressions of interest in collaborative R&D is 5 September 2012.

The targeted call for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships also opens on 2 July 2012 and applications must be submitted by 4 October 2012.

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