19 cutting-edge projects from across the UK, including Cardiff-based project SCREENswitch, have received £27 million of UK Government funding under its Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF).
The SCREENswitch project, which will benefit hospitals and patients up and down the country, will receive funding worth over £1.2 million to develop their hygienic, retractable partition screen that can change opacity at the touch of a button. The screen is an effective infection control measure that gives patients the choice over privacy or visibility, a choice that’s having to be made since social distancing was made mandatory in hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a multi-use screen, it promises to be less impactful on the environment than other infection control alternatives, and a much better choice than the disposable curtains that are currently being used.
Other projects also include one that seeks to replace polluting microplastics with cellulose; one that aims to make tidal power generation commercially viable; to another that recovers high-value polymers from currently incinerated NHS waste, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2.
Delivered by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, SIF was announced by ministers in June 2020. Totalling £200 million, the fund ensures that innovative ideas and projects led by companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus will not be lost. It helps power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities, while supporting the UK’s goals to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart MP said:
“The UK Government is passionate about cutting carbon emissions and achieving net zero. Being able to fund and contribute to the development of the latest sustainable projects and supporting innovators who have the ability to execute them are one of the paths to reaching this goal.
“It’s wonderful to see that a Welsh project is also being recognised by the Sustainable Innovation Fund as they, and each of the projects included, will help us to build back better from the pandemic.”
Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK said:
“UK innovators have risen to the challenge of the pandemic to come up with big, bold ideas to help the economy roar back in a sustainable way. By supporting enterprise and academia all over the country, Innovate UK is backing not only business but our net-zero goals.”