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A funding package worth £20m has been announced by Government today (Apr 3) to help businesses boost the UK’s resilience to the long-term impact of coronavirus and similar future situations.

Technology businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to £50,000 to help develop new ways of working and enhance certain industries including delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport.

New technologies will be focused on more reactive responses within retail to sudden spikes in demands and the improvement of deliveries across the UK.

Improved connection services to allow remote monitoring and communication with elderly or vulnerable relatives is also a focus, allowing people to know that their loved ones are safe.

And developing a more integrated remote classroom environment, enabling teachers to set tasks virtually and support vulnerable children across the UK.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The response of researchers and businesses to the coronavirus outbreak have been remarkable. This new investment will support the development of technologies that can help industries, communities and individuals adapt to new ways of working when situations like this, and other incidents, arise.”

Launched by Innovate UK, the competition could provide proposals to find the best new ideas from businesses.

Dr Ian Campbell, Executive Chair Innovate UK, said: “The COVID-19 situation is not just a health emergency, but also one that affects the economy and society. With that in mind, Innovate UK has launched this rapid response competition today seeking smart ideas from innovators.

“These could be proposals to help the distribution of goods, educate children remotely, keep families digitally connected and even new ideas to stream music and entertainment.

The UK needs a great national effort and Innovate UK is helping by unleashing the power of innovation for people and businesses in need.”

Projects are set to begin by June 2020, lasting six months, and will aim to provide products and services to the public by the end of the year.

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