Just days after tech start-ups warned of impending Covid-19 funding doom, the Government has launched a £20 million package for technology and research-focused businesses to help boost the UK’s resilience to the long-term impact of coronavirus.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said firms could receive grants of up to £50,000 to cover the development of new working strategies and to help build resilience in industries heavily impacted by the pandemic, such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail, and transport.
The innovations could include but are not limited to education tools which improve e-learning, services which keep families digitally connected, or new technology allowing retailers to respond better to sudden spikes of consumer demand.
Businesses have until April 17 to submit their proposals, which will be reviewed as part of a competition launched by Innovate UK. The chosen proposals will kick off before the end of June 2020 and last up to to 6 months. Any new products and services which are developed are expected to become available towards the end of this year.
Innovate UK executive chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “The Covid-19 situation is not just a health emergency, but also one that affects the economy and society.
“With that in mind, Innovate UK has launched this rapid response competition today seeking smart ideas from innovators. The UK needs a great national effort and Innovate UK is helping by unleashing the power of innovation for people and businesses in need.”
Science Minister Amanda Solloway added: “This new investment will support the development of technologies that can help industries, communities and individuals adapt to new ways of working when situations like this, and other incidents, arise."