BETA This is a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Funding competition Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovation R&D, round 2

UK businesses can apply for a share of £23 million to work on innovation projects to design, develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles.

This competition is now closed.

Start new application

Summary

Description

This competition is the second round of the Faraday Battery Challenge: innovation funding to support business led research and development.

Innovate UK will invest up to £23 million in innovation projects. Projects should focus on identified technical or commercial challenges in battery innovation, development and manufacture through UK supply chains. These should lead to battery technologies that can be exploited at scale by the automotive sector in the UK and globally. Specifically, we are looking to build and create future electric vehicle battery supply chains in the UK.

All projects must be a collaboration between at least 2 partners. A business or research and technology organisation (RTO) must lead the project.

If your project size falls outside of our scope, contact us before you apply.

A separate £2 million is available for feasibility study projects . This is being run as a linked competition.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total costs should be between £500,000 and £15 million. Projects should last up to 30 months. We expect projects to be completed by March 2021.

Eligibility

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from the UK
  • work in collaboration with others (businesses, research base or third sector)

The lead organisation must claim funding through this competition. At least one other organisation in the consortium must also claim funding.

All projects must involve an SME.

Any one RTO may lead on one application and partner in a further 2 applications.

If an RTO is:

  • the lead on an application they must have at least 2 business collaborators (one SME, and one other business of any size)
  • not the lead on any application, they can be a partner in any number of applications

Academics cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

The research organisations collaborating as part of a consortium may share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Projects may include partners that don’t receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole company and were awarded funding by Innovate UK, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members
  • communicate our decision to you in writing

Funding

Innovate UK via the Faraday Battery Challenge has allocated up to £23 million to fund collaborative research and development projects in this competition.

Projects should address the technical and commercial challenges identified in the scope section. Projects must clearly show how their technology is drawing from fundamental research and can be scaled up. You should show how the project builds a future UK supply chain for automotive traction battery applications.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects. Projects should address identified technical or commercial challenges of the electrified vehicle battery supply chain. This should be across a variety of technologies, markets and technological maturities. These may include industrial research projects or experimental development projects.

Innovate UK reserves the right to apply a portfolio approach within this competition. The portfolio will be spread across a range of scope areas, state aid categories, project durations and project costs. This is to fit the spend profile of this competition.

Scope

Your proposal

This competition is the second round of innovation funding for the Faraday Battery Challenge, part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Projects must support the overall goal of the Faraday Battery Challenge. This goal is for the UK to become a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. Successful projects will increase productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK businesses.

In line with the objectives of the Faraday Battery Challenge, we are looking to fund projects that address the following technical and supply chain challenges:

  • cost: cost reduction at the cell and pack level
  • energy density: increasing Wh/kg per cell
  • power density: increasing kW/kg per pack
  • safety: eliminate thermal runaway risks for enhanced safety
  • first life: lengthen cell and pack life
  • temperature: broaden the temperature ranges that a pack efficiently operates at
  • predictability: new models to better predict range and battery health
  • recyclability: towards 95% pack recyclability, such as by design, reuse or recycling
  • innovation in cell, module and pack production
  • integration of cells into modules, packs and vehicles
  • battery management systems
  • enabling fast charging
  • projects that stimulate and broaden innovation in the manufacture, performance and supply of materials (such as electrodes, electrolytes, binders, separators, current collectors, cell casings and components for cell integration into modules and packs)

Innovation is needed to grow UK battery and battery component manufacturing to be highly productive with excellent material efficiency. We also need to maintain our competitiveness in the long term.

This could be achieved by:

  • developing more flexible and efficient processes
  • developing processes that enable faster and greater customisation of the product to satisfy customer demands
  • developing materials for ease of manufacture
  • addressing the manufacturing readiness of products
  • developing materials for electrified vehicle performance specifications
  • diversifying product and service lines to address future requirements
  • developing novel services and/or business models, that open up new sources of revenue

We encourage a range of projects that cover both niche and mainstream vehicle applications.

On-highway vehicles category L, M or N and off highway vehicle applications are in scope.

Projects which also address other vehicle types are in scope if:

  • they closely resemble the future requirements of the high volume automotive applications
  • present a diversification opportunity for the supply chain

Small volume battery requirements for other vehicles outside those listed are not in scope unless there is an outstanding clear benefit for automotive electric vehicles.

Total environmental impact should be a key consideration for all projects.

Pure business model (such as non-technical) innovation in these areas is also in scope.

Innovation projects need to clearly demonstrate how they can be scaled through a follow-on project supported by the Advanced Propulsion Centre or taken to market by industry. We are keen to support innovation projects that build on the most promising and successful fundamental research that has already been proven by the research base.

The Faraday Battery Challenge programme will be bringing together research, innovation and demonstration project participants to share knowledge and help maximise the outcomes of the initiative. We will request that grant holders attend these cohort events.

Specific themes

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • show a clear path towards manufacture and commercial opportunity, at scale, in the UK
  • focus on maximising UK return from the battery supply value chain, for example in the manufacture and IP related to electrodes
  • support all aspects of the UK’s automotive sector battery supply chain, including niche vehicles and off highway
  • have a clear focus on commercialisation in the UK at high volume
  • bring new investment and new businesses in to the sector in the UK

Project types

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.

