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    Manufacturing electronic systems of the future COMPETITION FOR COLLABORATIVE R&D AND FEASIBILITY STUDY FUNDING FEBRUARY 2014


    The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £4.75m in collaborative R&D and feasibility studies to stimulate innovation and growth in the manufacture of electronic systems.

    We are looking to fund projects that explore novel manufacturing processes that could lead to new ways of making products in future. The early exploitation of these processes should improve competitiveness by enhancing functionality, reducing size or cost, adapting form and/or enabling rapid scale-up.

    We are seeking to fund business-led collaborative R&D (industrial research), with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). We expect collaborative R&D project costs to be up to £500k and for projects to last between 12 and 24 months.

    Design is likely to play a significant part in collaborative R&D project work and so we are also offering projects specialist design support through our Design Option.

    Proposals for feasibility studies (preindustrial research) must be business-led and can involve a single business or be collaborative. Business partners can attract public funding of up to 65% of their project costs (75% for SMEs). We expect feasibility project costs to be up to £75k and for projects to last up to 9 months.

    The competition opens for both types of project on 17 February 2014 and the deadline for registration is noon on 26 March 2014. The deadline for expressions of interest for collaborative R&D projects, and for applications for feasibility projects, is noon on 2 April 2014.

    A briefing event and webinar for potential applicants will be held in London on 26 February 2014.


    The UK has more than 5,500 companies that design and manufacture electronic systems. These companies include small and medium-sized businesses, microenterprises and large companies, and the sector contributes around £78bn (5%) to UK GDP. Electronics manufacturing has been the subject of several influential reports: the Electronics Systems Community (ESCO) published A Blueprint for UK Economic Growth in 2013, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published Power Electronics: A Strategy for Success in 2011, and also published The Future of Manufacturing in 2013.

    The UK’s expertise is acknowledged in world-leading, R&D-intensive electronic systems markets, where there is considerable innovation in the creation of new products. However, a number of challenges have been identified that could affect the growth potential of the UK electronics industry, including:

    • the ability to scale up production to address the future demand of emerging markets, such as that for electric vehicles
    • technology markets often exhibit a ‘winner takes all’ dynamic, where success depends on scaling up faster than rivals
    • packaging and interconnection technologies for high-density systems integration
    • the cost of energy in manufacturing
    • intelligent, self-checking products
    • techniques to embed ubiquitous sensors
    • reconfigurable, sustainable manufacturing techniques.

    In our strategies for high value manufacturing and for enabling technologies, we have agreed to invest in core competencies that will integrate new materials with manufacturing technologies through the application of intelligent systems and embedded electronics.

    Link to competition Brief Manufacturing electronic systems of the future – Competition brief

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham