Game Changers

Delivering a successful innovation programme

FIS360 developed and co-delivers the Game Changers Innovation Programme, a point of focus for driving innovation into the nuclear industry.

The client

Sponsored by Sellafield Ltd and delivered by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and FIS360, the Game Changers Innovation Programme was established in 2015 to highlight Sellafield’s decommissioning challenges to a broad and diverse audience from SMEs to universities and larger organisations, targeting both nuclear and non-nuclear industrial sectors.  The programme, which is now being extended across the UK’s nuclear decommissioning authority estate, aims to support the commercialisation of early stage and transferable technologies and services that offer real potential to reduce costs, reduce risk and make operations safer.

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Game Changers offers funding in two phases to support the development of ideas and concepts with feasibility and proof of concept grants available. Successful applicants are supported by the Game Changers team to ensure their ideas are best developed to meet the end user’s needs and, where possible, to optimise the chance of implementation within or beyond the nuclear sector. 

FIS360 delivers

At FIS360, we manage and deliver core aspects of the programme including engagement with key nuclear industry stakeholders, production of challenge statements, dissemination of challenges, organisation and delivery of events and webinars, evaluation of funding applications and provision of commercialisation support services, including mentoring of successful applicants.

We provide project monitoring to ensure that projects progress in line with agreed milestones and key outcomes.  Commercialisation mentoring includes tailored guidance in areas such as competitive analysis, IP strategy, licensing and spin-out formation.  In addition to supporting applicants to develop their technology to meet the specific Game Changers challenge, we also provide guidance to ensure that technologies and services are developed that are commercially viable.  We assist with identifying next stage funding and use our active cross-sector network to help seek out further commercial opportunities inside or outside the nuclear industry.

Measures of success

We have assessed over 800 applications, provided mentoring and commercialisation support to over 240 funded projects, leveraged over £500k of private sector investment and secured over £1.5m of third-party funding.

Through far-reaching partnerships, nationally and internationally, the Game Changers team have been able to identify a range of new technologies and processes which have real potential to accelerate and reduce the costs of decommissioning.  The programme has been particularly successful in identifying promising cross sector technology and supporting the translation of ideas and expertise to the nuclear industry. 

Current Game Changers projects make use of expertise developed in a wide range of sectors. 

For example:

  • A gamma camera which was initially developed for the space industry and subsequently modified for use in medicine is now being adapted to help characterise Sellafield’s active gloveboxes.

  • Ground-breaking quantum technology used in the automotive and mobile phone industries is being used to define an answer to the problem of remote hydrogen detection which could have important potential not only for Sellafield but also for the nuclear industry world-wide.

  • Techniques successfully used to detect moisture in cakes and art fraud are being applied at Sellafield to look for early signs of corrosion in nuclear waste containers.

  • Molten metal technology used to plug abandoned oil and gas wells is being adapted for potential use in sealing cracks in ponds or pipework.

Looking to the future

We are currently working on expansion of the programme across the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s estate.  Our tried and tested processes are scalable and transferable, and we believe that there is enormous potential to share best practice, learning and experience by working in partnership with additional Site Licence Companies to minimise the potential for duplication of effort, maximise tax-payer investment and facilitate economies of scale. 

“Working across a wide range of sectors and engaging with the talented people who apply to Game Changers is very rewarding.  We are proud to be co-delivering this highly successful programme which is producing quantifiable benefits.  We’re also excited to be expanding Game Changers and are looking forward to identifying and developing more cutting-edge technology to advance the UK’s nuclear industry.” Dr Jo Tunney, FIS360 Innovation Consultant