Funding competition Automotive Transformation Fund Scale up Readiness Validation (SuRV)

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £15 million to validate readiness for scale up of net zero technologies and processes.

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Competition sections

Description

The Automotive Transformation Fund is delivered by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and partners, Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for International Trade (DIT). It supports the industrialisation at scale of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK.

APC is seeking proposals from single organisations or consortiums with R&D projects validating readiness for scale up through pilot production, with a maximum grant request of £2 million.

These projects must produce physical production samples, of a quantity and quality which supports the case for the commercial viability of scale up in the UK. It may include samples to validate technical qualification.

The resulting projects must support the UK automotive industry in:

  • increasing business confidence in making large scale manufacturing investments
  • building electrified vehicle supply chains

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

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs are uncapped, but the maximum grant you request must not exceed £2 million, or 65% of the project costs.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a total grant request of no more than £2 million, or a maximum of 65% of the project costs
  • start by 1 September 2022
  • end by 29 February 2024
  • be completed within 18 months
  • aim to drawdown 50% of the grant by 31 March 2023
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

If your total grant request or duration fall outside of the above criteria, you must contact the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) directly at atf@apcuk.co.uk at least 10 days before the competition closes to discuss this in more detail.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • be a grant recipient
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Non-UK registered businesses and research organisations are eligible to apply for funding as a lead or part of a project team if they:

  • set up an active UK registered business before they start their project
  • carry out all funded work in the UK

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

Project team

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

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

Your organisation must:

  • carry our its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

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

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

Non-UK registered companies receiving funding must set up and provide evidence of an active UK registered business before they start work on the project.

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

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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

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

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

There are no restrictions on the number of applications an eligible organisation can lead or partner on. Should you be successful, we will ask you to confirm you have the capacity to run multiple projects simultaneously.

Previous applications

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

You can make a maximum of 2 applications to Innovate UK with any given proposal. If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be counted towards this maximum.

If your application goes through to assessment and is deemed unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more, taking into account the feedback received from the assessors.


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

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) have allocated up to £15 million to fund innovation projects in this competition, with a maximum intervention rate of 65%.

You must request the minimum amount of funding needed for your project.

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.

For industrial research projects, 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 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 micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% 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.

Research participation

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

Of that 30% 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, not-for-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

APC levy

A 3% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.

Your proposal

The Automotive Transformation Fund will support the industrialisation at scale of a high value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK. More information on the Automotive Transformation Fund can be found on the APC website.

This competition is to support companies to scale up rapidly, by validating through pilot manufacturing their commercial viability and readiness to scale.

Your project must:

  • produce physical pilot production samples of a quantity and quality which validates the commercial viability of a technology or process for scale up
  • prioritise the automotive sector, but this does not exclude spill over use in other sectors
  • deliver a closeout report and ideally showcase the outputs at a trade show or be presented at a conference, prior to closure and payment of the final claim

APC will fund a portfolio of projects, across the technologies listed in the specific themes section. APC reserve the right to redirect you to another competition if more appropriate.

SuRV projects can:

  • be used to re-engineer existing processes as a route to higher volume
  • be used to validate processes to resolve supply chain issues and encourage onshoring or localisation in support of higher volume
  • be used to resolve process or product issues encountered during previous industrialisation projects (funded or otherwise)
  • support either key individual processes or steps in manufacturing or a complete end to end to process

This is not an exhaustive list.

Specific themes

Your project must prioritise the scale up in areas mentioned in the Automotive Transformation Strategy for an electrified supply chain. Your project must prioritise scale up and can focus on but not be limited to:

  • whole battery cells
  • anode, cathode, separator, electrolyte and battery input materials
  • fuel cells
  • electric drive units (EDUs)
  • hydrogen storage tanks
  • power electronics
  • material sourcing for any of the above

Sectors in scope can include on and off road, agriculture, heavy duty, mining and military, at any point in the supply chain. Larger two-wheel applications will be considered, but micromobility applications will not.

Projects must:

  • validate readiness for scale up through pilot production
  • present a clear route to scale up and securing market share
  • contribute to the UK’s net zero supply chain strategy
  • increase business confidence in making large scale manufacturing investments
  • support the building of electrified vehicle supply chains

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects or experimental development projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects which are:

  • not aligned with the aims of the Automotive Transformation Fund
  • not of sustained benefit to the automotive sector primarily
  • centred on technologies or processes which are too early stage to scale at pace
  • focussed primarily on fossil-fuelled internal combustion technology
  • focussed primarily on the use of digital or data technologies
  • centred on low carbon fuels for combustion engines
  • centred around off-vehicle charging infrastructure
  • focussed on a micromobility application
  • dependent on export performance
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage

20 April 2022
Online briefing event: watch the recording
20 April 2022
Competition opens
25 May 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
24 June 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.

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?

You and all your project partners must respond and mark this question as complete, before you can submit your application.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

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

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

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right 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. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from questions 1 and 9. You will receive feedback for each scored question.
You must answer all questions in the context of the Automotive Transformation Fund. 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 and full registered address of your organisation and any partners working on the project.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Business Opportunity

What is the business opportunity you have identified to improve and sustain the UK automotive supply chain?

Explain:

  • where you have identified that the UK automotive supply chain can be improved and how this aligns with the ATF
  • your progress made to date in addressing this opportunity
  • barriers you have identified and how a successful ATF SuRV application will help overcome them
  • your forecast performance in a future funding round or grant application and how this will improve as a result of this funding

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

Question 3. Scale and Pace

How will this ATF SuRV project impact the scale and pace of further investment to address the business opportunity?

