Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF)



What is the ISCF?

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) is a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) challenge-led innovation programme. Around £5.6 billion is being invested to bring together researchers and businesses to tackle the big societal and industrial challenges of today.

To date the University has been involved in more than 27 projects across 11 different ISCF challenges, securing over £6m in ISCF funding (correct as of 2020), with a continuous pipeline of projects under development:

Healthy Ageing Challenge

The University has been awarded funding for two Healthy Ageing Catalyst projects, out of only 11 awarded in this competition in the UK. This challenge is developing products and services that help people to remain independent, productive and active into older age by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest.

Integrated Technology Platform to Support Optimal Management of Ageing with Diabetes

Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Academic: Dr. Mohammed  Benaissa

For the project, the university is collaborating with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to look at the relationship between diabetes and ageing which is not well understood often leading to sub-optimal management of people with diabetes as they get older. This, in turn, results in a higher risk of diabetes-related complications and increased incidence of morbidity and disability in this population in later years

This project will involve new, machine learning analytics, that will monitor the key diabetes markers (blood glucose, insulin, carbohydrates), physical activity measures and cognitive assessment to provide individuals with better information about their own health and support service planning and provision for health, social and community care.

Project description

Departmental news item

Understanding Older Drivers’ Behaviour and Fitness to Drive

Department: Computer Science

Academic: Dr. Daniel Blackburn

For this project academics at the university have collaborated with local company The Floow and NIHR Devices for Dignity Med-tech Cooperative.  The aim of the project is to find new means to evaluate fitness to drive that are accurate, reflect real-world driving conditions and are scalable is crucial. This is especially important in the context of more older drivers and more people living with chronic brain diseases, comorbidities and polypharmacy in an ageing population.

Focusing at first on a small population of participants of healthier drivers aged over 70 and  people living with Mild Cognitive Impairment the project will collect data which will then be analysed identifying specific behaviours and patterns that might indicate risk.

Project description​​​​​​

Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge

This challenge aims to help businesses across the foundation industries (metals, glasses, paper, ceramics, cements and bulk chemicals) share expertise and develop radical innovations to increase their sustainability and remain internationally competitive. 

Network+ in Transforming Foundation Industries

Department: Materials Science and Engineering

Academic: Professor Ian Reaney

Led by the University of Sheffield and working with the Universities of Leeds, Swansea and Manchester an ESPRC Network+ in Transforming Foundation Industries has been established. The network will grow by catalysing interactions across academic, industrial, regulatory and policymaking stakeholders to co-create novel solutions that transform and reinvigorated these sectors.

In addition to workshops, knowledge transfer, outreach and dissemination, the Network will test concepts and guide the development of innovative outcomes by issuing calls for small projects totalling £1.4m to the wider academic community. These opportunities and activities will be inclusive across disciplines and communities, embracing best practice in Knowledge Exchange from the Arts and Humanities and enabling access for all to the activity programme and project fund opportunities. 

UKRI announcement

Press release​​​​

Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge

This challenge supports the development of low-carbon technologies that will increase the competitiveness of industry and contribute to the UK’s drive for clean growth. It will reduce the carbon footprint of heavy and energy intensive industries in the UK.

Researchers partner with Drax power station to help bring Green Industrial Revolution

Department/Institute: The Energy Institute

Academics: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian

Researchers from the University of Sheffield are part of a new UKRI funded £20 million centre that is set to play a key role in driving research and innovation to support the government’s plans for a Green Industrial Revolution. The new Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), led by Heriot-Watt University, will tackle carbon emissions from industrial clusters. 

The centre will collaborate with the University of Sheffield, alongside a diverse range of over 140 partners, as part of a drive to create the world’s first net-zero emissions industrial cluster by 2040 and four low-carbon clusters by 2030. Researchers from the Energy Institute are set to work with the Drax power station to generate hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels from biomass gasification and carbon capture.

Press release​​​​

Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge

This challenge aims to establish the UK as a leader in smart and sustainable packaging and support a dramatic reduction in waste entering the environment by 2025.

Many Happy Returns - Enabling reusable packaging systems

Department: Psychology

Academics: Professor Tomhas Webb, Professor Anthony J. Ryan and Sarah Greenwood

This project has a value of over £1,000,000 and will explore models of reuse and provide the insights needed to enable a wholesale shift toward reuse. The outputs of the proposed research will be an understanding, based on robust scientific data, of when and how reuse models for plastic packaging make good sense. For example, this research may lay the groundwork for promoting a societal-shift in thinking toward buying the product but renting the packaging.

UKRI announcement

Grantham Centre news item​​​​

If you are a University of Sheffield academic who would like to learn more about ISCF opportunities, please visit Research Services information page.