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Innovate UK, Technology Innovation Agency launch new R16m fund

13th November 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the UK government’s national innovation agency Innovate UK have established a R16-million fund to support collaborative research, development and commercial partnerships between South African and UK water utilities and innovations in water management, distribution and treatment.

The UK-SA Water Innovation Lead Customer Programme fund aims to forge partnerships between South African and UK water utilities and innovators with proven solutions to enable greater access to clean water and sanitation.

This is as South Africa and the UK face various water security challenges, including water shortages, capacity constraints on investing in new infrastructure and maintenance of existing facilities.

“South Africa and the UK share common issues such as droughts, ageing infrastructure and the ever-growing needs of expanding populaces. This initiative is an opportunity for us to build stronger linkages between our two countries. By combining the resources, talent, expertise and experiences of our respective water sectors, we can work together to solve our collective challenges,” said Innovate UK Global Alliance head Dr Nee-Joo Teh.

The new initiative provides an opportunity for innovators to engage with their global counterparts, explore new environments and create value for both markets and their communities.

“This partnership with Innovate UK ties in with TIA's mandate and mission to harness technological innovation and knowledge for the betterment of all South Africans. By stimulating and supporting collaborative water innovation, we can promote economic growth and improve our citizens’ quality of life,” added TIA natural resources and energy business unit head Dayanandan Naidoo.

Of the R16-million in funding available, R5-million is being provided by TIA for South African organisations, while Innovate UK is providing £500 000 ( about R11.4-million) for their UK partners.

Eligible entries must propose a partnership between at least one South Africa- and one UK-based organisation.

Innovate UK’s Global Alliance Africa project will manage the fund, which is divided into two streams based on Technology Readiness Levels (TRL).

South African organisations with projects at TRL 4 to 6 can receive grants up to R500 000 and their UK partners up to £25 000.

For projects at TRL 6 to 8, South African entities are awarded up to R1-million, with UK partners eligible for up to £100 000.

Additionally, Global Alliance Africa and TIA will offer technical support and assist in finding and connecting South African and UK partners.

Applicants with innovative, tested proof-of-concept solutions that address key challenges will be prioritised.

These challenges fall into two thematic areas, one of which is digitalisation, focusing on water resource management, leak detection and reduction, data-driven decision-making, improved water quality monitoring, enhanced water treatment, better water distribution and access, water billing and revenue management and remote monitoring of rural water infrastructure.

The second theme is effective waste management in the fields of wastewater treatment efficiency, water reuse and recycling, energy recovery and nutrient recovery.

South African startups, small, medium-sized and microenterprises, large businesses and research and technology institutions are invited to apply.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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