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Innovation funding body reassures waste industry

Government agency Innovate UK has reassured the waste industry that companies will still be able to apply for grants, despite a reduction in the number of funding streams.

Following a review, the funding body is to reduce the number of industry sectors it focuses on from 17 to four for 2016-17. Its available capital will remain at £561m.

As revealed in its delivery plan, the streams will now be emerging and enabling technologies, infrastructure systems, health and life sciences, manufacturing and materials.

There will also be an ’open programme’ worth £71m, which the body told MRW would include the waste sector.

“Any industry such as waste can apply for that funding and will be awarded as necessary. There will be great opportunities for all sectors to apply for that,” an Innovate UK spokesperson said.

“We talked to stakeholders and companies we work with all the time, and that was very much the feedback we got that they wanted it to be simpler to deal with us.”

Companies in some subsectors, such as anaerobic digestion, may be able to apply for funding from other categories including emerging and enabling technologies.

Sister title Construction News reported that the changes come as part of a drive to bring down costs, with Innovate UK’s workforce to be cut by a third this year.

It also said that 300-400 companies will be able to bid for funding for just 40 projects through the open stream, meaning that securing funding will be more competitive.

Innovate UK sits within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Its chief executive is Ruth McKernan (pictured).

Last year it launched a £4.5m fund for research projects looking at recovering valuable material from waste.

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