Funding competition Faraday Battery Challenge Round 5 Innovation: Feasibility Studies

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £25 million across two strands, for innovation in propulsion battery technologies for electric vehicles.

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Competition sections

Description

Text Added 29/6/2022: regarding independent assessors

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £25 million in innovation projects across the two strands of this competition. This funding is from the Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC).

The aim of this competition is to:

  • support business-led research and development of sustainable propulsion batteries
  • support technologies with the potential to enter the automotive market within the next 15 years and, where appropriate, allow for early or synergistic entry into other sectors
  • move UK battery innovations from technological potential towards commercial capability
  • develop and secure material and manufacturing supply chains for battery technologies in the UK

This competition is split into 2 strands:

Feasibility studies:

  • will draw on the most exciting, high potential impact, early-stage research where a feasibility study of less than 12 months, can catalyse the route to commercialisation
  • will support short term focused projects which could open avenues for overcoming big challenges in manufacturing or other critical processes for advancing the technology

Your proposal must clearly show how this feasibility study has the potential to accelerate the development of technologies or business practices which could significantly advance the performance characteristics of batteries for electric vehicles.​

At the written assessment stage your application will be assessed by 5 independent expert assessors.

If you are successful at the written assessment stage, your application will then be reviewed by an expert in:

  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • environmental sustainability

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are entering the appropriate strand of the competition for your project.

You will not be able to transfer your application to the other strand, it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.

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

Your total project costs must be between £100,000 and £750,000.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £100,000 to £750,000
  • start by 1 January 2023
  • end by 31 December 2023
  • last up to 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • have all correct required permits and licences in place by 1 January 2023

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

Academic institutions, RTOs, charities, not for profit or public sector organisations 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)

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.

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, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total 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

A UK registered business, can lead and be included as a collaborator on any number of applications.

An academic institution, RTO, charity, not for profit or public sector 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 at all times make sure 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.

Eligibility overview

Here is a diagram showing a summary of eligibility.
This is a new way of showing you eligibility. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Funding

Up to £25 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition across both strands:

Up to £2 million has been allocated for this feasibility studies strand.

We reserve the right to take a portfolio approach for funding across the two strands.

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.

For feasibility studies, 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.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% 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 50% 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 project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC) aims to:

  • ensure the UK automotive sector meets its net zero commitments in the required timescale, by enabling the development and scale-up of sustainable battery technologies
  • ensure the UK prospers from a just and fair transition to electrification, by taking action to develop a world class intellectual and physical supply chain for batteries in the UK

The aims of this competition are to:

  • support business-led research and development of sustainable propulsion batteries
  • support technologies with the potential to enter the automotive market within the next 15 years and, where appropriate, allow for early or cooperative entry into other sectors
  • move UK battery innovations from technological potential towards commercial capability
  • develop and secure material and manufacturing supply chains for battery technologies in the UK

Technoeconomic research carried out in collaboration with the FBC, indicates that batteries for transport electrification can generally be classified into the following cross sector cell level performance clusters:

  • power focused, weight sensitive
  • power focused, cost sensitive
  • energy focused, cost sensitive
  • energy focused, weight and power sensitive

Projects must balance specific technical, market and business requirements for developing and emerging technologies and enable UK competitiveness across the battery value chain.

We are particularly interested in projects that are focused on the following:

  • high power and high energy density, where safety can enable high performance applications
  • low cost and lower energy density technologies with lower reliance on critical minerals such as Cobalt and Nickel
  • technologies enabling high cycle life
  • technologies developing sustainable batteries, for example, which improve resource efficiency, reduce energy intensity of processes or increase recyclability
  • building and securing the UK supply chain
  • development of more efficient and globally competitive manufacturing processes

Your project can achieve these through a combination of innovations in process improvement, cell chemistry, cell-to-pack efficiency and novel design concepts. We expect successful projects to increase productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK businesses.

We want to fund a variety of projects across the propulsion battery value chain and different technologies. We will apply a portfolio approach across the two strands of the competition.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on:

  • extraction and processing of raw materials
  • development and manufacture of cell materials and components
  • design and manufacture of novel cell, module and pack concepts
  • end of life and recycling technologies
  • development of the UK battery supply chain
  • enabling physical and digital technologies which support the design, development, optimisation and deployment of propulsion batteries

Where project activities require:

  • an Environmental Permit (England and Wales)
  • Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland and Northern Ireland) Permit
  • a Waste Management Licence (Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • you to comply with the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations (UK)

Projects must provide proof of compliance to the satisfaction of Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation to enable an application to be successful.

This may include (but is not restricted to):

  • a valid permit
  • a valid licence
  • an approved battery treatment operator (ABTO) status details
  • an agreed regulatory position statement or definition of waste opinion by either the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency or Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Further information can be found here:

Check if you need an environmental permit - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Environmental management : Environmental permits - detailed information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Get an opinion from the definition of waste service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Research categories

We will fund feasibility studies, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that are:

  • fundamental research projects or projects which are academic intensive
  • business as usual
  • non-collaborative
  • aiming to secure funding for capital equipment as a primary focus
  • not giving due consideration to the cost, market and business requirements of the technology
  • not demonstrating a viable route to entry into the automotive market within an approximate 15 year timeframe
  • focusing on physical integration of battery technologies into vehicles
  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

23 May 2022
Competition opens
24 May 2022
Virtual briefing event: register to attend
17 August 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
14 October 2022
Applicant notified
14 October 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

Text update 10/6/2022: we have changed Question 1 by adding Subcontractors to the text to make it clearer.

