£4 million programme to tackle sustainability challenges
Digital Catapult and the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult have been awarded £4m from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to accelerate the adoption of digital solutions specifically designed to tackle major sustainability challenges in the UK manufacturing sector.
The two Catapults will work alongside industry partners and innovative small businesses to transform the country’s manufacturing sector by using advanced digital technologies to deliver greater resource efficiency and energy efficiency (REEE) as part of the industry’s journey to net zero. Both Catapults are part of the national Catapult Network of leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK, and the project is funded by the Made Smarter Innovation Challenge at Innovate UK.
The Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Accelerator will facilitate sustainable economic growth by expediting adoption of industrial digital technologies (IDT) in manufacturing – a traditionally long and costly process.
The programme comes amid growing demand to transition manufacturing towards net zero and help the industry meet the UK Government’s environmental objectives. The manufacturing sector contributes over 11% to UK GVA but 12% of UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the Government’s 2017 Made Smarter Review into industrial digitalisation set out a 4.5% target reduction of CO2 emissions. In the 2021 Net Zero Strategy, a legally binding target of 68% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 was also included.
To overcome the difficulties associated with sustainability in manufacturing, five industry partners will work with Digital Catapult and HVM Catapult to scope and define two real-world sustainability challenges each. Ten startups will join the programme to prototype and pilot innovative solutions to these challenges that utilise artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies.
Supported by experts at Digital Catapult and HVM Catapult, the startups’ solutions will help the five manufacturing partners improve productivity, cut costs and drive down carbon emissions.