Funding competition Driving the Electric Revolution – Building Talent for the Future 2: EoI

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4.5 million for innovative skills, talent, and training projects for Power Electronics, Motors and Drives (PEMD). This funding is from the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


Innovate UK’s Driving the Electric Revolution challenge, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £4.5 million in projects building talent for the future.

The aim of this competition is to create and deliver course content and materials that will support skills, talent and training across Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) manufacturing and supply chains; building awareness of PEMD and filling key gaps in the UK's workforce talent and training capabilities.

Opportunities could include but are not limited to:

  • schools’ engagement
  • apprenticeships and internships
  • upskilling and reskilling of existing workforce
  • technical courses and vocational training
  • undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development (CPD)

This is an expression of interest (EoI) stage of a two stage competition. There is no funding at this EoI stage. If you are successful in this stage, you will be invited to apply into the full stage competition.

We will also be running a separate open competition for projects with costs below £50,000. To apply for this, you do not need to complete this expression of interest stage.

The full stage competitions will open in March 2022.

Your proposal must deliver a clear, game-changing intervention and address a clear industrial requirement. This would realistically and significantly meet and provide a long-term commitment to supporting the UK PEMD industry talent requirement.

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

Text update 2 February 2022: The close date for this competition has been extended to 11am 3 February 2022.

Funding type


Project size

There is no funding for this EoI stage. Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £50,000 and £1 million.

Who can apply

Your project

If your application is successful in this EoI stage, you will be invited to apply into the full stage competition.

This competition is open to single applicants and collaborations.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £50,000 and £1 million
  • start by 1 October 2022
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 6 and 30 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or 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 at least 5 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us 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:

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a 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.

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

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 and must be listed in your application.


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 organisation can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

If the number of applications your organisation wants to be involved in falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 5 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

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)

Innovate UK 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.


Innovate UK have allocated up to £4.5 million to fund projects in the full stage competitions.

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 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.

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

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.

The aim of the full stage competition is to create and deliver course content and materials that will support skills, talent and training across PEMD manufacturing and supply chain; building awareness of PEMD and filling key gaps in the UK's workforce talent and training capabilities.

Your project must demonstrate.

  • strong industrial links and a well-defined industry focus
  • an understanding and awareness of the PEMD industrial skills that are currently lacking and possible future requirements to enable the workforce
  • an innovative, ambitious and realistic idea to meet a significant PEMD talent requirement
  • planning for, and commitment to, creating and maintaining the resource on an ongoing basis for a minimum period of 3 years after project completion
  • that you will provide new opportunities not already available, to the UK, a region or group of underrepresented people
  • that it has the capacity and capability to be delivered successfully and on time
  • value for money and evidence a return on investment, in terms of trained, upskilled and reskilled people

You can:

  • produce content and material for outreach, engagement and learning purposes
  • conduct PEMD outreach and engagement exercises to individuals, academia, industry and other groups
  • generate and deliver course material or facilitate the running of courses
  • provide training or incentives for training to specific groups of underrepresented people or in specific training subjects

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of key industrial needs and gaps in UK PEMD workforce skills, talent pipeline and training capabilities.

Specific Themes

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

  • defining and filling key gaps in the UK’s PEMD manufacturing and supply chain workforce and training capability
  • producing industry compatible training programs in PEMD
  • promoting skills in design for manufacture and design for assembly
  • increasing interaction between academia or training establishments and industry to ensure skills streams for the future, including: apprenticeships, internships, sandwich courses
  • delivering academic courses or practical training areas such as: schools’ engagement, upskilling and reskilling of existing workforce, technical courses and vocational training, undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development (CPD)
  • improving the quality and capacity of existing training delivery
  • outreach and engagement material focusing on PEMD for all ages and levels in academia and industry
  • supporting and promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion within PEMD technology training, manufacturing, or research
  • providing training or incentives for training to specific underrepresented groups of people or in specific training subjects

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that

  • are not related to PEMD skills
  • are PEMD CR&D projects
  • are dependent on export performance
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage
  • concern maintenance of Electric Vehicles
  • offer aftermarket support
  • concern servicing mechanics
10 January 2022
Competition opens
12 January 2022
Applicant briefing event: watch the recording
3 February 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
25 February 2022 9:23am
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 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.

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.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope your application will not be assessed and you will not be invited to apply for the full stage competition.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The Innovate UK challenge team will review your answers and you will receive feedback for your application.

You must answer all questions. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location

You must state the name of your organisation along with its 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 to this question can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Industry skills and landscape awareness requirements

What are the PEMD skills shortages that you have identified or will address? How will your project increase awareness of PEMD as a key technology and the opportunities that it offers?

Describe or explain:

  • the clear industry driven requirement and desire
  • the skills shortage or training needed
  • how the skills shortage has been identified
  • current interaction between industry and training resource providers
  • any direct industrial support that may be available for example: access to equipment and facilities, placements or interviews
  • the nearest current provision, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need
  • how the project will increase current training capacities or develop a new training resource
  • how the proposed training will match current and future requirements
  • how will the training resource provide an on-going commitment to the PEMD skills community
  • the development of outreach and engagement material focusing on PEMD for all ages and levels in academia and industry
  • how the project supports and promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion within PEMD technology training, manufacturing, or research

Your answer to this question can be up to 600 words long.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include Letters of Support, diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and 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. Approach

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

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the the current training provision in the UK
  • how the training will be accredited or how you will ensure industry acceptance
  • if the training will be offered on a local or national scale
  • which skills types or level will the training be targeting, for example: schools’ engagement, apprenticeships and internships, upskilling and reskilling of existing workforce, technical courses, vocational training, undergraduate, postgraduate, and continual personal development (CPD)
  • the delivery mechanism, for example: virtual, face to face, practical based in a workshop or laboratory, sandwich courses, industrial placements

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

Question 4. Team, experience and resources

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

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 interaction of the training provider and end user
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any access to existing resources, equipment, industrial facilities
  • your current position in the skills community and supply or value chains
  • any roles you will need to recruit for to ensure a successful implementation of the project and any partners you will need to find

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

Question 5. Outcomes

What will be the direct impact of the skills resource on UK PEMD talent and how will this project benefit the overall Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) challenge?

Describe or explain:

  • 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
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

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

Question 6. Project Timelines and Risks

How will you manage the project effectively and how will you manage risks appropriately?

Describe or explain:

  • a high-level overview of the project plan and milestones
  • a high-level assessment of potential risks and uncertainties of the project, including technical, commercial, and how you will mitigate these risks

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

You can submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. 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 7. Costs and value for money

What are your expected total eligible project costs? How will you ensure value for money?

Describe or explain:

  • what the total expected eligible project costs are for each partner and how much grant they are requesting
  • an outline of what the funding will be spent on, including technical approaches, main work packages, specific milestones, and project management
  • how your project costs are aligned with tasks including a description of how best value for money has been achieved, for example by comparing quotes
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project
Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

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 Innovate UK 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 Innovate UK 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 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 5 working days before the competition closing date.

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