The assessors will score all your answers apart from question 1. Questions 8 and 9 will be assessed and scored outside of the Innovation Funding Service. 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 and full registered address of your organisation, any partners and subcontractors working on your project. We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Need or challenge

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

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

Explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge and market opportunity
  • how the project will contribute to the development of or help to secure supply chains or manufacturing in the UK
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those close to market or in development (both within and outside the UK), and its limitations
  • the work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability, building a new one or technology transfer to a new sector
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural, regulatory or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Question 3. Approach and innovation

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

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

Explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how will you improve on the nearest current state of the art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • the technological and manufacturing maturity at the start and end of the project
  • how you will move your innovation from technological potential towards commercial capability
  • the expected advancements in the performance metrics of the battery technology
  • how the battery technology will meet the performance requirements of the intended applications
  • the route to scale your technology within and beyond the project
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make your consortium and the UK more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project, for example, report, demonstrator, know how, new process, product or service design, and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified
Where project activities require:
  • an Environmental Permit (England and Wales)
  • Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland and Northern Ireland) Permit
  • a Waste Management Licence (Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • you to comply with the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations (UK)
Projects must, where necessary, provide proof of compliance to the satisfaction of Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation to enable an application to be successful.
This may include (but is not restricted to):
  • a valid permit
  • a valid licence
  • an approved battery treatment operator (ABTO) status details
  • an agreed regulatory position statement or definition of waste opinion by either the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency or Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • evidence of an ongoing application

You must 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.

You can also submit one further appendix with evidence of your compliance where required. It must be a PDF no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom

Question 4. Team and resources

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

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

Explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including 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 and how you plan to mitigate against any delays in recruitment

You can submit one appendix. 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.

Question 5. Market awareness

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

What does the market you are targeting look like? How will you enter or establish your consortium within the automotive market? We understand the global strategic case for electric vehicles and batteries, so this answer must focus on the route to entry into the automotive market.

Describe:

  • any early or cooperative markets (domestic, international or both) on the route to the automotive market for the project outcomes, any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:
  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 6. Outcomes and route to market

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

How are you going to enter into the automotive market, grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project? What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Explain:

  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why they would use or buy your product
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project
  • your route to entry into the automotive market (if not already established within the market)
  • how entry into the automotive market might be achieved within an approximate 15 year timeframe, for early stage feasibility studies the route to market may not be certain
If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:
  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 7. Wider Impacts

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

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 regional impacts of the project
Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:
  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations

Question 8. Environmental sustainability

This question will be 5% of your overall score.

What impact on climate change and environmental sustainability could your idea have?

Describe:

  • any climate change or environmental sustainability impacts your project might have, and include any evidence or justification (for example high-level life-cycle analysis figures), even if there are no impacts
  • what the trade-offs are with respect to environmental sustainability and climate change
  • how you intend to accelerate or minimise the relevant climate change or environmental sustainability impacts you’ve identified
  • how your innovation can positively contribute towards a clean environment and sustainable growth within the UK (if at all)
  • your sustainability specific plans, if appropriate
  • if appropriate, who will be responsible for measuring the sustainability outcomes and impact, what they will measure and how it will be reported

Question 9. Equality, diversity and inclusion

This question will be 5% of your overall score.

How are you ensuring that your organisation and idea contribute towards equality, diversity and inclusion best practise?

Describe:

  • any equality, diversity or inclusion challenges related to your idea, if appropriate
  • how you will consider equality, diversity and inclusion in the development of your innovation (for example unintended exclusion of minority groups, recognising bias)
  • any policies or approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion your organisation might have, you can include these as an appendix
  • how you will promote equality, diversity and inclusion for any roles you are recruiting for in this project
  • how the project might contribute to social inclusion or exclusion

You can submit one 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 10. Project management

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

How will you manage your project effectively?

Explain:

  • the main work packages of your 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 management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones, taking into account the possible impact of further COVID-19 restrictions

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 11. Risks

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

What are the main risks for this project?

Explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and 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 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 12. Added value

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation? What impact would this award have on the organisations involved?

Explain:

  • what advantages would public funding offer your project, for example, appeal to investors, more partners, reduced risk or a faster route to market (this list is not exhaustive)
  • the likely impact of the project outcomes on the organisations involved
  • what other routes of investment have you already approached
  • what your project would look like without public funding
  • how this project would change the R&D activities of all the organisations involved

Question 13. Costs and value for money

This question will be 9% of your overall score.

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

In terms of your project goals, explain:

  • your total project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to your 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 your project

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

Environmental sustainability

The definition of ‘environmental sustainability’ is standardised by the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment & Development. The statement is "acting in a way that ensures future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life as current generations."

Topics include:

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​climate change
  • nature loss
  • fresh water availability
  • water pollution
  • air pollution
  • solid waste
  • resource availability

Data sharing

Text updated 29/6/2022 for clearer illustration.

This competition is operated by Innovate UK, working with Wardell Armstrong (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 Wardell Armstrong and vice versa.

Innovate UK and Wardell Armstrong 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 Wardell Armstrong will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application. 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 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