New competitions will look at reducing demand on the grid and encouraging schools to use smart technology

The business minister Clare Perry has announced £84 million of funding for robotics and smart energy research.

In a speech at the Innovate UK conference in Birmingham yesterday (8 November), the minister made a series of funding announcements, including more than £68 million of investment of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for robotics and artificial intelligence projects.

Almost £45 million will be used to set up four new research hubs based at the universities of Manchester, Birmingham, Surrey and Heriot-Watt University at Edinburgh.

The research hubs will be responsible for developing robotic technology to be used in harsh environments, such as nuclear energy production and off-shore wind.

Perry also said the government would commit £16m of funding for smart energy through two new innovation competitions, which will focus on creating technologies which will reduce demand on the electricity grid at peak periods and increase demand when low-carbon generation is at its park.

The competitions will also explore ways that smart energy systems can help to reduce energy used by schools and small hospitality businesses.

“Britain leads the world in innovation and technology, and through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, we are making £68 million available to projects in robotics and artificial intelligence with applications in clean renewable energy generation to ensure the UK is the place new technology is nurtured,” said Perry.

“Next week, I will be at the COP23 conference in Germany, and it will be abundantly clear there that, if we want to truly make a difference to our climate, as well as take advantage of the economic opportunities of our transition to a low-carbon economy, it will come down to continued innovation.”

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