Press release: David Sweeney appointed Executive Chair Designate of Research England

The Higher Education and Research Bill, subject to Parliamentary approval, proposes to establish Research England as a Council of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to undertake the England only research and knowledge exchange functions currently performed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

During the transition to UKRI David will continue in his current role as Director of Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange within HEFCE alongside working as part of the shadow UKRI executive team to set up the new organisation. David will then transition to become the first Executive Chair of Research England upon the creation of UKRI in April 2018.

Research England will oversee the England-only functions in relation to research and knowledge exchange, including providing grant funding to English universities for research and knowledge exchange activities, developing and implementing the Research Excellence Framework in partnership with the UK Higher Education (HE) funding bodies, oversight of sustainability of the HE research base in England and overseeing the £900 million UK Research Partnership Investment Fund. This will secure and enhance the role of the dual support funding system for research, the protection of which will be enshrined in legislation for the first time as part of these reforms.

Announcing the appointment Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

David’s contribution to the UK’s world renowned science and innovation sector will ensure he will establish a strong, strategic vision for Research England. The appointment demonstrates the outstanding leadership he’s shown to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and his extensive experience will be vital to the creation of UK Research and Innovation.

Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive Designate said:

I am delighted that David Sweeney will continue his fine work that he has been undertaking at HEFCE when he becomes the first Research England Executive Chair in UKRI, subject to Parliament.

David Sweeney, Executive Chair Designate of Research England said:

I am delighted to be taking on this role. The UK’s research system is among the very best globally, with over 90% of our world-leading publications having university authorship. The partnerships between our universities and business, health, cultural and social organisations are central to economic growth as well as social and cultural impact. Research England will be an advocate to government on behalf of universities and challengers to universities to deliver to national agendas. The strategic decisions which universities make are central to the future of cities, regions, the nation and our world.

Research England will work with the other councils in UKRI to enhance our global research position and will liaise with the funding bodies in the devolved organisations to contribute at UK as well as England only level. We will also collaborate with the Office for Students as teaching and research agendas in universities are intrinsically linked to deliver both the highly-skilled graduates and new knowledge which our nation needs.

The role of executive chairs will be crucial to the ambition for UKRI to be a world-leading research and innovation organisation. Each of the 9 councils that will be part of UKRI will be led by an executive chair, a role which will combine the responsibilities of the current chair and chief executive of each council.

Notes to editors

1) The Higher Education and Research Bill proposes the creation of a new body – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – that will be the strategic centre of the UK’s research and innovation funding system. It will provide a strong and unified voice championing UK research and innovation, facilitating dialogue with government and partners on the global stage. The Bill also establishes 9 Councils within UKRI - 7 of the Councils reflect the functions of the existing Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

2) David Sweeney is a statistician and Director (Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange) at the Higher Education Funding Council for England. After gaining First Class Honours in Statistics at the University of Aberdeen, he worked at 2 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) research institutes, as a consultant statistician then developing mathematical models of plant growth. His work on the computational aspect of this led into broader applications of IT in education and research, and he was Director of Information Services at Royal Holloway, University of London, before moving into university leadership as Vice-Principal (Communications, Enterprise and Research). In this role he was responsible for research strategy and for developing Royal Holloway’s research-led commercial and consultancy activities.

He joined HEFCE in 2008 as Director (Research, Innovation and Skills) and led the development and implementation of the first Research Excellence Framework including the new impact agenda element. He is currently responsible for research policy and funding, knowledge exchange and university/business relations. He also leads on the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and held the Health Education brief until recently. He has advised many overseas governments on research assessment and funding and was a member of the Finch Group on Open Access to Research Outputs.

David was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in 2012, was Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Newcastle, NSW in 2015 and is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Press release: Business Secretary announces Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investments

  • Funding will focus on 6 key areas:
    • healthcare and medicine
    • robotics and artificial intelligence
    • batteries for clean and flexible energy storage
    • self-driving vehicles
    • manufacturing and materials of the future
    • satellites and space technology
  • Government has committed to increasing investment in research and development by £4.7 billion over the next 4 years. The extra £2 billion per year by 2020 to 2021 is the biggest increase in total government R&D investment since records began in 1979.

The government is investing £1 billion in cutting-edge technologies to create jobs and raise living standards, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced today (21 April 2017).

The funding from the flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) will be spent across 6 key areas over the next 4 years, driving progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.

The government has worked with businesses and academics to identify core industrial challenges, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future in which the UK can become world-leading.

Through the ISCF, government will bring together the UK’s world leading research with the ambitions of business to meet these challenges head-on. The funding allocations announced today are designed to help deliver a step-change in the UK’s ability to turn strengths in research into commercialised products.

The first 3 areas set to receive investment through the fund – healthcare and medicine, clean and flexible energy, and robotics and artificial intelligence – were announced at the 2017 Spring Budget. The Business Secretary has today confirmed the total investment in each field (subject to business case approval):

  • clean and flexible energy or the ‘Faraday Challenge’: an investment of £246 million over 4 years to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy, to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles
  • cutting-edge healthcare and medicine: an investment of £197 million over 4 years to develop first-of-a-kind technologies for the manufacture of medicines that will speed up patient access to new drugs and treatments, building on the exporting strengths of the UK’s biopharmaceutical sector
  • robotics and artificial intelligence (AI): an investment of £93 million over 4 years to make industry and public services more productive, by developing AI and robotics systems that can be deployed in extreme environments which occur in off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining

Greg Clark also confirmed today that, subject to business case approval, the 3 additional areas that will be receiving ISCF grants in the next 4 years.

