Funding remanufacturing R&D
Developing novel processes, such as automating remanufacturing with robots for example, promises huge efficiency gains but working out how to do it entails extensive R&D work. Innovate UK provides support directly to companies for innovation funding (www.gov.uk/apply-funding-innovation). In many cases such R&D entails finding research expertise from inside academia. Knowledge transfer partnerships (http://ktp.innovateuk.org) can help broker and fund projects with research academics. Other bodies that might help include the Scottish Institute for Remanufacture and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The EPRSC has £10 milllion to spend over seven years to help explore real world industry problems. Such projects are generally for medium and long-term R&D, however, says Katie Daniel, head of future manufacturing at the EPRSC. “It’s less about what might be a product in the next year or two and more about companies thinking about where they might like to go in the long term and how they could help influence their next generation of products.” Its grant portfolio (www.epsrc.ac.uk) is a good place to start looking for academics in the relevant fields. “If you enter ‘remanufacturing’ or ‘circular economy’ as keywords that will bring up grants that are relevant to that topic. Academics who have worked on these topics will be easy to track down,” suggests Daniel.
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