Funding competition ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries : Demonstrators EoI

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £14 million for demonstrations of innovative technology for UK foundation industries. We have allocated £180,000 for this expression of interest (EoI) stage.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £14 million from the Transforming Foundation Industries Programme to support projects that demonstrate innovation at an industrial scale.

The aim of the competition is to fund research and development projects that demonstrate future technologies, capable of addressing the resource or energy efficiency challenges of the UK’s Foundation Industries. These will be cross-sector, collaborative, demonstration projects. Your proposal must include significant industry investment.

This is stage 1 of a 2 stage competition:

  • ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries: Demonstrators Expression of interest (EoI) (this stage)
  • ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries: Demonstrators - Full stage: This will be by invitation only to applicants who are successful in the EoI stage.

Your EoI proposal must support a future demonstration of an innovation at an industrially relevant scale, which will develop either:

  • pipeline technologies to reduce deployment risk and accelerate take-up across industries, largely by reducing payback time
  • new technologies that, when deployed, would create a step-change in energy and resource efficiency

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

Successful applicants can claim grant funding of £15,000 at this EoI stage.

Who can apply

Your project

If you choose to claim funding, your project must:

  • have project costs and claim grant funding of £15,000
  • start on 1 February 2022
  • end by 31 March 2022
  • last between 1 to 2 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You can choose not to claim any grant funding for your costs which will not affect your assessment or invitation to the full stage.

If you are not claiming any funding, your EoI application must be submitted with a zero grant request.

You must complete your application with:

  • a start date of 1 February 2022
  • an end date of 31 March 2022

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size, or research and technology organisation (RTO)

Academic institutions cannot lead a project.

The lead organisation for this EoI stage, does not have to lead the next full stage application. If your project is invited, another eligible member of the proposed consortium can lead.

Number of applications

A business, or RTO can lead up to two EoI applications, but can only lead on one full stage application.

Previous applications

You can use apreviously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Special Drawing Rights (and De minimis where applicable)

The UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has agreed on small funding allowances under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

These are for awards up to SDR of 325,000 (approximately £335,000) given to a single beneficiary over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

You must complete and provide Innovate UK with a declaration as part of your response in question 1.

The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards made under De minimis and SDR, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period. If you have received an award under De minimis for the same period, this will be added to your total allowance under SDR. This means that the total award must not exceed approximately £335,000 (325,000 SDR) for any one organisation. You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.

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

Further information

Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent BEIS guidance. Or you can see our general guidance on Special Drawing Rights and EU de minimis awards.

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the De minimis rules, you should take independent legal advice. We cannot advise on individual eligibility or your legal obligations.

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

Innovate UK has allocated £180,000 to this Expression of Interest (EoI) stage of the competition to fund data gathering projects, that will support a full stage application. We expect to take up to 12 projects to full stage.

You can apply for £15,000 grant at this EoI stage to complete background data gathering and relationship building necessary to create an application for the full stage competition.

If your application is not requesting funding, you must still complete the EoI stage application with the information requested.

Up to £13.6 million has been allocated to fund projects at the Full Stage of the competition.

For your full stage project, your total eligible project costs must be more than £5 million. There is no upper limit to your full stage total eligible project costs.

You must be eligible to claim grant funding of between £2.5 to £3.5 million against your total eligible project costs.

The total grant for the full stage project must be less than 50% of your total eligible project costs.

At the full stage, we may consider the purchase of capital equipment as an eligible project cost in large-scale commercial demonstration projects.

This capital purchase would be allowed only if they enable more energy efficient processing or more efficient recycling or re-use activities. You should get in touch with the Challenge team for clarity on the eligibility of your proposed capital costs.

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 European Commission De minimis.

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

Your proposal

Your EoI application must outline your intentions for a full stage project including:

  • the project idea or technology being demonstrated
  • the market for this demonstration
  • the anticipated project consortium, which must contain a minimum of two foundation industries partners
  • how the project will meet the minimum project size of £5m and include significant industry investment

The aim of the full stage competition will be to fund demonstrations of future technologies capable of addressing the resource or energy efficiency challenges of UK Foundation Industries.