  • driverless cars: to ensure the UK’s reputation as a world-leader in driverless car technology, a sector predicted to be worth £63 billion by 2035, the government will be investing a further £38 million in new collaborative research and development projects, working with industry partners to develop the next generation of AI and control systems need to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the driverless cars revolution
  • manufacturing and future materials: through a new £26 million fund for research and development programmes, the government will support the UK’s civil aerospace industry, a sector which employs over 230,000 people, to develop the next generation of affordable light-weight composite materials for aerospace, automotive and other advanced manufacturing sectors
  • satellites and space technology: building on the UK’s global reputation for satellite technology, a growth industry that underpins mobile technology, the ISCF will provide funding for a £99 million satellite test facility supporting new launch technologies and the manufacturing and testing capabilities that will allow the UK to construct future satellites and deliver payloads into orbit

Further announcements on allocations, including dual support funding, will be made in due course. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

As part of our Plan for Britain this government wants to create a modern Industrial Strategy to support the key sectors of our economy and spread jobs, prosperity and opportunity around the whole country.

Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we will provide an enormous boost to our world-class research and development sector, to help turn brilliant British innovations into new businesses and good jobs.

The UK is home to some of the world’s best innovators at the very forefront of global excellence. The funding I am announcing today, providing hundreds of millions of pounds of support to develop the next generation of technologies across a range of sectors, shows our determination and commitment to making sure the UK remains at the very forefront of research innovation for years to come.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

Addressing the UK’s productivity gap is key to raising living standards and ensuring we are match fit to compete in the global economy. That is why I created the £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund.

As we leave the EU, we are determined to help Britain’s innovators compete with the best and seize the opportunities ahead, and this money will help advance our position as a global leader in developing cutting-edge technologies.

To hit the ground running, Innovate UK has confirmed that it will be supporting a £10 million first wave of projects through the ISCF in each of the 6 areas with a number of smaller projects, starting in 2017 to 2018*. Thirty-five projects have been selected for funding with innovations in projects ranging from fast chargers for electric vehicles and using 3D scanning technology to aid care for hospital patients, to the use of aerospace technology in the creation of biomedical prosthetics.

Chief Executive of Innovate UK Dr Ruth McKernan said:

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will deliver the science that business needs. By supporting business-led innovation, the industrial strategy will accelerate business growth, boost productivity and create high-skilled jobs.

By announcing these first challenges we are giving businesses the green light to start finding solutions to some of our major societal and industrial challenges and at the same time helping us fully realise economic impact from our world class science base.

Chair of Research Councils UK, Professor Philip Nelson said:

For innovation and growth to be successful there needs to be a strong and coherent innovation chain that joins up fundamental research and industrial expertise across all sectors. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund supports the necessary environment for new discoveries to arise, innovation to flourish and novel products and services to be delivered. The first of these challenges will maintain and strengthen the UK’s leading position as the best place in the world to research, innovate and grow business.

To support delivery of the ISCF, the government announced at the Spring Budget it will invest £250 million over the next 4 years to continue to build the pipeline of high-skilled research talent.

This will include an additional 1,000 PhD places and support for new fellowships for early and mid-career researchers, both in areas aligned to the Industrial Strategy. This will be supplemented with targeted investment to attract global talent from overseas to the UK, helping to maintain the UK’s position as a world-leader in science and research.

The ISCF was created to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy, with investment earmarked for technologies where the UK can build on its world-leading strengths and help innovative businesses to tap into large and growing global markets, as well as the industries of the future.

The fund is being administered by Innovate UK and the Research Councils until the new body UK Research and Investment (UKRI) is formed in 2018. UKRI, under the leadership of its recently appointed Chief Executive Sir Mark Walport, will play a key role in strengthening the UK’s competitiveness through the Industrial Strategy.

The government has now concluded its 8-week consultation on its Industrial Strategy following its open call to people, businesses and local groups across the country to contribute to the vision set out in the green paper. Responses will now be considered before a white paper is published later in the year.

Notes to editors

The 35 projects Innovate UK are funding, subject to the completion of due diligence, through the £10 million investment are made up of 73 different collaboration partners, right across the country and all the projects led by SMEs.

See below for case study examples of the first wave of ISCF projects funded through Innovate UK.

Aerospace technology in creation prosthetics

Birmingham based Wallwork HT are innovators in coating technology and have teamed up with University of Leeds to develop a coating for Titanium alloys that uses technology developed for aircraft landing gear and translates it to the biomedical sector use in prosthetics.

3D scanners for wound care in hospital

Chester based Cadscan are looking to develop a novel, non-invasive diagnostic platform to assist in wound categorisation, treatment planning and monitoring of healing, designed specifically for non-specialist use in a primary care setting. By enabling more consistent diagnoses and treatment it will contribute to lower healthcare costs, faster rates of healing, less incorrect use of antibiotics and greater quality of life for patients with long term health conditions.


