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Partnership launched to support innovative solutions to ocean plastics crisis


Partnership launched to support innovative solutions to ocean plastics crisis

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and Sky have teamed up to support UK businesses to develop innovative methods of tackling the global ocean plastics crisis.

With the United Nations reporting that eight million tonnes of plastic enters global waters each year, a figure that is set to triple by 2025 unless significant action is taken, companies are being encouraged to come forward with proposals to reduce plastic waste and pollution and promote a circular economy.

Now Innovate UK and Sky Ocean Ventures have launched a £6 million competition to support UK businesses to tackle the scourge of waste plastic.

Innovate UK is providing up to £3 million through the UKRI Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, a £20 million programme engaging researchers and industry to tackle waste and pollution and develop sustainable approaches to plastic. Sky Ocean Ventures, established by Sky to support young companies and create meaningful change by highlighting environmental disaster caused by plastic pollution in the oceans, is providing the same amount.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “Heart-breaking images of wildlife suffering due to plastics waste have been a stark reminder that harmful pollution can have a devastating impact on our oceans.

“That is why, this time last year, the Prime Minister committed us to eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. We are investing more than ever before to find alternative material to harmful plastics. We want innovators and businesses to get behind this too, helping us find new ways to cut down waste and pollution while growing their business to have global impact.”

Ian Campbell, Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said: “Plastic waste has created a crisis that needs a global resolution. 

“We need businesses, investors, government and researchers pulling in the same direction, creating workable solutions that people will be able to see on the shelves before it’s too late. 

“That’s what this tie-up between Innovate UK and Sky Ocean Ventures will achieve, while also helping innovative UK companies become global successes.”

Professor Duncan Wingham, UK Research and Innovation’s Lead for the Plastics Research Innovation Fund and Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council, said: “The Plastics Research Innovation Fund will lead the way in finding new solutions to our current use of plastics, through recycling methods and developing alternative materials.

“UKRI is drawing UK researchers together with companies to address the challenge of reducing plastic waste entering the environment and creating an economy that is free from plastic waste.”

Fred Michel, Group Director, Sky Impact Investment and Ocean Ventures, said: “Our aim is to enable entrepreneurs to support innovative new ideas at the earliest stages with both investment and mentorship. We’re delighted this partnership will enable us to work directly with UK start-ups who share our mission.

“We will use the reach and voice of Sky’s platforms to highlight their solutions and help consumers change behaviours.” 

For more information on the competition, visit the Innovate UK website.

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