Projects we won't fund

We will not fund projects that cover:

  • fundamental research into battery chemistry only (this will be funded by EPSRC Research Programme for this challenge)
  • large, high technology readiness level projects which can be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre
  • battery technologies where the main commercial focus is not automotive based
  • other electrical or mechanical energy storage systems (other competitions are available for projects in these areas)
  • funding for substantive non-UK based partners or sub-contractors

Dates

22 January 2018
Competition opens
24 January 2018
London briefing event.
31 January 2018
Newcastle briefing event.
8 February 2018
Cardiff briefing event.
28 March 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
27 April 2018
Invite to interview.
17 May 2018
Interview panel 17 to 25 May.
8 June 2018 11:24am
Applicants notified

How to apply

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to participate in the project as collaborators if your application is successful
  • Partner organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

Interviews

If your application is successful at the written stage you will be invited to attend an interview.

Presentations should be a maximum of 30 minutes in length, with no more than 30 slides (using Microsoft PowerPoint). Please do not include any video or embedded web links. This will be followed by 40 minutes of questions and answers, with the potential for an additional 10 minute interview following 10 minutes closed discussion by the assessors.

You must submit your presentation slides to Innovate UK by the date stated in the email we will send inviting you to an interview. You will not be able to make any changes to the presentation after this date.

Up to 9 people from your project can attend the interview panel. Agree with your consortium who will attend, ideally one person from each organisation, and send us their names by the date stated in the invitation email. Make sure they will be available on all of the published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

You will be expected to answer questions based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

You will have the opportunity to provide a supplementary written response to the assessor feedback, answering any concerns raised by the assessors. This can be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document. It can include charts or diagrams. This must be submitted to Innovate UK by the date stated in the invitation email.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details
  2. Application questions
  3. Finances

1. Project details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it doesn’t, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and length. List any partner organisations you have named as collaborators.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Please do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could be before you start your project.

Project scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding.

2. Application questions

In this section, answers to these questions are scored by the assessors. Following assessment, you will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long.

Question 1: Need or challenge

What is the business need, supply chain or technological challenge, and market opportunity behind your innovation? You should answer in the context of global opportunity for future battery development and manufacture for electric vehicles.

You should describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, supply chain or technological challenge and market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development or outside the UK, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project is focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, environmental, cultural and/or political and global challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations. Our Horizons tool can help with this

Question 2: Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the technical innovation, business model innovation or supply chain development be?

You should describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • explain the technology readiness level (TRL) at the start of the project and the expected TRL at the end and/or
  • expected progress towards and/or beyond the 2025 targets on the Automotive Council Electrical Energy Storage Roadmap as appropriate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make your consortium and the UK more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You may submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages in size to support your answer.

Question 3: Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

You should describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You may submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 4 pages long to support your answer.

Question 4: Market awareness

What does the addressable market you are targeting look like? We understand the global strategic case for electric vehicles and batteries, so this answer should focus on your consortium’s attainable market.

You should describe or explain:

  • the market segments (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 route to market could or might be
  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5: Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

You should describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers and/or end users, and the value to them, for example, why would they use or buy it?
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation (increased revenues or cost reduction)
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6: Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

You should describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases, reshoring of manufacturing and import substitution. Be specific to your consortium rather than referring to generic global opportunities for electric vehicle battery production.
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe, and where possible measure, any expected impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education and skills development related to battery technologies
  • wider supply chain development outside the project itself
  • the environment
  • health and safety
  • regulations

Question 7: Project management

You should describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category, the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used for a successful and innovative project outcome.
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You may upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long.

Question 8: Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

You should describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how will you manage this?

You may upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long.

Question 9: Additionality

Describe the impact that an injection of public funding would have on this project.

You should describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the business of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Question 10: Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

You should describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer and how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise?
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Supporting information

Background and further information

The Faraday Battery Challenge was launched in July 2017 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The fund is being administered by Innovate UK and the Research Councils.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is an investment of £246 million over 4 years. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. It aims to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles.

Batteries for future electrified vehicles are recognised as a major global opportunity for the UK.

Around 50% of the value of future vehicles will be related to the battery and its supporting systems. Future investment decisions around battery development and their manufacture in the UK will likely influence significant wider investment decisions by original equipment manufacturers, including vehicle production. The complete supply chain for batteries at scale for the automotive sector does not yet fully exist, representing an opportunity for the UK.

The UK manufactures over 2 million engines a year, employing large numbers of highly skilled workers. It is widely thought that the number of internal combustion engines will reduce over time as the automotive sector moves towards electrified vehicles.

The UK now has the ecosystem to place itself as a leader in future battery research, innovation and high volume manufacturing for the global automotive market.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is supporting battery research from fundamental research through development and innovation to industrial scale up via 3 elements:

  1. £78 million for a new ‘application-inspired’ research programme co-ordinated at a national scale. A large part of this is being led by the Faraday Institution.
  2. £88 million innovation programme to stimulate collaborative research and development with co-investment from industry. This will de-risk and enable the steps to get from research through to manufacturing at scale.
  3. £80 million scale up programme to allow companies of all sizes to rapidly move new battery technologies to market through the creation of an open-access National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility.

Innovate UK is required to conduct impact evaluation of activities across all funded projects. This is for accountability purposes and to inform future programme design. Project participants will be required to provide data on their organisation and grant-funded activities throughout the duration of the funded project and afterwards. Details will be provided with the grant offer letter.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at support@innovateuk.gov.uk

Need help with this service? Contact us