Bristol based OC Robotics are developing Snake-arm robots for use in the nuclear and aerospace industries. They are developing an intelligent system capable of identifying features/objects of interest, carrying out appropriate activities on the features and then presenting the data with augmented-reality, with tagged locations and all without human intervention.

Press release: Government confirms funding for EU students for 2018 to 2019

The government has today (21 April 2017) confirmed that EU students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, master’s, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in academic year 2018 to 2019.

The decision means EU students applying for an undergraduate or master’s course at an English university or further education institution in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.

EU students are eligible for home fee status, which means they are charged the same tuition fees as UK students. Other non-EU, international students do not have their tuition fees capped in this way.

EU nationals will also remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions for 2018 to 2019 to help cover costs for the duration of their study.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

We have been clear about our commitment to the UK’s world-class higher education sector. Through our modern industrial strategy and the additional £4.7 billion committed for research and innovation over the next 5 years, we are ensuring the UK has the skills and environment it needs to continue leading the way in academia and research.

A key part of our success is attracting talent from across the globe. This will provide reassurance to the brightest minds from across Europe to continue applying to study in the UK, safe in the knowledge financial assistance is available if needed.


  1. Student loans and grants: funding rules for EU nationals, or their family members, who are applying for a place at university from August 2018 to study a course that attracts student support will remain unchanged.
  2. Under current student finance rules, EU students are eligible to receive undergraduate tuition fee loans and master’s loans if they have resided in the European Economic Area for at least 3 years prior to study. EU nationals who have resided in the UK for over 5 years are also able to apply for undergraduate maintenance support.
  3. Research Council studentships: EU nationals are eligible for a fees-only award. EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the studentship may be eligible for both a fees award and a stipend to help cover the cost of their training.
  4. The migration status of EU nationals in the UK is being discussed as part of wider discussions with the EU. The Prime Minister was clear in her letter to the President of the European Council that that we should seek an early agreement on the rights of UK nationals in the EU and EU nationals in the UK, on a reciprocal basis.

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Press release: Over 170 British businesses recognised for enterprise excellence on Her Majesty’s 91st birthday

  • established in 1965, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise celebrates the UK’s small and medium sized businesses
  • this year’s winners include the first group for the Promoting Opportunity category
  • research shows nearly 75% of past winners attribute the Queen’s Awards to increased international sales
  • entries are open as of today for the 2018 awards

Business Secretary Greg Clark today (21 April) named the winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 91st birthday.

One hundred and seventy-six businesses from across the UK have been recognised for their contribution to international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity.

This year’s winners include UK businesses leading the way in a broad range of industries - from green energy solutions and medical healthcare, to laser technology and digital marketing.

Now in its 51st year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are one of the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next 5 years.

Successful businesses included:

  • 11 winners of the sustainable business award
  • 57 winners of the innovation award
  • 102 winners for the international trade award
  • 6 winners for the promoting opportunity award

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise highlights everything that’s great about UK business today.

We have some of the best entrepreneurs and innovative minds in the world who are at the heart of small start-ups providing excellent customer service to larger businesses developing global solutions. Over 1 million new businesses have been created since 2010, all playing a vital role in creating jobs and driving growth across the UK.

I’m extremely proud to see such a wealth of businesses being recognised today. Through our Industrial Strategy we will be building on the successes of these award winning businesses, helping to build a stronger, more outward looking and prosperous global Britain.

Five small and medium sized companies – MastaPlasta Limited, Servecorp Limited, EcoTile Flooring Ltd, 10ACT Ltd t/a TrackBack, and Oakland International Ltd – received awards for both International Trade and Innovation, with Oakland International Ltd getting the double for International Trade and Sustainable Development.

Six businesses have also been named winners of the new Promoting Opportunity category. This new area was introduced to recognise the important work of social mobility initiatives and programmes that specifically reach out and support people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Winners include Allen & Overy LLP, its Smart Start programme has supported over 770 young people in gaining high quality work experience and Procurement Plus Holdings Ltd which has helped 354 people into employment.

According to research by the University of Strathclyde, 73% of International Trade winners between 2012 and 2015 directly attributed increased international sales to winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Entry to the 2018 Awards opens on 21 April 2017 and closes on Friday 1 September 2017. To apply and for more information, go to:

Press release: Green Investment Bank to boost support for low carbon projects as government confirms sale to Macquarie

  • under Macquarie’s ownership GIB will look to invest least £3 billion of new investment into green economy over the next 3 years
  • £2.3 billion deal will meet government requirements for a sale, providing value for the taxpayer while ensuring GIB continues its green mission in the private sector
  • the deal has the backing of GIB’s independent board

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) will look to invest at least £3 billion into the green economy after a deal was agreed to sell it to Macquarie Group Limited (Macquarie), Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd confirmed today (20 April 2017).

The deal, which has the backing of GIB’s independent board, was secured through a competitive process and will meet the objectives government outlined when it launched the sales process last year. As well as securing value for money for the taxpayer and freeing GIB from the constraints of public sector ownership, it will enable GIB to grow its support for green projects.

