Establishing a core innovation hub to transform UK construction

Key Features

UK based research and technology organisations can apply for up to £72 million. This is to establish a national core innovation hub (CIH) to transform the construction sector.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £72m

Opens: 26th Mar 2018

Closes: 23rd May 2018

! This scheme is now closed

Innovate UK will invest up to £72 million to establish a core innovation hub (CIH) to transform the UK construction sector.

The CIH is to support collaboration across the digital, manufacturing and construction sectors to develop and commercialise digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector. CIH are encouraging these sectors to collaborate to:

  • develop a digitally driven, manufacturing approach to built assets
  • improve construction sector productivity
  • optimise the whole-life performance of those assets

It will lead a programme to develop standards, tools, designs and regulation methods. These will support a sustainable marketplace for digitally driven manufacturing in construction.

Innovate UK expect to fund a consortium of existing facilities as a single core innovation hub.

The hub will support collaboration between industry and academics. Together they should work on an approach for digital and manufacturing technology that is performance based. The focus should be to:

  • create better performing built assets
  • increase industry wide adoption of emerging digital and manufacturing technologies
  • design new processes to improve productivity in the construction sector

The hub should transform the construction sector by:

  • acting as the core of a wider network of existing facilities and cross-sector partners
  • co-ordinating and supporting innovation through cross-sector working, including with manufacturing, digital and energy, to improve the whole-life performance of built assets
  • providing a secure facility so that the construction, manufacturing and digital sectors can collaborate on design for manufacturing and assembly approaches to a wide range of built assets
  • enabling public and private sector organisations to access programme outputs, so long as these fit with the overall objectives of the programme
  • working closely with the ISCF Transforming Construction funded Active Building Centre to make sure developed products can be fully integrated
  • working with all partners across UK and international research and innovation, including related Catapults, research centres, Centres for Doctoral Training, and businesses throughout construction supply chains, particularly SMEs and start-ups
  • encouraging investment in the UK
  • promoting its digital methods and standards to encourage international exports
  • helping SMEs to demonstrate technologies and their benefits to the marketplace
  • training and developing people in academia and industry, including scientists, engineers, technicians and regulatory auditors
  • helping innovators from all sectors learn from one another

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • have substantive existing facilities and expertise in the digital, manufacturing and/or construction sectors that can be expanded upon
  • demonstrate significant private sector involvement with the project, and investment in and usage of the facilities after the project is completed
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • work in collaboration with others in the UK construction sector (businesses, research base or public sector)

If you are an academic you cannot lead a project but you can partner with an RTO.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £72 million across the 4 year life of the project.

Innovate UK expect to fund a consortium of existing facilities. You should demonstrate that you have a commitment from the private sector after the project is completed to at least match the investment through usage of the facilities within the first 5 years.

Funding will be phased and dependent on you achieving the milestone objectives for the previous funding phase. The milestone objectives are set and agreed with you by the ISCF Transforming Construction Challenge Management Board at award stage.

Funding is planned to be allocated in 4 phases:

  1. 2018 to 2019 £17 million
  2. 2019 to 2020 £17 million
  3. 2020 to 2021 £22 million
  4. 2021 to 2022 £16 million

Total project costs can be up to £72 million.

Projects should start on 1 August 2018 and last for 4 years. Application must show that the project is compliant with relevant state aid regulations.

Innovate UK envisage state aid will fall across 2 categories:

  1. Funding for research infrastructure for capital build and equipment elements of up to £15 million.
  2. Funding for the R&D programme elements of up to £60 million.

You must provide a forecast of the expected costs recouped from usage of the facility and its services after completion of the project. This will help demonstrate you are able to match the funding you have requested.

Business partners can be included in your consortium but will not be able to claim grant funding.