Funding competition Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 15

Registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for capital centric investment projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections

Description

The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is an Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) programme that aims to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

It offers a share of up to £1 billion of funding for capital and associated industrial research projects. This will be to support the industrialisation of a high value, electrified automotive supply at scale in the UK.

This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition, which is the first stage in a two stage process. Your EoI application outlines your proposal and potential benefits to the UK. If your application is successful, you will be invited to progress to a full application for the ATF competition.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Total eligible project costs and project duration must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund.

Who can apply

Your project

Your total eligible project costs and project duration must be strongly aligned to the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to ATF@apcuk.co.uk at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your request has not been approved, you will be made ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

Non-UK businesses can apply to this expression of interest (EoI) competition in reference to activities they are considering undertaking in the UK. The business must be registered in the UK before any funding can be awarded.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following:

  • a business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

All applicants will need to be registered in the UK before any funding can be awarded.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

If you are a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must request funding by entering their costs during the application.

If you are working in a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must claim any funding awarded through the BEIS Central Grants & Loans Team.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.


You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

You can make more than one application.

There are no restrictions on the number of applications a business can lead or collaborate on.

There are no restrictions on the number of applications a partner can collaborate on.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.


Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

We have allocated a share of up to £1 billion to fund capital focused projects in this competition.

Capital investment projects

Capital investment projects will be managed through the BEIS Central Grants & Loans Team. For capital investment projects the grant available is dependent on the proposed project and will be determined during the second stage of the application process.

The grant requested should be the minimum required to ensure sustainability of the investment. Funding levels for associated R&D costs are dependent on the size of your organisation. Further information on the process will be provided at the full stage.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research Participation

Research organisation participation is allowed where research is integral to your capital centric project.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30%, research and technology organisations in the consortium could get funding for their eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if they are an academic institution
  • 100% of their eligible project costs if they are an RTO

Your proposal

Text update 6 October 2021: we have changed the scope guidance to make this clearer.

This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition. You must have a successful application in this competition before you can be invited to apply to the full stage competition.

Your project must support the industrialisation at scale of an electrified automotive supply chain. It must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).

You should be looking to transform the automotive industry through significant business or production expansion. We expect your project to be centred around a product, process or technology that you have already demonstrated and have confirmed as technically and economically feasible.

Your application can be for:

  • capital investment only
  • capital and associated R&D activity

Your project must prioritise scale up and can focus on but is not limited to:

  • batteries including cells (’gigafactories’)
  • electric motors and drives
  • power electronics
  • fuel cells
  • upstream supply chain for, batteries including cells, electric motors and drives, power electronics or fuel cells
  • recycling of, batteries including cells, electric motors and drives, power electronics or fuel cells

Your project must:

  • fit with the overall strategy of the ATF
  • offer value for money for the UK
  • have an ongoing benefit to the UK from the exploitation of your project
  • include deliverables such as time, cost and quality (including risks)

Only projects which score well against these criteria will receive funding from the ATF.

The ATF will prioritise support to projects that:

  • can act as anchors to their respective supply chains
  • are likely to lead to further investments while creating a sustainable and competitive supply chain for the future

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will fund a portfolio of projects, across the technologies listed in the specific themes section. This portfolio and the technologies within are designed to be complimentary to the overall aim of the ATF. There may be occasion where a lower scoring project is supported, superseding a higher scoring application.

