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New fund to develop digital innovation to revolutionise Britain’s Manufacturing supply chains

Today Made Smarter and UK Research and Innovation launch two funding competitions of up to to £1.5million for each individual project bid from a total funding pot of £20M.  The competitions have been created for Britain’s most innovative businesses to come together to develop world-leading digital technologies to boost supply chain productivity and resilience to turbo-charge the COVID recovery.

Through funding from the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, led by Innovate UK, business-led consortia can apply for funding for projects up to £1.5M to transform supply chains to help build a more efficient, flexible and resilient manufacturing sector. Developing innovative digital solutions which rethink and restructure the way businesses design and operate supply chains is key to super-charging manufacturing so it comes out top on an ever more competitive global stage.  The competition comprises of two strands running at the same time: feasibility studies and industrial research.

The COVID crisis has highlighted the fragility of supply chains, and the importance of supply chain visibility and resilience both now and in the future. With the right technology in place creative solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can boost supply chain power by predicting shortages, demand spikes and direct supplies into the chain.

Businesses applying for the new funding can look to improve results from existing supply chains, redesign or re-engineer supply chains or design completely new supply chain concepts for new products or processes. Companies of any size may apply and the consortia must include at least one SME. Projects ranging in size from as little as £250,000 to £3million. SME businesses which are Technology developers or Manufacturing companies can benefit from funding up to 70% of their project costs. The projects can take up to two years to complete.

 Juergen Maier, Co-Chair Made Smarter said:

“Post Covid, more use of digital technologies can have a turbo-charge effect on kick-starting the economy as a whole. Creating resilient and efficient supply chains is a key component of that, where better data analytics, modelling and connectivity can help drill down into supply chains and improve efficiencies very significantly.

“Looking to improve supply chain operations will give business a much-needed boost as they work flat out to replenish their order books as we slowly come out of the current crisis. This new funding pot will enable the best and most forward-thinking minds to come together to create world class supply chain technologies which will end up being the new must-have for companies in the global market.”

The deadline for applications is midday on 7th October 2020. Companies of any size may apply and the consortia must include at least one SME.


Made Smarter is a national movement to drive growth amongst UK makers and advance the UK economy. Backed by world-renowned businesses and the UK government, it will improve the development and adoption of emerging technologies. Making a real, everyday difference to people from the boardroom to the factory floor. Made Smarter was formed following a nationwide review into UK manufacturing that recommended three key changes: More ambitious leadership. More innovation in developing new technologies. And faster implementation and adoption of those technologies. We’ll be boosting the digital skills of industry leaders, bringing businesses and research development together to develop new technology, and helping makers embrace new digital tools. In doing so, we’ll inspire the next industrial revolution and make the UK a leader in digital technologies.


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