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UK gov opens £12m innovation fund to tackle cost of living crisis, regional inequality

Funding will enable regulators and local authorities to test and experiment with "bold and ambitious" approaches to the pressing issues of the day

The UK government has launched a £12 million 'regulators and pioneers' fund to unlock innovation across the country and tackle pressing issues such as the cost of living and regional inequality.

Regulators and local authorities are able to tap into the fund to create initiatives that support entrepreneurs in the building and deploying of new products and services, which in turn will open up more job opportunities and stimulate economic growth.

With innovation-friendly regulation, the government hopes to boost its plans to become a global science and technology superpower. It wants to do this by bringing together the regulatory bodies with the technologists so that the latter will have a better chance of keeping pace with cutting-edge innovation.

Each successfully pitched project will receive £1 million from the fund, with the government particularly keen to hear initiatives that are aimed at tackling the cost of living, aiding the transition to net zero or that support its levelling up agenda.

The government hasn't explicitly said what types of technology it expects to harness with the funding, although it did cite examples from previous funding rounds, such as drone delivery schemes for vaccines. It added that those funding rounds have led to "significant achievements" across a number of sectors.

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The examples listed also include crash-protected containers for delivery drones, adaptive algorithms for medical devices, frameworks for the use of technology in the legal sector, and the creation of innovation hubs that unblock legislative and regulatory barriers to innovations "like flying taxis".

Applicants have until 29 September 2022 to send in their proposals.

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