The Technology Strategy Board has just announced a competition to “invest up to £5m in collaborative research and development that aims to preserve the value of products and/or materials at end-of-life and keeps them in productive use for longer” with business. The competition aims to stimulate innovation and progress towards a circular economy.
The TSB is seeking proposals that make supply chains more circular, that is to reduce the environmental impact of material life-cycles and dependence on materials with a supply risk. TSB expects applicants to cut general waste stream losses in half, or more. Speaking yesterday at the LDF session entitled, Make It Better: designing products that don’t cost the Earth, Sophie Thomas of the RSA, noted, “currently for every tonne of household rubbish, a further 5 tonnes of materials were used in the manufacture of that product”. Waste is a design flaw. To this end, the TSB is offering two days free access to Design Mentors for applicants prior to submitting an initial expression of interest.
The opportunity in a circular economy is to use materials many times, and to retain the quality and economic value of those materials at a high level. The prize for business is to reduce their supply risk as the prices of increasingly scarce materials, become increasingly volatile, and cost reduction. A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation together with McKinsey & Company setting out the economic case, estimated benefit to be over USD $680bn a year at EU level for the medium complex goods sector alone
Full details of the competition are available online at the Technology Strategy Board website.
Get your thinking caps on!