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Cross Sector Innovation Challenge delivers funding for three subsea autonomous systems projects to address cross-sector problems by digitalizing the sea

The UK Defence Solutions Centre, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, developed a Cross Sector Innovation Challenge to address specific problem sets delivering joint benefit across defence and civil / commercial sectors. Problem sets from the Royal Navy, the Oil and Gas Sector and Aquaculture were used as the inspiration for an Innovation Lab at which a group of innovators from across UK Industry, Academia and Research Organisations developed and pitched novel solutions from the cutting edge of what technology could offer.

There were three winners of this competition who will each receive a share of £4.5 million in funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, partnered by the Ministry of Defence, Net Zero Technology Centre and the Royal Navy. This will enable the three projects to demonstrate new technologies including energy harvesting and low power AI computing, fleets of autonomous robots and developing a subaquatic equivalent of Google Maps.

The novel approach of combining funding and problem sets from industry and the public sector in this competition demonstrates the Royal Navy’s and wider MOD’s willingness to collaborate outside of Defence to solve common challenges in a practical implementation of the strategy set out in the recent Defence and Security Industrial Strategy. You can read more about the winning projects, the potential benefits and applications in the BEIS press release: Robotics contest winners help improve UK offshore sustainability – UKRI


Linda Cabrera

Linda Cabrera

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Facilitating closer collaboration with customers, collaboration partners and industry, the UKDSC looks out across a 15-year horizon.

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