Funding competition Driving the Electric Revolution – PEMD Skills Hub

UK registered organisations can apply for up to £1 million from Driving the electric revolution for the development of a Power Electronics, Machines and Drives skills hub.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK’s Driving the electric revolution challenge, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1 million in a single project to create a Power Electronic, Machines and Drives (PEMD) skills hub. This is to support the challenge aims of creating world leading supply chains and expertise for the manufacture of PEMD in the UK.

The aim of this competition is to establish the hub as a lasting ‘platform’ that will connect training and education course providers with employers and learners. The hub will be accessible to new learners, professionals already working in PEMD, and those wanting to develop expertise in specialist areas.

The hub will impartially curate, organise and host a range of innovative and traditional courses that meets industry needs and encourages the community to share PEMD skills.

The funding will support:

  • the development of the platform for the hub
  • the development of a cohesive UK PEMD skills community
  • operational costs for up to 36 months to enable the hub to become established

The hub must operate for at least 10 years in total from the date of the funding agreement being signed. You must be able to provide the necessary remaining operational investment from your own means to financially support the hub for the rest of this period after the grant draw-down has ended.

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

The maximum grant you can claim in this competition is £1 million. Your project’s total eligible costs are not limited.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • not claim more than £1 million grant
  • start by 1st April 2022
  • deliver an operational hub by 1 September 2022
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results in the UK

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org 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 application request has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible, and your application will not be sent for assessment.

We will fund a single project that will develop a platform, create the skills community and manage the hub.

The funding from UK Research and Innovation will end by 31 March 2025. This will be the end of the grant draw down period.

The hub must operate for at least 10 years in total from the date of the funding agreement being signed.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

Project team

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

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

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 collaborating the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

The winning proposal for this competition will support the overall Driving the electric revolution challenge’s skills agenda and collaborate with the challenge programme.

The hub will be expected to attend cohort meetings with other skills projects funded by the Challenge. You will share non-commercially sensitive results and best practice, to encourage further collaboration and skills, talent and training opportunities.

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

An eligible organisation can lead or collaborate on any number of applications.

An eligible organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

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 up to £1 million to fund a single project in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

You could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

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.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 100% of the total eligible project costs.


You could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to provide funding to establish a power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) skills hub.

This skills hub will be a platform for the UK’s PEMD educators and training providers, showcasing, organising and signposting to their training courses and educational materials across all levels.

The hub will give learners and businesses impartial information and access to the UK’s PEMD training courses and educational materials in one place. This will allow learners and businesses to understand what competencies they need, and find the training courses to develop these.

Your proposal must include all of the following:

1.Platform development

The hub must:

  • design, develop and deliver an online platform that provides information about PEMD training courses, educational materials and career path development in the UK
  • curate, collate and organise easy to access online and face-to-face education and training material
  • engage young people and others outside the PEMD workforce to raise awareness
  • develop a distinctive and identifiable brand
  • develop a competency framework for the whole PEMD workforce, supporting a competency-based approach for career path and job role planning
  • create a system of recording and recognising cross-institutional achievements of learners with a verifiable and secure means

2.Community building

The hub must:

  • connect course providers with employers and learners to deliver education and training to new learners, professionals already working in PEMD, and those wanting to develop expertise in specialist areas
  • build partnerships with educators and training providers across all levels
  • build a database of existing education and training courses, and future courses
  • build relationships across all sectors of the PEMD industry to understand and advise skills competencies and training need
  • encourage learners to consider careers in the UK’s PEMD industry
  • provide a UK wide solution that also works at a regional level
  • have an active leadership role in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for PEMD skills, with an effective EDI strategy to address challenges relevant to the topics and communities of the hub

3.Supporting operational activities

The hub must:

  • provide a sustainable and long-lasting service to the UK’s PEMD community
  • operate for at least 10 years
  • be able to provide the necessary operational investment from your own means to financially support the hub for the remaining period after the grant draw-down has ended
  • acquire commercial licencing agreements and a mechanism to share training content and education material
  • monitor and report to the DER Challenge and other stakeholders on the performance of the platform
  • analyse data on course availability, training demand, employer needs and required skill sets and competencies, to identify and advise on gaps to the DER Challenge team and other stakeholders

The Driving the electric revolution team reserves the right to approach and agree with projects’ changes of scope during the project lifecycle.
This can include recommending changes to project partners in order to achieve the challenge objectives. Further funds may be available to support such changes.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • require ISCF funding for new buildings or capital infrastructure to be built
  • are not related to PEMD skills
  • are PEMD CR&D projects
  • focus on skills and training material or course development
  • are claiming in excess of the £1 million grant limit
  • are dependent on export performance
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage
15 November 2021
Competition opens
16 November 2021
Online briefing event - Watch the recording
15 December 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
18 January 2022
Invite to interview
26 January 2022
Interview panel
27 January 2022
Interview panel
4 February 2022
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.

Interviews

If your online application is successful at this stage, you will be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation. Your interview will take place either online or at a designated location.

Before the interview, by the deadline stated in the invitation email, you:

  • must send a list of who will attend the interview
  • must send your interview presentation slides
  • can send a written response to the assessors’ feedback

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 5 people from your project can attend, ideally one person from each organisation. They must all be available on all published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

Presentation slides

Your interview presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 20 minutes
  • have no more than 20 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it or bring any additional materials to the interview.

Written response to assessor feedback

This is optional and is an opportunity to answer the assessors’ concerns. It can:

  • be up to 2 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document
  • include charts or diagrams

Interview

After your presentation the panel will spend up to 40 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on the information you provided in your application form, presentation and the response to feedback.