For the full stage competition, your project will need to:

  • be collaborative and cross-sector, including a minimum of two foundation industries (cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and chemicals)
  • demonstrate future technologies at an industrially relevant scale
  • include significant industry investment
  • improve the sustainability of the foundation industries
  • align to the Transforming foundation industries challenge aims

We aim to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of:

  • industries
  • technologies
  • markets

This competition is funded by the ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) Challenge. The Challenge Director reserves the right to make the final decision on whether a project is successful at the EoI stage and is invited to apply for the full stage competition.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one of the following themes:

  1. Energy efficiency: process improvements to increase energy efficiency including innovative heat recovery trials, alternative feedstocks, and new products
  2. Resource efficiency: including industrial symbiosis, waste utilisation, new products and alternative and biobased feedstocks
  3. Sensors, controls and digitalisation: with a focus on increased efficiency, productivity to increase energy, or resource efficiency)
  4. Other energy or resource efficiency improvements: including new products, processes, new services or business models

Research categories

If invited to the full stage competition, your project must be an experimental development project, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

You can include some aspects of industrial research, but you will need to clearly describe where the project crosses over from one research category to the next.

You will need to indicate which research category each work package falls under.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects for this EoI stage that:

  • focus on fuel switching or greenhouse gas capture technology
  • do not focus on foundation industries and their immediate supply chains
  • respond only to the skills needs of foundation industries
  • are capital or infrastructure projects
  • involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • involve primary production in agriculture
  • are not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • are not allowed under Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
  • have activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • are dependent on export performance – for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage- for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product
11 October 2021
Competition opens
12 October 2021
Online briefing event – register here
1 December 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
17 December 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

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

Application team

You can invite people from your organisation to help complete the application.

Application details

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

Subsidy Basis

Will the project, including any related activities, you want Innovate UK to fund, affect trade between Northern Ireland and the EU?

All participants must complete this section.

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.

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.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope, it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Applications questions

The assessors will score your answers to questions 4 to 8, questions 1 to 3 are not scored. You will receive feedback for each scored question.

You must answer all questions. 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.

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

Question 2. Special Drawing Rights declaration (not scored)

If you are claiming grant, you must download the declaration template and upload the completed template as an appendix.

You must complete this, declaring any awards, including those made under De minimis and Special Drawing Rights (SDR) subsidies, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

You must also keep all documentation relating to this and other De minimis awards for a period of 10 years and be prepared to release it to any public funding body which requests it.

You must write “declaration attached” in the text box.

If you are not claiming grant, you must write “no grant claimed” in the text box.

The application form will not allow you to mark as complete and submit, without any content in this questions text box.

Question 3. Competition Theme (not scored)

You must select the theme your project is focused on:

  1. Energy efficiency: process improvements to increase energy efficiency including innovative heat recovery trials, alternative feedstocks, and new products
  2. Resource efficiency: including industrial symbiosis, waste utilisation, new products and alternative and biobased feedstocks
  3. Sensors, controls and digitalisation: with a focus on increased efficiency, productivity to increase energy, or resource efficiency)
  4. Other energy or resource efficiency improvements: including new products, processes, new services or business models

Question 4. Need or challenge and market awareness

What is the business need, technological challenge and market opportunity behind your innovation?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • how this aligns to the Transforming foundation industries challenge aims
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate
  • the target markets for the project, any other potential sectors (domestic, international or both) and their size
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available

Question 5. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • the technical approach, including the main objectives of the work
  • 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
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you 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

Question 6. Team and resources

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

Describe or explain:

  • is the lead applicant of the EoI stage going to be the lead of the full stage application, if not who is
  • 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, particularly in the light of any continuing COVID-19 restrictions
  • 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 consortium members you require and the skills you are looking for
  • any roles you will need to recruit for taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure
  • how you have taken Equality, Diversity and Inclusion into account when selecting partners and in recruitment

Question 7. Costs and value for money

How much will your full stage project cost, why is public funding required and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

In terms of the full stage project goals, describe or explain:

  • how your consortium will meet the minimum project size of more than £5 million
  • the anticipated grant you are requesting
  • whether this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as a faster route to market, more partners or reduced risk
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • any anticipated subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

You must complete your project costs, your organisation details and funding details in the application.

To complete the finances section in your application, you must only enter £15,000 under other costs.

This does not mean your award can only be spent on specific costs. This section is simply a mandatory part of the application that needs to be completed.

If you are claiming the SDR grant, you must request 100% grant funding for your £15,000 costs.

If you are not claiming funding, you must request zero grant funding for your £15,000 costs.

Background and further information

This competition is funded by the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Further information on the Challenge and its aims can be on the Transforming foundation industries challenge – UKRI page.

If you are successful you will be invited to the full stage competition, where your project must demonstrate future technologies at an industrially relevant scale.

To be eligible for the full stage your project must:

  • be collaborative and cross-sector
  • contain a minimum of two of the following foundation industries; cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and chemicals
  • include at least one SME
  • include significant industry investment
  • improve the sustainability of the foundation industries
  • align to the Transforming foundation industries challenge aims

Your full stage project will need to meet all areas of the scope. Your total grant will be limited to less than 50% of the project size.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact 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