Grant offered to facilitate UK cyber-physical infrastructure

The government is inviting applicants for a £200,000 grant competition that will support the creation of a cyber-physical infrastructure (CPI). 

Described as bringing together technologies such as digital twins, robotics, AI, and the internet of things into an ecosystem of networks, an infrastructure could be used to ‘underpin faster and cheaper innovation.’

lighted city at night aerial photo

The guidance for applicants says: ‘The value of these systems increase once we connect them together. While individual cyber-physical systems can bring benefits to specific applications, networks of cyber-physical systems could provide significantly greater benefits to both the individual use cases and wider ecosystem.’ 

A call for companies to apply for the grant comes after a consultation on the issues was delivered last year and saw a majority of positive responses to the idea of enabling a national capability in CPI. 

One scenario described in the consultation to explain the potential of CPI involves autonomous vehicles communicating within traffic controls to help reduce congestion whilst simultaneously providing data towards the creation of a smart energy grid that could use the information to know when and where electric vehicles will need to be charged. 

It also explained why work is needed by the government on the issue, describing how market players often end up developing ‘fragmented ecosystems’ so industry and academic leadership is needed to create a cohesive infrastructure. 

Three outcomes are outlined as the aim for the successful applicant for the grant, these are that UK stakeholders will have a better understanding of CPI, that the UK will have a diverse CBI ecosystem with collaboration between organisations, and that there will be well utilised resources to ‘accelerate’ investment and adoption of cyber-physical systems. 

Full details of the competition can be found on the government website here and applications close at midday on May 12. 

The competition comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan announced a Science and Technology Framework to place the UK as a leading superpower in the sector by 2030, including in new technologies such as AI.

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier


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