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.

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.

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.

Each and every participant in the application must complete this EDI survey, and the lead must 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 not be eligible for funding.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers to questions 2 to 11, question 1 is not scored. You will receive feedback for each scored question.

You must answer all questions. 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.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take in developing the hub?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for your project
  • the nature of your current business and how this project will add value to it
  • 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
  • any previous technical and business planning work you may have conducted in relation to the proposed project, and your freedom to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • how you will improve and build on other existing skills initiatives
  • the new or enhanced products, processes, or services that would be ready in the short term by September 2022, medium, and long term with specific timescales
  • how you will ensure that it is open and available to all stakeholders, from industry and academia
  • how your project can be designed to encourage collaboration between technology providers and manufacturers, and academic and commercial organisations
  • how you will attract engagement from both a wide spectrum of the PEMD industry sectors and other sectors

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

Your answer can be up to 600 words long

Question 3. Team and resources

Who is in your project team? Describe how they have the right skills and experience to deliver the hub and its identified benefits. When answering this question, you must consider how each area of your project will be managed:

  • platform development
  • community building
  • supporting operational activities

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
  • how you have considered diversity and inclusion in your project
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including key partnerships, stakeholders, contributors and subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • (if your project is collaborative) the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 4. User awareness

Who are the users of the hub and how will they use it? How have they been considered or involved in the design of your proposal and capabilities?

Your users can include but are not limited to:

  • content creators or training and course deliverers at further or higher education and training providers
  • businesses, employers and employees in the PEMD industry
  • businesses, employers and employees with potential to move into the PEMD industry
  • school, college, university students and other learners looking at potential careers in the PEMD workforce

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 and userbase for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • how you propose to attract and communicate with potential users of the hub
  • 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

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 5. Interaction with the UK PEMD Community

How will the hub develop and connect with the UK's existing PEMD industry and skills, training and education providers?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will identify and connect with these organisations to develop this ecosystem
  • how you will connect with the other activities in the DER Challenge and PEMD community to enhance the value of the whole challenge programme
  • how the project team will use its contacts and networks to build the relationships required to make this ecosystem work
  • how will this impact on the resources and capabilities that the hub can offer to its users
  • how will this impact on the value of the hub in delivering something that is not available now

Ideas for integrating the hub with existing networks and initiatives to enhance the benefits to the UK together are welcome.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. This can include letters of support from industry, education providers and other stakeholders. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 6. Outcomes and impact

What will be the direct impact of the hub on UK PEMD talent and how will this project benefit the project team?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will meet the objectives of the Driving the electric revolution challenge
  • the expected impact of the project on the PEMD industry skills needs
  • the likely impact of the project on the organisations involved
  • expected impacts on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the PEMD industry
  • how you will measure your impact, for example KPIs or similar metrics
  • 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

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 7. Wider impacts

How will the hub support the wider objectives set out in the Driving the electric revolution challenge both now and in the future for PEMD and other industry sectors?

Describe and where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe and where possible, measure:

  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 8. Project management

What is the governance structure and operating model of the hub, and how will the project be managed in both the project and operational phases?

When answering this question, you must consider how each area of your project will be managed:

  • platform development
  • community building
  • supporting operational activities

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the governance structure, operating model and management reporting lines
  • how the hub management will develop and maintain an understanding of PEMD skills needs and challenges
  • how you will use this to keep the hub relevant to changing needs in the UK PEMD industry
  • how you will manage and monitor progress, including both the project and operations phases
  • the metrics you intend to monitor
  • how concerns or issues will be highlighted early to all affected stakeholders and who these stakeholders will be
  • how the finances will be managed and planned for unexpected events
  • your project plan in enough detail, in both the funded development phase of the project and continuing operational phase, to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 9. Risks

What are the risks to the hub’s success and what is the project’s risk management strategy? This should be detailed for both the funded development phase of the project and continuing operational phase.

When answering this question, you must consider each area of your project:

  • platform development
  • community building
  • supporting operational activities

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • 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 you will manage this

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 3 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 10. Costs and value for money

What is the financial commitment required for the hub? How much will the project cost, and how does your bid represent value for money and long term viability?

When answering this question, you must consider each area of your project:

  • platform development
  • community building
  • supporting operational activities

Value for money will be a fundamental consideration for this competition.

In terms of the project goals, describe or explain:

  • the total eligible project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • your expected operational and maintenance costs
  • your project costs in both the funded development phase of the project and continuing operational phase
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

You must submit one appendix that includes a table detailing a forecast of the full breakdown of costs and revenues related to the hub. This must be in terms of equipment, premises and staff, per Innovate UK financial year (ending 31 March), for both the funded development phase of the project and continuing operational phase.

It must be a PDF, can be up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The world is turning electric across every sector of society, from energy generation for our homes, travel by road, rail, air or sea, and how things are made.

Electric and hybrid vehicles, domestic appliances and other applications are creating a massive need for next-generation power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD).

For the UK to be able to design, develop and manufacture these products, we need to have skilled people across all levels.

The Driving the electric revolution challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Driving the electric revolution is an investment of £80 million. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. The challenge aims to create world leading supply chains in the UK and expertise for the manufacture of power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) across multiple sectors.

This is part of a larger effort across many technologies and sectors to catalyse the government’s green industrial revolution in transport, energy, and industrial sectors, aligned to the ten-point plan.

Find a project partner

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