The APC can help you check whether your project fits the Automotive Transformation Fund. Contact the APC team at ATF@apcuk.co.uk to find out more.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

Batteries including cells (’gigafactories’)

  • cathode materials and manufacturing
  • anode materials and manufacturing
  • electrolyte
  • cell assembly components (including separators)
  • cell or module assembly
  • cell testing
  • battery pack components
  • battery pack assembly and test
Electric motors and drives

  • magnet materials and manufacturing
  • electrical steel materials and manufacturing
  • electrical machine assembly
  • drive line components
  • assembly and test into complete drive unit
Power electronics

  • wide band gap semi-conductors
  • sensors
  • passives
  • power electronics assembly
Fuel cells

  • MEA
  • catalysts
  • bipolar plates
  • gas diffusion layer
  • air handling systems
  • balance of plant
  • fuel cell stack assembly
  • storage tanks
  • fuel delivery (where specifically required for development purposes)

Upstream Supply Chain including:

  • raw materials
  • component manufacturing
  • sub-assembly manufacturing

Recycling:

  • e-motors
  • batteries
  • fuel cells
  • power electronics

The Automotive Transformation Fund provides detailed information on the specific themes of this competition.

Research categories

In the full stage competition, the Automotive Transformation Fund will fund:

  • capital investment through the BEIS Central Grants & Loans Team
  • associated industrial research as defined in the guidance on categories of research and ‘Aid for research and development projects’

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • do not transform the automotive industry through significant business or production expansion
  • are not centred around a product, process or technology that you have already demonstrated
  • are not confirmed as technically and economically feasible
  • are dependent on export performance
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage

We are not funding capital investment that:

  • is related to charging infrastructure
  • includes investment in final electric vehicle assembly at original equipment manufacturers (OEM)
  • supports retail and wholesale fuel supply
  • focuses primarily on use of digital or data technologies such as simulation
  • supports speculative site enabling projects

We are not funding associated R&D activity for:

  • software development
  • product or process development which is at prototype or early proof of concept stage
  • low-carbon fuels development

We are not funding projects that are only R&D.
27 September 2021
Competition opens
20 October 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
19 November 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

You should also read specific information about the ATF programme before you start your application.

What we ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

All participants must complete this EDI survey and the lead applicant must then select yes in the application question. The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information.

Application type

What are you seeking funding for? Type one of the following:

  • a capital investment project
  • a mixed capital and research and development (R&D) investment project

Project summary

This section is mandatory, and it is a vital part of the application, setting the scene and providing assessors with a clear overview and feeding into the strategic scoring process.

Provide a summary of the objectives, in layman’s terms, the output of the proposed project, covering the following elements:

  • output or results of the project specifically manufacturing capacity volumes and jobs created and safeguarded
  • amount of grant support requested
  • total anticipated budget
  • potential investment location if known
  • anticipated route to market
  • market opportunity being addressed

Your answer can be up to 300 words long.

2. Application questions

ATF assessors will score your application to determine if it aligns with the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund.

After your application has been assessed, a separate strategic score is given to your application by an ATF moderation panel. The assessors will score your answers for questions 2 to 8.

You will be notified through your IFS dashboard via email, if your application is successful or unsuccessful. You will not receive feedback through the Innovation Funding Service.

APC may choose to contact you directly to explain how you have met or have not met this criterion.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name of your organisation along with your full registered address.

If you are working in collaboration you must also state the name and full registered address of all your partners.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all participants of a project.

Question 2. Automotive Transformation Fund

How does your project align with the Automotive Transformation Fund?

Demonstrate how your project aligns to the competition objectives, associated focus areas and overall aims of the Automotive Transformation Fund, providing up to date evidence.

Describe:

  • which area of the Automotive Transformation Fund your project will help deliver
  • your current role in the UK supply chain and how this project will change that
  • how your project will help delivery scale up in the UK

You can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. Exploitation and dissemination

How will you exploit and disseminate your project results? What economic, social, and environmental benefits do you expect your project to deliver, and by when?

Include expected project outputs for:

  • products
  • manufacturing capacity
  • number of jobs created and safeguarded
  • impact on the UK supply chain
  • training and skill development
  • spill-over into wider automotive industry and other sectors

Describe the expected environmental benefits as a result of this project.

Include an initial exploitation plan in the appendix.

You can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Technical approach and management

What technical approach will you use and how will you manage your project?