Nick Hurd Climate Change and Industry Minister said:

The Green Investment Bank has been very successful in attracting private capital to the UK’s green economy. It now makes sense to move it into the private sector where it will be free from the constraints of public sector ownership, allowing it to build further on its success.

This deal gives us the best of both worlds. We have secured fair value for the UK taxpayer. GIB has a well-funded new owner that is committed to the Bank’s green mission, with a track record of success in green investment and an ambition to grow the business. The UK will benefit from increased investment in our green infrastructure as we make the transition to a green economy.

Today’s sale to Macquarie, with a transaction value of around £2.3 billion, ensures that on completion, all taxpayer funding invested in GIB since its creation, including set-up costs, has been returned with a profit.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of GIB’s independent board said:

There is a compelling logic in the world’s first green bank joining forces with the world’s largest infrastructure investor. When we embarked on this process, we were determined to find a new owner who would build on GIB’s successful history - an owner who would have access to deep pools of capital, a commitment to expand GIB’s activities, and a respect for the unique role GIB has played in the market. Macquarie will bring all of this to GIB, along with its own impressive track record of green investments. Its vision for the future growth of GIB demonstrates a redoubling of its commitment to a low carbon economy.

Launched in 2012, GIB has been a huge success story, supporting nearly 100 green infrastructure projects in the UK to date. For every £1 it has invested, it has attracted another £3 of third party capital.

GIB will become the primary vehicle for Macquarie’s renewable energy investment in the UK and Europe, with a commitment to target £3 billion of new green infrastructure investment over the next three years, exceeding GIB’s track record of committing £3.4 billion of investment over the 4 and a half years since it was established.

Macquarie has published today a series of commitments for the future of GIB under its ownership, including:

  • maintaining GIB’s green purpose and green objectives, in line with the ‘special share’ arrangements to safeguard GIB’s green purpose which will be held by five independent trustees
  • maintaining the GIB platform and brand, and to utilise the skills and experience of GIB employees in Edinburgh and London
  • GIB’s Edinburgh office will be home to a new revenue generating project delivery business providing services to the green energy portfolios of GIB and Macquarie in the UK

David Fass, CEO EMEA, Macquarie Group, said:

The addition of the Green Investment Bank, its people and expertise, strengthens Macquarie’s commitment to the green energy sector. Our combined platform will build on the legacy of the Green Investment Bank and, alongside our knowledge of energy and infrastructure, will open further opportunities in low carbon investment both in the UK and further afield. We are excited by a business that will take a leading role in the green economy using the specialist knowledge of our teams in Edinburgh and London.

As part of the transaction, a number of GIB assets will be moved into a new offshore wind investment vehicle which will be managed by GIB, which will retain a 25% stake. Investors in this investment vehicle will be long-term institutional investors Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5 (MEIF5) and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

This transaction structure matches GIB’s existing approach to asset ownership following its success in raising a £1 billion offshore wind fund and selling three GIB assets into that fund. GIB was established to accelerate investment in new green energy projects, not to be a long-term owner of operating projects.

The government will continue to hold a £130 million portfolio of a small number of GIB’s existing green infrastructure investments. These assets will continue to be managed by GIB until they are sold on in a way which returns best value for taxpayers’ money.

Since 2010, Macquarie and its managed funds have invested or arranged more than £8.5 billion of capital into green energy projects globally. In the UK, Macquarie is involved in a number of green energy projects in offshore wind, solar, waste and bioenergy and tidal energy.

The deal will support GIB’s international expansion into Europe and developing countries. As part of this, Macquarie is committed to supporting the UK Climate Investments Initiative, a £200 million pilot joint venture between GIB and the government, established to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries.

Notes to editors

1) Completion of the transaction is conditional on certain regulatory approvals including EU merger clearance and is expected to take around 2 months.

The total value of the transaction at the date of signing is £2.3 billion, which comprises:

  • £1.7 billion transaction price
  • £0.6 billion estimated future funding commitments for existing GIB projects

At completion, the total value of the transaction will adjust for any further GIB investments made between signing and completion, together with an interest rate applied between the dates of signing and completion.

The total government funding provided to GIB since 2012 is £1.5 billion. The transaction price at the date of signing represents a £160 million (approximate) premium on total government funding.

2) The Green Purposes Company was established on 2 February 2016 to hold a ‘special share’ that safeguards the green mission of the GIB once it moves from UK government ownership into the private sector. The trustees will formally take up their role on completion of the sale. The nominated trustees are:

  • Tushita Ranchan (Chair), experienced green infrastructure investor and former CEO of a renewable energy company
  • James Curran – former CEO of Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Trevor Hutchings - previously a senior civil servant at the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and currently Director of Advocacy at WWF
  • Robin Teverson – chair of House of Lords EU select sub-committee, Energy and Environment
  • Peter Young - environmentalist and former Chair, Aldersgate Group

Press release: £29 million boost for bioscience

  • Roslin Institute to benefit from £29 million of UK Government money
  • New funding is part of £319 million investment in UK bioscience
  • Announcement comes as Greg Clark meets businesses from across Scotland to discuss the Industrial Strategy

Business Secretary Greg Clark has today announced £29 million of funding for the Roslin Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh.

