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  • Make:Shift 2014. Photo: Tas Kyprianou

Accelerating Craft Innovation

Innovate UK is funding some exciting opportunities that could accelerate the potential for craft innovation to add real value to the economy

Innovate UK is inviting applications to a couple of funds relevant to craft:

  • the connected digital additive manufacturing competition which includes both additive manufacturing and connected digital manufacturing; and
  • manufacturing and materials.

The scale of expected submissions is big for the craft sector – over £500,000 for the first and over £50,000 for the second, but both competitions encourage microbusinesses to collaborate on proposals and to work with higher education. It’s exactly this kind of collaboration that can drive innovation in and through craft.

The pace of innovation is accelerating, as a new report commissioned by the Crafts Council from KPMG will showcase (Innovation through craft: opportunities for growth launches on 6 July). Advances in materials, processes and technologies are stimulating innovation, catalysing new knowledge, and seeding interdisciplinary collaborations, not only in craft businesses but across industries such as the automotive industry, engineering, science and technology.  The report assesses the impact of innovation through craft at the individual firm level.

The research showcases the economic contribution of craft and the value that this creates, with a view to informing the UK innovation agenda, funding and investment. In KPMG’s view, ‘Craft skills and knowledge have a strong economic impact and significant potential to drive further growth and innovation in other sectors.’  Without more action and investment, through competitions such as these, the UK risks a talent drain and a loss of competitive advantage.