Q&A with Innovate UK
We spoke to Innovate UK’s Nick Cliffe, Keynote Speaker at RWM, ahead of the exhibition this week and asked him a few questions about Innovate UK and what the environment.
Here’s what Nick had to say:
Please give a quick overview of how Innovate UK is working to improve recycling and waste management.
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. We work with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation by both connecting them to partners, customers and investors and by funding collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into research and development. As well as always available funding through our Smart programme we have run a number of programs focused on recycling, resource efficiency and circular economy, the largest was a £20M, 5-year investment programme with a total of seven competitions run, 97 projects were funded with 297 organisations participating. At RWM 2019 we are launching a new 5-year programme as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, an investment of £60M over 5 years to drive innovation in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.
How will innovation work impact consumers?
The new programme will support and de-risk investment in the development of new plastic packaging materials, recycling technologies, designs and business models in the UK. It will fund an enabling research programme to increase our understanding of areas such as the behaviour of plastics in the environment and consumer behaviour. The programme will seek to work with industry to deliver a more circular plastic packaging economy for consumers in the UK, this could be through new, more recyclable packaging and new sorting or recycling technologies.
What do you think is the key area for concern in waste management and have the biggest environmental impact?From the programmes perspective a key concern is to ensure that the innovation we support can and will deliver systemic change, we will be working to facilitate and encourage collaboration across the entire plastic packaging value chain, developing circular economy solutions which work for all links in the chain and can also be adopted across multiple sectors. Another concern is to ensure that the innovation we support leads to a better environmental outcome than the current system provides and the programme is mindful of the wider impacts of innovation.
How do you think events and exhibitions such as RWM can help combat our environmental issues? Events and exhibitions provide a great opportunity to meet organisations and individuals that you might bot encounter on a day to day basis. Companies that may be several steps away from you in the supply chain but might be strong potential collaborators in a sustainable innovation project. They showcase what’s at the cutting edge of technology in the sector and to just meet, talk and exchange ideas, sometimes the most innovative projects get their start in a chance conversation at a conference or event. The focus of our stand at the show is just that, to showcase the innovative companies we’ve supported and promote the UK Circular Plastics Network and the connecting activity it delivers.
Nick Cliffe will be speaking in the Keynote Theatre 1 on Thursday 12th September at 14:00. Make sure you see everyone you want by planning out your days effectively. Look on the RWM website for the seminar and panel debate timetables to see when and where your desired seminars are hosted.