UK Manufacturing Companies Urged to apply for Funding
6 September 2010
The European Union is placing and increasing importance on manufacturing having recognised that is the essential ingredient in wealth generation and economic growth within a global market. There is at least €500 million worth of fund now available each year to support European manufacturing companies collaborate to improve processes, technologies and capabilities.
This is a broad funding that is available to all types of industries, large and small. It covers everything from the improvement of manufacturing processes and infrastructure to the development of improved business models and value chains. The one rule that covers this fund is that it must be high impact, collaborative R&D on a European scale.
Most of the funds for European Manufacturing Funding have come from European Framework 7 Funding. This competitive process has come in for some criticism as being a difficult course to navigate. Apparently, the European Commission has put in a lot of effort to streamline processes and paperwork and claims that one recent manufacturing competition resulted in a project
starting 4 months after proposal submission.
UK manufacturing, what remains, is broad and cross-sectoral and those running FP7, say that the current European focus on manufacturing is a significant and realistic opportunity for strategically-focussed UK companies. The UK Technology Strategy Board says that free expert help and assistance is now available for the UK manufacturing community to join or build consortia to apply for European Manufacturing Funding.
Project sizes and budgets vary but range from €100k to €1m involving normally between about 5 and 20 partners over a 2-5 year period. For a small to medium enterprise, the funds would cover 75% of a project’s costs, 50% for a large company.
There are several FP7 competitions open this year and most competitions have an initial project
submission deadline in November/December 2010, with successful proposal likely to begin work
from around Q2 2011.
Opportunities for UK manufacturing participation are many and varied. For companies looking to improve ICT processes and capability relevant topics this year include: Energy-aware, agile manufacturing and Customisation, Manufacturing solutions for new ICT products, Virtual Factories and enterprises and Digital factories: Manufacturing design and product lifecycle management
There are also projects that relate to the improvement and sustainability of core manufacturing and some examples include
· The Eco-Factory: cleaner and more resource-efficient production in manufacturing
· Cooperative machines and open-architecture control systems
· Robots for automation of post-production and other auxiliary Processes
· High-tech solutions in the production processes for customised green, safe and healthy
· Towards zero-defect manufacturing
Plus there are specific sector- or product-focused development opportunities in manufacturing. Examples of such opportunities this year which could be of relevance to the abrasives industry include manufacturing chains for nano-phased components and coatings, eco-design for new products and modelling and control of intensified process systems
On Monday 13th September 2010 there is a A UK National information day in London where you can meet directly with the European commission to discuss what is on offer.
For a registration form email firstname.lastname@example.org In addition, FP7UK plan to hold detailed sessions later in the year for the manufacturing community to help them understand what FP7 is all about and how to participate successfully.