In a press release, the organisations mentioned the slow adoption of AM, due to “high cost, inconsistent material properties, lack of applicable industry standards, unexpected pre-and post-processing requirements and the failure to exploit the new design freedoms offered." The competition aims to overcome some of these so-called "dirty secrets" of additive manufacturing. “By investing in these target areas, we aim to accelerate the creation of exciting new design, production and supply chain competences for UK businesses,” the press release noted.

All proposals must be collaborative and business-led, involving at least one other non-academic partner. Between £50k and £750k is expected to be invested in each project, although projects outside this range will be considered. The organisations are primarily looking to fund innovation projects in the category of industrial research, attracting 50% public funding (60% for SMEs).

They have also allocated up to £500k for industrial research projects focused on applications in space, which they see as having strong potential for adoption of this technology to produce highly efficient, lightweight component designs for space vehicles and equipment.

The competition opens on 3 December 2012, and the deadline for applicants to register is noon on 23 January 2013. A briefing and consortium building event will be held in London on 11 December 2012.