Describe or explain:

  • the technical approach, including the main objectives of the work
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • how and why the approach is appropriate
  • how you will make sure the innovative steps in the project are achievable
  • how you will measure your success
  • the areas of work and your objectives

You can submit a work breakdown structure (including the cost of each work package). It must be a PDF, as one A4 page and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project, and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 6. Skills, experience, and facilities

Does your proposed project team have the right skills and experience to deliver this project?

Demonstrate that the likely project team:

  • has the right mix of skills and experience to complete the project
  • has a track record in managing capital and research and development projects
  • has clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

If appropriate include access to facilities to enable the successful delivery of the project.

If you are part of a consortium, describe the benefits of the collaboration. What does being part of a consortium offer the project?

Question 7. Adding value

How does financial support from the Automotive Transformation Fund add value to the UK? What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you need this funding? Explain what other sources of funding have been considered, including private investment, and why it is not available.
  2. What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Describe and provide evidence for what will occur if the application for funding is not successful.

Question 8. Finances

Provide us with estimates of the project’s eligible costs, including any partner’s costs and the grant funding you are seeking. If your proposal includes R&D and capital investment, please separate these costs out.

Type ‘table attached’ as your answer and give your estimates in a table as an attached appendix. Give details of the total eligible costs and total funding requested for this project.

With a capital only grant request, provide a breakdown of costs associated with build, fit out, equipment and other costs. If R&D costs are also included, provide an additional breakdown of costs associated with labour, materials, subcontractors, capital depreciation and training.

Give your table the following headings:

  • company name
  • country where work is being carried out
  • eligible costs (£)
  • funding sought (£)

Where there is more than one organisation involved, please ensure a similar table is completed for each partner. The funding sought by a partner can be zero.

You must submit a summary of your estimated costs as a table. It must be submitted as a single PDF or spreadsheet, no larger than 10MB in size with one A4 page for each partner. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Background and further information

Intended to support industrialisation at scale of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK, the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is a programme funded by the UK government. Its aim is to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

Formed in 2013, the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) accelerates the industrialisation of technologies which help to realise zero emission vehicles. It is at the heart of the UK Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The APC was appointed as the main Automotive Transformation Fund delivery organisation.

This Automotive Transformation Fund competition is formally delivered in partnership between APC, Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for International Trade (DIT).

The ATF will be administered utilising a portfolio approach over the life of the fund. They may also choose to prioritise projects in specific themes where the projects are deemed of strategic importance to the aims of the ATF.

The BEIS Central Grants and Loans Team will deliver the second stage of the competition process, assessment framework and contracting. The value for money that the proposed project will deliver to the UK economy will be assessed by BEIS.

Where a project is linked to overseas investment in the UK, or export of goods from the UK, DIT will:

  • provide reasons why an overseas business should invest in the UK
  • assist with sector-specific information about the UK economy
  • provide a way for overseas businesses to contact DIT staff in their country

APC can help by:

  • co-ordinating your application through all the necessary steps
  • providing general guidance regarding interpretation of competition rules and guidelines on an informal basis
  • helping your consortium to structure the bid development process
  • answering questions regarding whether or not your project is within scope

In securing funding from this programme, each participant receiving a grant will pay an industrial contribution to the APC operating budget. This is set at 3% of the element of the grant that is categorised as R&D, as determined during the full application with the BEIS Central Grants and Loans Team.

Your application may be re-directed to other more suitable funding opportunities. You will be notified if this is the case.

Any information received by Innovate UK for this competition may be shared with APC, BEIS, DIT, HM Treasury and the devolved administrations. There is a data sharing agreement in place with these bodies which safeguards both personal and commercial data in accordance with data protection legislation.

Finding a project partner

Get help with your application

The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s role is to provide guidance rather than formal advice. If you would like to discuss whether your project is eligible, contact APC directly by e-mail: ATF@apcuk.co.uk

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the KTN.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

Need help with this service? Contact us