£65 million government cash boost for future technologies

Photo shows: CGI of UK Battery Industrialisation Centre being built in Coventry

Future technologies such as high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, advanced medical treatments and robotics will receive a £65 million government cash boost.

The funding will be available through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which has been extended to help meet some of the biggest global challenges.

Nearly £44 million will be invested in the development of 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, West Midlands, creating 100 high-skilled jobs. Organisations across the automotive, rail and aerospace sectors will have access a unique battery production facility combining manufacturing, experimentation and innovation

£15 million will be available to universities, research organisations and businesses to build robots to inspect, maintain and repair nuclear power stations, satellites and wind turbines. The robotics will also be used to address new problems resulting from the pandemic, including ones that can operated remotely and make contact-free deliveries or move hospital beds.

£6.5 million will be allocated to the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network to accelerate patient access to advanced therapies through the development of specialised infrastructure for the delivery of these products in the NHS. These cell and gene based therapies are aimed at the treatment of life-limiting and inherited diseases such as cancer, Duchenne muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis.

The ATTC Network Programme is a UK system of Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres (ATTC) operating within the NHS framework and coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult to address the challenges of bringing pioneering advanced therapy medicinal products to patients. The centres are spread across the country and include Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre which comprises Birmingham, Cardiff, Leicester, Nottingham and Swansea.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “We want to build back better by putting the UK at the forefront of new technologies to create high-skilled jobs, increase productivity and grow the economy as we recover from coronavirus.

“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.”

Tony Harper is Challenge Director for government-funded Faraday Battery Challenge, which is investing up to £274 million to develop batteries that are cost-effective, high-quality, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable,

Tony 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. The announcement today confirms our commitment and determination to build on the hard-won progress the UK has made in the last 3 years on all these fronts and to accelerate progress post COVID-19.”