Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 33,8 million
The Sustainable Technologies Initiative's objective is to get industry, in conjunction with the science base, to develop and adopt new technologies which are more sustainable and which will contribute to sustainable development and competitiveness.


While it is hoped that the STI will be able to support all 3 pillars of sustainability, it is expected that initially at least, it will focus on the economic and environmental ones. It is, therefore, primarily aimed at decoupling economic growth from adverse environmental impacts, such as emissions of greenhouse gases, waste production, and use of hazardous materials or, more generally, through poor efficiency in resource use. This has been described as the need to achieve a factor 4 increase in resource efficiency.

The STI is also based on the principle that progress towards factor 4 will require step changes in processes and products. This is unlikely to be achieved with incremental improvements. The STI is, therefore, particularly keen to see proposals which would represent truly novel approaches to the development and production of processes, products and services. In essence, we are looking for proposals that will integrate sustainability into processes and products from the design stage. Sustainability should not be a bolt-on.

The STI is a programme to support collaborative research and development aimed at improving the sustainability of UK business. It is jointly funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The total funding available is 33.8M EUR (16.1M EUR from DTI, 8.1M EUR for the EPSRC, 4.8M EUR from ESRC, 3.2M EUR from DEFRA and 1.6M EUR from BBSRC) for ten calls for proposals (one in November and another in April every year until April 2005).


Potential areas for research include:
- Production, modification and novel uses of plant fibres;
- The development of plant-derived oils for new industrial applications;
- Uses of plant carbohydrates in new materials;
- The development of crops as sources of speciality chemicals, including high value pharmaceuticals products.

Research to address the needs of different sectors of industry is likely to require input from a number of disciplines, including:
- Plant biotechnology and biochemistry (information emerging from plant genomics is likely to make a significant impact),
- Biochemical and process engineering,
- Chemistry,
- Materials science and materials processing,
- Economics and systems analysis.
The STI aims not to duplicate areas where there are already active programmes that relate to sustainability


The STI will operate in the following ways:
- A LINK* programme, funded by DTI, EPSRC, BBSRC and DEFRA which provides up to 50% funding of collaborative R&D projects between businesses and universities
- DTI grants to businesses for specific projects, up to 50% of eligible costs
- EPSRC funding for networks
- ESRC fellowship grants to academia

The LINK initiative stimulates eligible business and academic partners to work together on pre-competitive research projects in key technological sectors. For DTI grants proposals must be collaborative but need not include an academic partner.

LINK and DTI proposals will be judged according to:
- Potential sustainability improvements, which should be specifically identified in the proposal, and address economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development; Scientific/technical excellence, novelty and innovation; Ability of the team to deliver;
- Quality, timeliness and value for money of the research;
- Commercial relevance and potential economic benefit;
- The balance and expertise of the team members, including potential end-users and exploiters of the technology;
- Additionality, i.e. need for Government support.

* LINK is the UK government mechanism for funding of collaborative research involving the industry and the research base.


Multifunctional Materials
Record Number: 777 / Last updated on: 2000-12-16