Regulators get £12 million to cut red tape and support innovation

UK regulators are receiving £12 million to help drive forward innovation, remove red tape and establish the UK as world leader in technologies of the future – from AI to help treat rare diseases, to drones monitoring safety on construction sites.

The Regulators’ Pioneer Fund is funding 24 regulator and local authority led projects across the UK that will help to remove regulatory barriers to innovation, supporting businesses across key UK sectors – from net-zero to healthcare – bring their products and services to market more quickly.

If successful, these projects could lead to faster deployment of low carbon technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen, more tailored treatment for disease in the NHS and drones to deliver cargo and medicines safely.

George Freeman Minister of Innovation"Our Innovation Strategy and Taskforce on Innovation Growth & Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) reforms are key to making the UK a global testbed and innovative regulator," said Minister for Innovation George Freeman. "This funding will support 24 pioneering testbeds to experiment and innovate, while helping our brightest businesses in bringing game-changing products and services to market."

Among those receiving funding:

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (£750,387)

Using AI to create a control group – with similar health information to real patients – for use in clinical trials. If successful, this could change the way clinical trials are performed in common and rare diseases, lowering their cost and improving how new treatments are tested before they are applied in the NHS.

Health & Safety Executive (£555,000)

 to lead a project to develop and test innovative approaches to specific health and safety challenges in the construction sector. This could include wearable technologies monitoring the health of workers or drones that are used for inspection on construction sites

Environment Agency (£271,975)

to fund world-leading digital twin modelling to create a digital representation of a real-world place and system, so they can simulate the operation of multiple low carbon technologies like carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production in an industrial cluster and use the information to work with industry on plans for deployment. This work will allow the Environment Agency to ‘see the future’ and shape it, leading to faster deployment timescales and lower environmental risk.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (£120,000)

Will explore alternative methods of technology-enabled Dispute Resolution which could reduce the backlog of court cases, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selected projects will launch in January 2023 (for 8-month projects) and September 2023 (for 12-18-month projects).

To maximise the value of these projects and mainstream proven regulatory approaches to support innovation, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will continue to convene a ‘Regulators’ Innovation Network’.

This serves as a forum for regulators to share best practice and foster a culture of collaboration and experimentation that will enable businesses to bring their innovations to market.

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