This investment is part of a total £319 million the UK government has today committed for UK bioscience funding over the next five years, delivering opportunities for highly-skilled jobs and cementing the UK as a world-leader in science and innovation as we build our Industrial Strategy.

The £29 million funding for the Roslin Institute will play a vital role in the government’s and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) mission to further scientific knowledge, particularly around controlling infectious diseases, such as bird flu, and helping researchers develop solutions to modern healthcare challenges.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we will build on Scotland’s exceptional strengths and use all the tools at our disposal to ensure every part of the country can reach its potential, ensuring that prosperity is spread across the UK.

Science, research and innovation are at the heart of the Industrial Strategy which is why we’re providing more than £4.7 billion of additional funding over the next five years, including the £319 million for bioscience research. The Roslin Institute is a great example of Scotland’s world class bioscience sector and exactly the sort of project our Industrial Strategy will support.

Welcoming the announcement of £29 million for the Roslin Institute, Professor Melanie Welham, Chief Executive from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council said:

Keeping the UK a global hub of vibrant research and innovation requires strategic investment in excellent research. I’m delighted that the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, is able to announce this significant investment in bioscience research. Alongside other disciplines, bioscience is vital for ensuring UK research and innovation remains competitive, addresses real world challenges and makes a difference to people’s lives.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said:

This investment will help to ensure Roslin’s continuing success over the next five years. The Institute plays a pivotal role in the University’s mission to tackle the many pressing issues in animal health and welfare, including those which have implications for human health and sustainability of animals in the food chain.

With only one week to go until the end of the Industrial Strategy green paper consultation, the Business Secretary and the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, will hold a meeting this morning in Edinburgh with a number of Scottish businesses from a range of sectors. The reception will be an opportunity for the business, science and academic community to discuss how the government’s Plan for Britain and Industrial Strategy can benefit workers, entrepreneurs and businesses in the Scottish economy and across the U.K.

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:

The investment of £29 million of UK government funding for the Roslin Institute underpins our ambitious Industrial Strategy, as we ensure that innovative Scottish industries such as biosciences lead the way in research and development on a global scale.

As we prepare to negotiate our exit from the EU, the UK government are supporting Scottish businesses, from Harris Tweed to whisky, to compete in markets across the globe and create skilled, sustainable and secure jobs.

The Business Secretary started his two day tour by visiting Stornoway, where he met representatives of the Scottish Island Renewable Delivery forum to discuss renewable energy in the Outer Hebrides and also went to the Kenneth MacKenzie Harris Tweed mill, which plays a vital role in Scotland’s textile industry, exporting to 60 countries.

Whisky is one of Scotland’s great industries and world beating excellence, generating £3.95 billion for the UK economy in 2015 with nearly 100 million cases of whisky exported worldwide. To discuss the enduring success of the sector, the Business Secretary travelled to the Isle of Harris Whisky Distillery, which began distilling shortly after it was built in September 2015.

During his visit, the Business Secretary is due to meet Scottish Government Ministers Keith Brown and Paul Wheelhouse. They are expected to discuss how the UK and Scottish Governments can work together and how the Industrial Strategy will stimulate growth and boost prosperity across Scotland.

The engagement taking place follows the launch of the UK Government’s green paper, ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’, in January which outlined 10 pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12 week consultation period. The pillars cover a broad range of themes including skills, infrastructure, affordable energy and clean growth.

The strategy proposes plans for driving growth across the UK, with a framework to build on local strengths and reduce regional disparities in opportunities and prosperity.

The UK government has issued an open invitation to industries, businesses and local groups to visit the Industrial Strategy consultation and help set the priorities for a modern Industrial Strategy.

The consultation period has just over 1 week remaining, closing on April 17, after which the UK Government will consider responses before publishing a white paper later in the year.

Press release: Over £109 million of funding for driverless and low carbon projects

  • £109 million of government investment into cutting-edge automotive research and development (R&D) projects
  • seven low carbon vehicle projects set to receive a share of £62 million funding, safeguarding 2,370 jobs
  • first winners of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV2) competition set to receive £31 million

Business Secretary Greg Clark and Transport Minister John Hayes have today (11 April 2017) awarded £109.7 million of government funding, alongside significant funding from industry, to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles, as part of the Industrial Strategy and the government’s Plan for Britain.

Seven innovative projects will share grants from the latest round of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the joint industry-government programme to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology.

The projects, led by BMW, CNH Industrial, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Penso Consulting, Westfield Sportscars and Williams Advanced Engineering, cover a wide range of new innovations which will help the UK to continue to build on its excellence and become a global leader in low-emissions technology, and safeguard 2,370 jobs in the UK.

Successful schemes include:

  • the development of a high power battery suitable for high-performance vehicles
  • a project to address gaps in and strengthen the UK supply chain
  • the development of the fuelling system for a concept gas tractor
  • technologies to reduce the weight and improve electrification in SUV vehicle platforms

A further 7 projects have won funding from the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) to advance the development of a range of ultra-low and zero emissions vehicle technologies in the UK. These projects will be led by Equipmake, Ford Motor Company, Great British Sports Cars, Jaguar Land Rover, Ricardo Innovations, Romax Technology and Wrightbus.

