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Tackling urban challenges in Malaysia: apply for funding

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million to work with Malaysian partners on solutions to waste and urban transport challenges in Malaysia.

Rapid urbanisation in Malaysia is throwing up significant challenges for local authorities in managing waste and in getting people around its congested cities.

Around 75% of Malaysia’s population live in cities – 20% higher than the global average – and the country generates 42 million tonnes of solid waste a year. 60% of which is food and plastic waste, and only 24% of this waste goes for recycling and the rest ends up in landfill. Road transport also accounts for 85% of transport-related CO2 emissions in the country, and urban public transport remains relatively weak.

Up to £2 million is available to support UK and Malaysian businesses working together to come up with innovative ways to improve waste separation and encourage recycling or to look at improving public transport take-up. Funding for UK businesses is by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, through the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund and for Malaysian businesses through the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology.

The Newton Fund develops science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of collaborating countries.

Tackling two fronts

The competition features 2 challenges, mobility and waste to wealth. The mobility challenge is seeking projects that: * improve the delivery of public transport services * promote better transport connections

The waste to wealth challenge is seeking projects that: * improve waste separation including at source, at collection centres and at waste facilities * encourage recycling through innovative business models and technologies * improve public perception of recycled materials in products * develop circular economy approaches such as ‘pay-per-use’ models

A 2-phase competition

The competition will run in two phases. In phase 1, companies in the UK and Malaysia can look at how innovations they have developed might work together and what sort of projects they could undertake. Successful phase 1 projects will have the opportunity to pilot their solutions in real-life conditions in Malaysia in the second phase.

Up to £200,000 is available for UK businesses in phase 1, and a further £800,000 is available to support UK businesses taking part in pilot projects.

Competition information

  • the competition is open, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 16 October 2019
  • businesses of any size may apply and must partner with at least 1 business from Malaysia
  • phase 1 project costs of UK businesses can cost up to £30,000
  • a briefing event will be held on 16 July 2019

Find out more about this competition and apply.


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