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Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund brings together leading research and business to tackle the big societal and industrial challenges today.


What is the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund?

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is part of government’s Industrial Strategy, the long-term plan to raise productivity and earning power in the UK.

The fund is a core pillar in the government’s commitment to increase funding in research and development by £4.7 billion over 4 years to strengthen UK science and business.

It will invest in the world-leading research base and highly-innovative businesses to address the biggest industrial and societal challenges today.

What are the challenges?

The challenges have been informed by industry and are where:

  • we already have world-leading research and businesses that are ready to innovate
  • the global market is large or fast-growing and sustainable

Challenge areas shortlisted for future support include: accelerating detection of disease, commercialising quantum, digital security by design, driving the electric revolution, future flight, industrial decarbonisation, manufacturing made smarter, sustainable plastic packaging and transforming foundation industries.

There's more on the shortlisted challenges in our blog. Details will be added here as they are confirmed.

Who is involved in the ISCF?

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has supported 1,820 organisations since its inception in late 2016. Through the first two waves of funding £986 million of government investment has been secured by 497 projects, in addition to almost £488 million of underpinning investment.

Funding has been awarded to projects all across the country – from Orkney-based Ferguson Marine that is working on a project to reduce emissions within the maritime industry through the use of hydrogen to Cornwall-based Goonhilly Earth Station, which is working alongside the European Space Agency on developing antennas for use by private space exploration companies for deep-space communications. Use the map to see examples of innovation near you

Pioneering research organisations, SMEs, charities and the UK’s biggest businesses are all engaged with the fund from Airbus to the Royal Opera House, Saga Robotics, the University of Oxford and Jaguar Land Rover. See how organisations are already getting involved .


Accelerating Detection of Disease

This challenge represents a pioneering programme to recruit 5 million healthy volunteers into a research study that aims to invent new ways to detect and prevent the development of diseases.

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Audience of the future

The next generation of virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences are coming, thanks to a UK government investment to support the best UK storytellers to create ground-breaking experiences in TV, performance, sport and more.

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Commercialising quantum technologies

Quantum technologies have the potential to revolutionise UK industries, from automotive to defence and healthcare. This challenge will take quantum technologies from the lab to commercialisation, creating the products of the future.

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Creative industries clusters

An overview of the government’s programme to grow the creative economy and open up exciting ways to create, distribute, and participate in new products and experiences.

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Digital Security by Design

This challenge aims to tackle the most damaging cyber security threats, helping to ensure the UK remains one of the safest places to do business online. It aims to ensure every UK organisation and consumer is as resilient to cyber threats as possible.

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Driving the electric revolution

This challenge will allow the UK to seize the economic opportunities from the global transition to clean technologies and electrification.

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Faraday battery challenge

The Faraday battery challenge will help to lower carbon and tackle air pollution by improving batteries. It will develop high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and other applications that are more cost-effective, durable, safer, of lower weight and also recyclable.

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From data to early diagnosis and precision medicine

This challenge will create new products and services using the wealth of health data we have in the UK. It will enable clinicians to diagnose individual patients earlier and then choose the best course of treatment to improve their quality of life.

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Future Flight

The Future Flight Challenge will enable the UK to build, use and export new, greener ways of flying through advances in electric and autonomous flight technology. 

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Healthy ageing

The healthy ageing challenge asks industry and researchers to develop products and services to help people remain independent, productive, active and socially connected for longer.

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Industrial decarbonisation

This challenge will boost development of low-carbon technologies to increase competitiveness of key industrial regions and support the UK’s drive for Clean Growth.

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Leading-edge healthcare

To help individual patients get the right drugs and treatments for them at the right time and speed up access to new medicines, this challenge will develop first-of-a-kind technologies for manufacturing, as well as new digital products.

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Low-Cost Nuclear

Announced as part of the Government’s Energy Update in July 2019, this challenge looks to drive down the cost of nuclear through the development of innovative modular reactors that are smaller than conventional nuclear power plants and can be built in a factory.

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Manufacturing and future materials

An overview of government’s challenge to industry and research to develop the next generation of affordable, light-weight composite materials.

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National Satellite Test Facility

An overview of the government’s investment to establish satellite test facilities in the UK and ensure it remains a world leader in space technologies.

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Next generation services

An overview of government’s challenge to industry and research to help the service industry take advantage of new technologies.

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Prospering from the energy revolution

Smart energy systems can intelligently link energy supply, storage and use, and power heating and transport in ways that dramatically improve efficiency. It’s a huge market opportunity, with $2 trillion a year estimated to be invested in global energy infrastructure.

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Robots for a safer world

This challenge will develop artificial intelligence and robotics systems for extreme working environments, such as deep mining, nuclear energy, space and off-shore energy. It will support safer work for people and improve productivity.

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Self-driving cars

An overview of government’s challenge to industry and research to develop AI and control systems that put the UK at the forefront of the driverless cars revolution.

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Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging

This challenge will establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products.

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Transforming construction

An overview of the government’s challenge to industry and research to transform construction to make buildings more affordable, efficient, safer and healthier.

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Transforming food production

An overview of the government’s challenge to industry and research to transform how we produce food to feed the expanding global population whilst also moving towards net zero emissions.

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