In a fresh commitment to supporting these innovative technologies, the government is also announcing today that people buying an electric vehicle will continue to benefit from up to £4,500 off the cost of an ultra-low emission car, up to £2,500 off a hybrid and receive £500 towards the installation of a charge point in their home.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Low carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a Government we are determined through the Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution. Investment in this technology is an integral part of this Government’s efforts, to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.

The projects being awarded funding today will help extend our excellence in these cutting edge research fields, helping to safeguard jobs while ensuring the UK remains the go-to destination for automotive excellence.

Transport Minister John Hayes said:

I am absolutely committed to improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities, which is essential for people’s health and the environment.

This government is investing £109 million to support British businesses in developing innovative, important technologies which will greatly reduce our emissions footprint.

The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads is at record levels and our renewed support for these exciting technologies is yet another significant milestone.

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC, said:

The APC funding demonstrates the depth of low carbon development that is now possible in the UK. From powertrain, to lightweighting, to energy storage, these new projects will not only lower emissions but secure thousands of jobs, address supply chain gaps, and help the UK become a true global leader in advanced vehicle technology.

The government also announced the first set of winners of the second round of its connected autonomous vehicles competition, CAV2, with projects set to receive a share of up to £31 million, match funded by industry. Twenty-four projects demonstrated clear commercial value and identified technical solutions for CAV technology, including how these vehicles will work within the UK transport system. Further successful projects from this competition round will be announced soon.

Funding is divided into four streams and ideas include projects using cars and pods platooning, or going in formation, to transport passengers from Stockport train station to Manchester Airport, create vehicles capable of driving in a range of road environments and technology which could make any car operate autonomously.

The CAV2 competition includes funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for four one-year research and development projects supporting CAV vehicle developments, specifically in the areas of energy reduction and air quality improvements. The government will launch its third CAV competition, CAV3, to fund further industry-led research and development projects later in the year.

Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said:

These successful industry-led R&D projects will further spearhead UK development of low emission, and connected and autonomous vehicle technology, building on our world-leading research and innovation capability in this area and the significant strength of UK businesses large and small in this field.

Today’s announcements follow the launch of the first phase of government’s £100 million CAV test bed programme at the end of March with a competition worth £55 million. In a speech to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Connected Conference in London, the Business Secretary outlined plans to create a cluster of excellence in CAV testing along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London.

The test bed programme forms part of the government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to develop world-class CAV testing infrastructure. The programme will use some of the UK’s existing CAV testing centres to create a concentrated cluster of testing facilities in the UKs automotive heartland in the West Midlands, including; Coventry, Birmingham, Milton Keynes as well as Oxford and London.

Through the launch of the Industrial Strategy green paper and the Plan for Britain, the government has significantly increased investment in research and development and reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the UK remains a world-leader in science and innovation ahead of the UK leaving the EU. This year OLEV will be publishing its long term strategy for the UK’s transition to zero emission vehicles.

Government support

  • APC – 7 projects with support up to £62 million
  • CAV2 – 24 projects with support up to £31 million
  • OLEV – 7 projects with support up to £16.7 million

Total combined support is £109.7 million subject to due diligence

Further information

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)

The APC is a £1 billion, 10-year programme to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production. It was formed in 2013 in a joint commitment by government and the automotive industry, through the Automotive Council, and aims to save 50 million tonnes CO2 by 2023.

APC facilitates partnerships between those who have good ideas and those who can bring them to market. The services provided by the APC enable projects which provide profitable growth and sustainable opportunities for the partners involved. Each programme enhances the UK’s position as a propulsion nation and contributes to the country’s economic prosperity.

So far, APC has launched and awarded 6 funding competitions to more than 100 organisations, with investment totalling £475 million. The awarded projects have safeguarded more than 14,000 automotive supply chain jobs and saved more than 20 million tonnes CO2.

The activity in this £1 billion project is delivered through a small team working across the UK from a central Hub located at the University of Warwick and regional Spoke locations.

APC projects awarded funding will be led by:

  • BMW – South East
  • CNH Industrial – East of England
  • Ford Motor Company Ltd – East of England
  • Jaguar Land Rover – West Midlands
  • Penso Consulting Ltd – West Midlands
  • Westfield Sportscars Ltd – West Midlands
  • Williams Advanced Engineering – South East

Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV)

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is a joint unit of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport. CCAV is a single point of contact for those in industry, academia and internationally set up to keep the UK at the forefront of the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology. For further information and to stay updated on the latest news and government activity on connected and autonomous vehicles visit and follow us on twitter at @ccavgovuk.

