RAI in extreme and challenging environments

Key Features

Apply or a share of up to £10 million for collaborative research and development (R&D) that results in new and novel systems.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £1.4m

Opens: 13th Jun 2017

Closes: 2nd Aug 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to speed up the development of RAI technologies which would be used across the off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining applications and other extreme and challenging environments.

Proposals should clearly identify the operational scenarios for the extreme and challenging environments in which the RAI technologies would be used.

Projects should demonstrate a potential step-change in capabilities. Examples include:

  • innovative materials or systems, for example, actuators, sensors and telecommunications
  • improved robotic capabilities, such as structural and radiation tolerance
  • improved machine vision systems
  • improved situational awareness, navigation, localisation and mapping
  • more energy-efficient devices and systems
  • miniaturised systems, for example, sensors, components and integrated sub-systems
  • systems engineering including verification and validation tools and methodologies
  • mission planning and risk management

The focus is primarily on off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining, however, other extreme and challenging environments may also be considered.

Cross-cutting solutions are particularly welcomed.

Specific competition themes

Innovate UK are particularly encouraging applications that can clearly:

  • identify the operational scenario in which the technological developments would be used
  • identify the technical risks and potential operational benefits
  • articulate the reusability of the technological developments in different RAI systems for extreme and challenging environments, and the corresponding market sizes


To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK-based business
  • be a business of any size
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • work alone or in collaboration with others (businesses, research base and third sector)

Funding and project details

Innovate UK have allocated up to £10 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Projects should range in size from total costs of £50,000 to £2m.

Project costs of up to £100,000

Any project with eligible costs below £100,000 must be led by an SME.

You can run the project on your own or you can work with other businesses or research organisations.

Project costs of £100,000 or above

If you expect your eligible project costs to be more than £100,000 you must work with other organisations. At least one of these must be an SME.

Project types

The activities/work in your project could focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development.

For technical feasibility studies and industrial research, you could get up to 70% of your eligible project costs if you are a small business.

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME.