The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is part of the governments long-term strategy to increase funding in research and development by £4.7 billion over the next 4 years. As part of the governments industrial strategy, it is aimed at strengthening UK science and business in order to raise the productivity and earning power of the UK in a vastly expanding global marketplace. This strategy was implemented to invest in world leading research and highly innovative businesses which address key industrial and societal challenges that affect the UK directly or have market potential on a global scale.

To identify key challenges which affect the UK, the government has worked directly with businesses and academics and identified 15 core research areas where the UK has a current world-leading research base and businesses ready to innovate or where there is a large or fast growing sustainable global market. These calls build upon the funding received 6 challenges in the first wave in which £1 billion was allocated toward areas including AI and Robotic Systems, Next Generation Materials and Electric Vehicle Battery development. The 15 core challenges in the next wave are completely aligned with the Industrial Strategies Grand Challenges of Artificial Intelligence and Data, Ageing Society, Clean Growth and Future of Mobility.

The fifteen core challenges are listed below. Each of the fifteen calls has a specific budget with some having totals that including matching from industry, Universities or the Private Sector.

Table 1. The budget for each of the 15 core challenges within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

  • Transforming Construction
  • National Satellite Test Facility
  • Creative Industries Clusters
  • Next Generation Services
  • Manufacturing and Future Materials
  • Driverless Cars
  • Prospering form the Energy Revolution
  • Faraday Battery Challenge
  • Audience of the Future
  • From Data to Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine
  • Healthy Ageing
  • Leading-edge Healthcare
  • Quantum Technologies
  • Robots for a Safer World
  • Transforming Food Production

The total budget for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is currently up to £1.3 billion with an extra £291 million available through match funding on the Transforming Construction and Creative Industries Clusters calls.

For more information regarding Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and other funding opportunities across the national and European landscape, come and speak to us at the PNO Consultants stand in the Venturefest Oxford exhibition.


This article was written by Olaf Swanzy & Max McMullon.

Olaf is PNO UK’s MD, having initially joined in 2004 to help establish the UK operation. Olaf has worked with an extensive range of SME’s, large companies and universities across all industry sectors to advance R&D through the procurement of public funding from all principle National and European schemes (including Innovate UK, NIHR, DECC and Horizon 2020), technology transfer actions and grant programme management for UK and EU funded projects.

Max has been an Innovation Consultant for several EU funding consultancies, supporting innovative SME’s to secure funding for R&D and market implementation of disruptive ideas. Max joined PNO UK to lead activities relating to EU SME schemes and support our activities on Innovate UK programmes.