The government has today announced that it will invest £65m into a range of future technologies including batteries for electric vehicles, robotics, and new medical treatments.
The money will be made available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which will help the UK build back better from the coronavirus crisis by transitioning to a low carbon economy and developing solutions for an ageing society.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “This new funding will strengthen the UK’s global status in a range of areas, including battery technologies for electric vehicles and robotics, helping us develop innovative solutions to some of our biggest global challenges and creating jobs in rewarding careers right across the country.”
Nearly £44m to develop the next generation of high performance batteries for electric vehicles and wind turbines, which could also be used for new technologies such as electric aeroplanes.
The funding will also be used to complete a first-of-its-kind UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, in Coventry, which will create 100 high-skilled jobs.
In addition, £15m will be put towards the development of robots which can inspect, maintain and repair nuclear power stations, satellites and wind turbines.
Some of the robots are being developed to address new problems resulting from the pandemic, including ones that can operated remotely and make contact-free deliveries or move hospital beds.
Finally, £6.5m will be allocated to five Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres, located in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh, to accelerate access to advanced therapies for the NHS.
These treatments use cell and genetic approaches, like stem cell transplants, to treat cancer, inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis, and injuries including burns.
The funding will also support at least 50 apprenticeships, provide additional training packages to health workers and a mobile facility to enable hospitals across the UK that do not have the specialised infrastructure needed to offer these treatments.
Challenge director for the Faraday Battery Challenge Tony Harper said: “In order for batteries to play their full environmental and economic role in achieving Net Zero we need to deploy at scale and build supply chains for today’s technology, shift from strong potential to commercial dominance in a new generation of batteries and continue to build world-class scientific capability to sustain us into the future.”
Since it was established in 2017, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has now committed £2.6bn of government investment with the aim of funding research into new technologies.