The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) have launched a Horizontal Innovation program that offers SMEs access to advanced technology support. The program works by giving SMEs the chance to commercialise  their innovative product by helping to solve real life societal and industry challenges in new company sectors.

The project will span across seven different categories: healthcare, agri-tech, energy, food and drink, transport, construction and nuclear. The winner of each category will be awarded up to £50,000 of applied R&D support to help adapt and scale up their innovation for use in one of the seven challenge sectors.

IET president, Jeremy Watson, says the following project aims to break down the barriers to sharing ideas and enabling innovation. The financial support offered to SMEs through this project will bring exciting and industry-cutting innovations to the market, which will complement the UK’s existing reputation of creativity, research and innovation.

This new Horizontal Innovation Programme builds on the success of its inaugural year in 2016, when the IET teamed up with the Manufacturing Technology Centre to call for UK SMEs to solve a real-life healthcare issue. Such projects reward and recognise some of the UK’s most promising small businesses in using Horizontal Innovation to deliver economic and societal benefits.

HVMC Chief Technology Officer, Sam Turner, comments on the importance of taking learning and tech from one sector and adapting it to achieve success in another sector. He adds that innovation is a core part of a company, as advancing innovation improves speed, cost and risk which all lead to significant overall company benefits, particularly for small and medium sized companies.

To be considered for the programme, SMEs should submit a proposal that demonstrates how their technology solution can be used and commercialised to solve a real-life issue in one of the seven sectors. Applications close 31 July 2017 23:59.

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