CAV2 projects awarded funding

  • HumanDrive
  • 5*StarS: Automotive Cyber Security through Assurance
  • Smart ADAS Verification and Validation Methodology
  • Multi-Car Collision Avoidance
  • Self-organising Wide area Autonomous vehicle Real time Marshalling
  • Project Synergy
  • Connected Fully Integrated Driver Ecosystem
  • Anytime, Anywhere Low Cost Localisation
  • Vote3Deep
  • Non-Intrusive Vehicle Monitoring System (NiVMS)
  • Connected Autonomous Sensing Service Delivery Vehicles
  • Using Machine Learning and AI to explore systems for costing and managing Mobility as a Service
  • Cambridge Autonomous Bus System Feasibility Study
  • Advancing UK Autonomous Vehicle Radar Sensing Technology
  • Secure CAN with Q-PUF
  • 5G Millimetre-Wave Connectivity to Cars
  • Quantum-based secure communication for CAVs
  • Project Alloyed
  • Requirement Evaluation of CAV Location Performance and Platform Development
  • City-Compatible Commercial Automated Ride Sharing
  • Real Time NOx calculation in LCV and HGV diesel vehicles using OBD real time engine data
  • Autonomous and Connected vehicles for CleaneR Air

The announcement of CAV2 winners builds on the £20 million allocated to projects in the first competition, CAV1, and the further £19 million invested by government in 2016 in three driverless car trials in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry.

Press release: Joint statement: India-UK energy for growth partnership

India’s Minister for Power, New & Renewable Energy, Coal and Mines, Piyush Goyal, and the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, took forward the commitment of their Prime Ministers for an enhanced Energy for Growth Partnership between the two countries.

The ministers noted over 30 years of UK-India collaboration on energy spanning investment, research, policy, technical and commercial partnerships in the power, renewables, energy efficiency, civil nuclear and oil and gas sectors. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen energy cooperation between India and the UK.

Minister Goyal welcomed the UK’s ongoing technical assistance and climate financing. The two ministers welcomed the current large scale private sector investments between the two countries in the area of energy.

The UK is the largest G20 investor in India with large investments in energy. India is the third largest source of FDI projects in the UK including in the energy sector. They welcomed the productive discussions of the business round tables held as part of the energy dialogue in which opportunities for new partnerships were explored and they expressed their commitment to deepen business to business engagement including efforts to enhance technological collaboration.

Looking forward, they explored opportunities for new bilateral cooperation on shared strategic energy priorities such as security, affordability and sustainability. Secretary of State Clark announced up to £20m of additional technical assistance funding under the Energy for Growth partnership to support priority areas for collaboration on power, renewables, energy access and efficiency and oil and gas.

On power and renewable energy, the two ministers agreed that priorities will include helping India’s power sector companies introduce smart technology to improve performance and reduce losses; support for increased energy efficiency; and work to accelerate deployment of renewable energy including through support at state level on planning for renewable energy. This will build on the existing £10m Power Sector Reform Programme that is focusing on efficient, reliable and sustainable electricity supply, increasing integration of renewable energy into the grid and improving energy access.

The ministers appreciated the strides made by Energy Efficient Services Limited (EESL) by investing in seven energy saving projects in the UK that have been in successful operation for more than two years yielding dividends. They welcomed the opening of operations in the UK by India’s EESL.

The two ministers recognised the need for an accelerated rate of investment to meet PM Modi’s ambitious energy plans. Secretary of State Clark welcomed the various support mechanisms introduced by Government of India to promote adoption of renewable energy resources including generation-based incentives (GBIs), capital and interest subsidies, viability gap funding (VGF), concessional finance and fiscal incentives. The two ministers welcomed the new instruments for raising finance such as green masala bonds on the London Stock Exchange as well as significant commercial investments in oil and gas and growing investment in renewables by UK companies.

Secretary of State Clark and Minister Goyal welcomed the decision by CDC to establish an independent renewable energy company in India. Secretary of State Clark announced that CDC will invest up to $100m to support projects in the renewable energy sector. This follows the Economic and Financial Dialogue between UK and Indian finance ministers earlier in the week where green finance was an important focus.

This is in addition to significant UK climate funding through multilateral initiatives, such as the Clean Technology Fund for India that has approved an investment plan of US$775 million for India, in which UK is the largest investor.

The two ministers reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement to tackle global climate change and welcomed the early entry into force of the Agreement in 2016. They noted that the Paris Agreement calls for low carbon growth and India and the UK will work together to make the most of the opportunities this brings.

The ministers also emphasised the vital importance of research and innovation on energy and reaffirmed their government’s commitment to continued excellence with impact in this area. India and the UK are building on years of partnership including through the Newton-Bhabha programme. They welcomed wide-ranging jointly funded Research Council UK projects, spanning solar energy, bio-energy, a Joint Virtual Centre on Clean Energy with India’s Department of Science and Technology. They also noted the long running collaboration in civil nuclear with India’s Department of Atomic Energy including a fourth phase of research projects planned to be taken forward in 2017 and the MoU for cooperation with India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP).

Press release: Proposals to introduce transparency to overseas-owned UK property published

  • new proposals would deliver the world’s first public register of the beneficial owners of overseas companies and other legal entities who own UK property
  • National Crime Agency: “Greater transparency will assist investigators track down and recover proceeds of crime”
  • investors, transparency experts and property industry called on by government to help understand how a register could be delivered

Proposals to deliver the world’s first register of overseas companies and other legal entities that own property in the UK have been published as part of the government’s drive to build a fair economy.

The UK would be the first country to have a public register showing the beneficial owners of property controlled by overseas companies and other legal entities, strengthening the UK’s position as a world leader in corporate transparency and anti-corruption.

The register would also list the beneficial owners of overseas-registered firms involved in central government procurement exercises.