Explain:

  • the changes you have identified as needed such as personnel, materiel or other
  • the scale of the change required
  • the timeline for this scale up and how SuRV funding accelerates this
  • any risks, actions or influences which may affect this timeline, positively or negatively

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

Question 4. Technology and Processes

Which technical areas will you address, and how do these relate to the business opportunity?

Explain:

  • your high-level plan for addressing the business opportunity, showing where the SuRV project contributes
  • the deliverables you will produce and how these will validate readiness
  • your detailed project plan for delivery of the SuRV project
  • where applicable, the expertise each consortium member brings, and why they have been selected
  • any gaps in the consortium’s capabilities and how these will be filled, such as subcontracting
  • the technology or process in detail, its maturity and readiness for scale up
  • a comparison to best in class in the UK and globally
  • the technical barriers to progression and how you will overcome them
  • how SuRV funding will accelerate this readiness
  • the background IP you are taking into the project, or the IP the project will create
  • any parallel development work you are undertaking which will contribute to your scale up readiness

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.

Question 5. Trade and Competitiveness

How will SURV funding help you access the market? How will it improve both yours and the UK’s competitiveness?

Explain:

  • the market, it’s geography and dynamics, and your go-to-market plan
  • the competitor landscape and your position both before and after the SuRV project
  • your next steps following the SuRV project
  • how the deliverables will be exploited and leveraged, and why they will make you attractive to further investment
  • evidence of interest from potential customers and investors, including evidence of technical qualification trials where appropriate
  • how the project would improve your and the UK’s competitiveness, for example in terms of Rules of Origin

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

You can also submit a second appendix with letters of intent from potential suppliers or customers 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.

Question 6. Speed and Sustainability of Benefits

Describe the benefits to your organisation and to the UK? How will you fix the timeline on which these benefits will be realised?

Explain:

  • your strategy in this area and where this opportunity sits on this
  • how SuRV funding accelerates achievement of your strategic milestones
  • how quickly the technology will scale, post SuRV project
  • how the outcomes of the SuRV project will be disseminated inside and outside of your organisation
  • when benefits will be realised and any options to accelerate this

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

Question 7. Risk

What are the main risks to your technology not achieving scale up post SURV project? How are these to be managed?

Explain:

  • the overall context internally and externally, such as a PESTLE analysis
  • risks to a successful SURV project
  • risks to attracting further investment or funding
  • your risk mitigation strategy

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. 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 8. Costs

How much will the SuRV project cost? How will you meet the requirement to spend 50% grant by 31 March 2023?

Explain:

  • the total costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • your spend profile for the project and explain how this will be achieved
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to the project
  • the balance of costs and grant across the partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project

You must submit a financial summary table and spend profile as appendices to support your answer. They must be in spreadsheet format and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Marketing and communications project lead (Not scored)

You must provide the full name and email address of a marketing and communications contact for the lead partner in your project.

Your answer can be up to 100 words long.

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

Formed in 2013 the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) accelerates the industrialisation of technologies which help to realise net zero emission vehicles. It is at the heart of the UK government’s commitment to end the country’s contribution to global warming by 2050.

Intended to support industrialisation at scale of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK, the Automotive Transformation Fund is a new programme delivered by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). Its aim is to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

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

APC will:

  • work with consortia to support bid development
  • support the competition process
  • act as advocates for consortia to improve future competitions.
  • support project delivery once contracts are awarded, through APC staff
  • act as a source of guidance for consortia during the critical project start-up phase, and while projects are running, through APC-appointed project delivery leads
  • monitor the impact of the project portfolio

Innovate UK will:

  • deliver the competition process and technical assessment framework
  • support and manage applicant queries about the competition process
  • issue and manage grant contracts
  • provide formal assurance that projects are meeting their commitments once they are running (known as project monitoring)
  • approve financial claims and issue funds

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

  • provide a way for overseas businesses to contact DIT staff in their country, via knowledgeable staff at UK embassies and consulates
  • support potential investors with sector-specific information and facts about the UK economy
  • provide support for investors looking for a UK location and data benchmarking to validate the competitive position of the UK
  • provide introductions to other government departments and partner organisations for businesses setting up in the UK for the first time or expanding their existing UK investments
  • support business wishing to export through trade missions and customer connections, supported by UK embassies and consulates
  • offer export finance support to businesses wishing to trade overseas, through DIT’s UKEF organisation
  • provide ongoing after care customer support through a dedicated relationship manager

APC can help by:

  • providing general guidance regarding interpretation of competition rules and guidelines on an informal basis
  • helping your consortium to structure the bid development process
  • explaining common pitfalls
  • answering questions about whether or not your project is within scope

In securing funding from this programme, each participant receiving a grant will pay an industrial contribution to the APC operating budget. This is set at 3% and is payable on each grant claim made.

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

Note that the APC role is to provide indicative guidance rather than formal advice. To contact APC email info@apcuk.co.uk or call +44 (0)24 7652 8700.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and APC (each an ‘agency’).

Your submitted application and any other information you provide at the application stage can be submitted to each agency on an individual basis for its storage, processing and use. Any relevant information produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to APC and vice versa.

Innovate UK is directly accountable to you for its holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. It is held in accordance with its Information Management Policy.

Innovate UK and APC are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, and APC will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

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 support@iuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, 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