UK-Malaysia urban innovation challenge 2017

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of £3 million to work with Malaysian partners on innovative urban solutions in Malaysia.

Programme:     Innovate UK and UK–Malaysia Newton-Ungku Omar Fund

Award:     Up to £400k

Opens: 2nd May 2017

Closes: 6th Sep 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative technological solutions that address one or more of the challenges listed below.

Projects and their outcomes must fit with the official development assistance (ODA) criteria. This aims to boost economic development and have a positive social or environmental effect on the wider Malaysian society.

Challenge 1: urban mobility
Traffic congestion in Malaysia is a problem in most of the country’s major cities, with serious consequences for people’s health and economic productivity.

Consortia are encouraged to bring together eligible UK and Malaysian partners to put forward solutions to urban congestion by:

  • improving public transport services
  • increasing use of public transport
  • enhancing the user experience through public service integration

The solutions should fit one of the following scope areas:

  • data and systems integration
    service delivery
  • first-mile and last-mile connectivity between transport nodes and people’s homes
  • multi-modal transport connectivity

Challenge 2: urban waste Malaysia has experienced decades of intense growth for densely populated areas with large-scale industrialisation. As a result, Malaysian cities need to find new solutions to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. The current situation has a negative effect on the urban environment, with dump-site pollution spreading to the air and water streams.

Consortia are invited to put forward innovations that help Malaysian cities provide scalable solutions to their urban waste management challenges. Proposals should fit one of the following scope areas:

  • new affordable processes to recover, separate or extract valuable components from urban household or commercial waste streams
  • development of new technologies for community-owned recycling schemes based on a viable ‘circular economy’ model

Challenge 3: urban water management  Urban water management presents major challenges in Malaysia:

  • non-revenue water (water lost in the distribution system before reaching consumers)
  • urban flooding

Eligible consortia are invited to develop innovative solutions that would allow Malaysian cities to minimise the impact of climate extremes. Proposals should also improve safety and ensure adequate water provision for the city population.

The solutions should fit one of the scope areas below:

  • water leak non-intrusive detection and management
  • municipal flash flood detection
  • urban flood response systems


To be eligible for an award you must:

  • have a UK-based company act as lead applicant on the UK side of the project
  • have at least one UK-based company working together with one Malaysian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) as project lead in Malaysia
  • show that Malaysia is the target market for the project
  • show how your project fits within the ODA criteria

Funding and project details

This competition is part of the UK–Malaysia Newton-Ungku Omar Fund.

In Malaysia, the competition is funded by PlaTCOM Ventures and is supported by the Malaysian Innovation Agency (AIM) and SME Corp Malaysia.

In the UK, Innovate UK have allocated up to £3 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Innovate UK will fund the UK project partners and PlaTCOM Ventures will fund project partners from Malaysia.

All projects must involve at least one UK business and one Malaysian SME. The project leads must be a business in the UK and an SME in Malaysia.

Project types

  • Projects must focus on industrial research – receive up to 70% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME
  • Work packages that include elements of experimental development will be considered within projects that predominantly target industrial research – receive up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME
  • Projects are expected to last 2 years
  • Projects are expected to range in size from total project costs of £300,000 to £500,000 on the UK side. This would mean a total project grant not exceeding £400,000.