Government launches first phase of £246m investment in battery technology

A new £14.5m cyber security innovation centre, that will see larger firms collaborate with start-ups, will also be built in London

The government has announced it is launching the first phase of its £264m investment designed to make the UK a world leader in battery technology.

Led by business and energy secretary Greg Clark, the Faraday Challenge is a four-year investment round that seeks to nurture and boost R&D and expertise in the battery technology sector.

Forming part of the government’s industrial strategy, over a quarter of the UK’s electricity is currently being generated through renewables, signifying significant opportunities exist for start-ups and businesses looking to disrupt this space.

The Faraday Challenge’s competitions are divided into three streams – research, innovation and scale-up – which are designed to transform the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready tech products.

Initiatives within the research stream includes a £45m competition, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which aims to bring the most innovative universities together to create a ‘battery institute’ for R&D purposes.

The most promising research completed by this institute will then be moved closer to the market through collaborative R&D competitions, led by Innovate UK, in the innovation stage – with special emphasis placed on making the tech accessible for small businesses.

Finally, a competition in the scale-up stream, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, will identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.

Elsewhere, a new £14.5m cyber security innovation centre, that will see larger firms collaborate with start-ups to develop cyber tech, will also be built in London.

Resident start-ups will be given access to expert technical mentoring and business support to help them scale and create the solutions necessary to help combat the ever increasing threat of cyber crime.

The news comes months after the National Cyber Security Centre was also opened in the nation’s capital.

It is one of two new centres being developed to help make sure UK firms have access to the latest cyber technology to secure their businesses.

An innovation centre in Cheltenham opened earlier this year with the launch of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator programme.

Seven start-ups have so far graduated, with a competition to find the next cohort due to close on 9 August.

Speaking at the launch of the Faraday Challenge, Clark said:

“Our strategy will create the conditions that boost earning power throughout the country – its people, places and companies.

“If every part of Britain is to prosper in the future we need to ensure that we have the right policies and institutions in place to drive the productivity – which is to say, the earning power – of the economy, and the people and places that make it up.”

Commenting on London’s new cyber security innovation centre, Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital and culture, said:

“London is one of the world’s most important tech sectors, with a record £5.6bn investment in the industry in the past six months and a new tech firm formed every hour in the capital.

“Our investment in a new cyber innovation centre will not only cement the city’s position as a world leader but also boost the whole country by giving UK firms access to the latest cyber technology and allowing start-ups to get the support they need to develop.”

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