While the government welcomes legitimate foreign investment in the UK, overseas investors in the UK property market have also included criminals laundering the proceeds of crime.

Since 2004, law enforcement investigations into international corruption have identified more than £180 million of property in the UK as the suspected proceeds of corruption, with 75% of those investigated using overseas companies to hide their real owners. This is a tactic that investigators pursuing high level money laundering continue to encounter routinely.

The government today (5 April 2017) launched a call for evidence, asking overseas investors, property and transparency experts for their opinions on how this register could be delivered. The government already requires owners and controllers of UK companies to be registered with Companies House.

A research project, due to be launched shortly for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will assess the likely impact of the overseas property register on inward investment and wider corporate transparency.

Business Minister Margot James said:

We are committed to protecting the integrity and reputation of the UK property market and this register would be a valuable measure to increase transparency and investor confidence.

The extension of transparency requirements, which UK owners are already subject to, levels the playing field and means we would know who owns and controls UK property wherever they are from.

Today we are inviting the views of overseas investors, property and transparency experts on how this register could be delivered.

Donald Toon, Director for Economic Crime at the National Crime Agency said:

Criminals and their money launderers will always seek to hide the true ownership of assets, including property, to frustrate investigations and hold onto the profits of their crimes.

Greater transparency over the true ownership and control of UK property held in the name of overseas companies will make the UK a less attractive place to launder money and will assist investigators track down and recover the proceeds of crime.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark, said:

This new register will set a gold standard for transparency and enhance the reputation of the UK property market as an attractive place to do business. We will be working closely with our members to help them understand the requirements that will help shape the world’s first register of its kind.

The call for evidence is open until 15 May 2017 and can be viewed and responded to here:

Notes to editors

  1. Currently £25 million of property is frozen worldwide in connection with ongoing National Crime Agency international corruption investigations.

Press release: UK-wide Industrial Strategy engagement tour continued in Yorkshire

  • Business Secretary Greg Clark and Ministers hosted 100 business leaders at an Industrial Strategy evening reception in Leeds.
  • Lord Prior of Brampton opened a new Metals Discovery Centre in Rotherham, Margot James chaired an Industrial Strategy roundtable with the IoD in Harrogate and Nick Hurd visited BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, in Bradford.

The government’s regional engagement programme for its Industrial Strategy continued last week (30 March) in Yorkshire, where business ministers met companies and workers from across the area to encourage them to contribute to the consultation, which closes in just over 2 weeks.

The day culminated in an evening reception, hosted by Business Secretary Greg Clark and ministers, at KPMG in Leeds with over 100 businesses from a range of sectors in attendance. The reception gave ministers an opportunity to hear the views of Yorkshire’s business community on how best to get the region’s economy growing.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

A modern British Industrial Strategy must build on our strengths as a country and extend excellence into the future, closing the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people.

Through our modern Industrial Strategy and Northern Powerhouse investment we are going to build on Yorkshire’s unique strengths in industries such as offshore wind and specialist engineering, to make the region one of the most competitive areas in the UK to start and grow a business.

We launched our strategy as a green paper because we want this to be a conversation with businesses and employees. My ministerial team and I have visited sites all over Yorkshire to encourage businesses and workers alike to contribute and refine our vision.

Lord Prior of Brampton visited Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park to open the Metals Discovery Centre, following a £10 million investment by metal and alloys company Metalysis. The company is launching its Materials Discovery Centre at the Park to expand its research and development capabilities, and once complete Metalysis hope to employ 100 people across its South Yorkshire sites.

Small Business and Consumer Minister Margot James was in Harrogate hosting an Industrial Strategy meeting with the Institute of Directors (IoD), discussing how the strategy can drive growth in the local economy. The minister then toured the Otley-based and family-run textiles company Marton Mills which has been producing a range of fabrics in the region since 1931.

In Bradford, Industry Minister Nick Hurd visited BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, to learn about the company’s international chemical operations and the local plans for the site. After this the minister hosted a meeting on Industrial Strategy with the manufacturing group EEF at the hydraulics company Oilgear UK in Leeds before meeting with the Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership.

The regional engagement follows the launch of the government’s green paper, ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’, in January which outlined 10 pillars of focus to be discussed as part of a 12 week consultation period. The pillars cover a broad range of themes including skills, infrastructure, affordable energy and clean growth.

The strategy proposes plans for driving growth across the country, with a framework to build on local strengths and reduce regional disparities in opportunities and prosperity.

With a clear ambition of creating an economy that works for everyone, the green paper contains a number of proposed announcements set to benefit Yorkshire and the Humber such as:

  • capitalising on our strengths in the modern energy market, like offshore wind, so businesses such as Siemens in Hull can win a substantial share of the global market
  • building on the work of Transport for the North bringing together planning across the region to develop plans for a west-east rail link
  • investing in skills so there are enough engineers in the region to support the thriving offshore industry

The government has issued an open invitation to industries, businesses and local groups in Yorkshire to visit the Industrial Strategy consultation and help set the priorities for a modern Industrial Strategy.

The consultation period has just over 2 weeks remaining, closing on April 17, after which the government will consider responses before publishing a white paper later in the year.