Funding competition Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest: Round 28

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for capital centric investment projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK.

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Competition sections

Description

The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is an Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) programme that aims to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

It offers a share of up to £1 billion of funding for capital and associated industrial research projects. This will be to support the industrialisation of a high value, electrified automotive supply at scale in the UK.

This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition, which is the first stage in a two stage process. Your EoI application outlines your proposal and potential benefits to the UK. If your application is successful, you will be invited to progress to a full application for the ATF competition.

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 project’s total costs and project duration must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund.

Who can apply

Your project

Your total project costs and project duration must be strongly aligned to the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF). To be eligible your project must request a minimum of £1 million in grant against your total eligible project costs.

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

If your project’s total costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to ATF@apcuk.co.uk 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 has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • address the requirements of the Automotive Transformation Fund

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Non-UK businesses can apply to this expression of interest (EoI) competition in reference to activities they are considering undertaking in the UK. The business must be registered in the UK before any funding can be awarded.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK registered:

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

Non-UK businesses can be invited to partner in this expression of interest (EoI) competition in reference to activities they are considering undertaking in the UK. The business must be registered in the UK before any funding can be awarded.

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 you are a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must request funding when entering their costs during the application.

If you are working in a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must claim any funding awarded through the BEIS Central Grants & Loans Team.

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

There are no restrictions on the number of applications a business can lead or collaborate on in this EoI stage of the competition.

If not leading there are no restrictions on the number of applications an organisation can collaborate on.

Previous applications

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

You can make a maximum of 2 submissions 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.

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 always 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.

Funding

Up to £1 billion has been allocated to fund capital focused projects in this competition.

No funding is awarded at this EoI stage. Successful applicants from this EoI stage will be invited to a second full stage ATF competition. Funding for the full stage will be in the form of a grant.

Capital investment projects

Capital investment projects will be managed through the BEIS Central Grants & Loans Team. For capital investment projects the grant available is dependent on the proposed project and will be determined during the second stage of the application process.

The grant requested should be the minimum required to ensure sustainability of the investment. Funding levels for associated R&D costs are dependent on the size of your organisation. Further information on the process will be provided at the full stage.

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

Research organisation participation is allowed where research is integral to your capital centric project.

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 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. Any application to the full stage competition will be subject to a separate assessment, with no guarantee of funding support.

Your project must support the industrialisation at scale of an electrified automotive supply chain. It must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).

You should be looking to transform the automotive industry through significant business or production expansion. We expect your project to be centred around a product, process or technology that you have already demonstrated and have confirmed as technically and economically feasible.

Your application can be for:

  • capital investment only
  • capital and associated R&D activity

Your proposal 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 focus on one or more of the following:

  • batteries including cells (gigafactories)
  • electric motors and drives
  • power electronics
  • fuel cells
  • upstream supply chain for, batteries including cells, electric motors and drives, power electronics or fuel cells

Your project must:

  • fit with the overall strategy of the ATF
  • offer value for money for the UK
  • have an ongoing benefit to the UK from the exploitation of your project
  • include deliverables such as time, cost and quality (including risks)

Only projects which score well against these criteria will receive funding from the ATF.

The ATF will prioritise support to projects that:

  • can act as anchors to their respective supply chains
  • are likely to lead to further investments while creating a sustainable and competitive supply chain for the future

The Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) will fund a portfolio of projects, across the technologies listed in the specific themes section. This portfolio and the technologies within are designed to be complimentary to the overall aim of the ATF. There may be occasions where a lower scoring project is supported, superseding a higher scoring application.

The APC can help you check whether your project fits the Automotive Transformation Fund. Contact the APC team at ATF@apcuk.co.uk to find out more.

Specific themes

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

Batteries including cells (’gigafactories’)

  • cathode materials and manufacturing
  • anode materials and manufacturing
  • electrolyte
  • cell assembly components (including separators)

Electric motors and drives

  • magnet materials and manufacturing
  • electrical steel materials and manufacturing
  • electrical machine assembly
  • drive line components
  • assembly and test into complete drive unit

Power electronics

  • wide band gap semi-conductors
  • sensors
  • passives
  • power electronics assembly

Fuel cells

  • Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA)
  • fuel cell stack assembly
  • storage tanks

Upstream Supply Chain including:

  • raw materials
  • component manufacturing
  • sub-assembly manufacturing

The Automotive Transformation Fund provides detailed information on the specific themes of this competition.

Research categories

In the full stage competition, the Automotive Transformation Fund will fund:

  • capital investment through the BEIS Central Grants & Loans Team
  • associated industrial research as defined in the guidance on categories of research and ‘Aid for research and development projects’

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • do not transform the automotive industry through significant business or production expansion
  • are not centred around a product, process or technology that you have already demonstrated
  • are not confirmed as technically and economically feasible
  • have a primary focus on recycling
  • focus on assembly or components related to battery packs or battery modules, other than those listed in the specific themes section
  • focus on cell testing, module testing or battery pack testing
  • focus on fuel cell components other than those listed in the specific themes section
  • focus on sub assembly manufacturing of air handling systems or balance of plant for fuel cells

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage

We are not funding capital investment that:

  • is related to charging infrastructure
  • includes investment in final electric vehicle assembly at original equipment manufacturers (OEM)
  • supports retail and wholesale fuel supply
  • focuses primarily on use of digital or data technologies such as simulation
  • supports speculative site enabling projects

We are not funding associated R&D activity for:

  • software development
  • product or process development which is at prototype or early proof of concept stage
  • low-carbon fuels development

We are not funding projects that are only R&D.
21 November 2022
Competition opens
14 December 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
20 January 2023
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete
  • if collaborative, that all partners have completed all assigned sections and accepted the terms and conditions (T&Cs)

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.

Accessibility and inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us. Read more on how we are making our application process more accessible and inclusive for everyone.

You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.

You can contact us by emailing support@iuk.ukri.org or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

1. Project details

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on your project and invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on your project and invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Application type

What are you seeking funding for? Type one of the following:

  • a capital investment project
  • a mixed capital and research and development (R&D) investment project

Project summary

This section is mandatory, and it is a vital part of the application, setting the scene and providing assessors with a clear overview and feeding into the strategic scoring process.

Provide a summary of the objectives, in layman’s terms, and the output of the proposed project, covering the following elements:

  • output or results of the project specifically manufacturing capacity volumes and jobs created and safeguarded
  • amount of grant support requested
  • total anticipated budget
  • potential investment location if known
  • anticipated route to market
  • market opportunity being addressed

Your answer can be up to 300 words long.

2. Application questions

ATF assessors will score your application to determine if it aligns with the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund.

After your application has been assessed, a separate strategic score is given to your application by an ATF moderation panel. The assessors will score your answers for questions 2 to 8.

You will be notified if your application is successful or unsuccessful through your IFS dashboard and by email. You will not receive feedback through the Innovation Funding Service.

APC may choose to contact you directly to explain how you have met or have not met this criterion.

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 and any partners or subcontractors working on the project.

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

Question 2. Automotive Transformation Fund

How does your project align with the Automotive Transformation Fund?

Demonstrate how your project aligns to the competition objectives, associated focus areas and overall aims of the Automotive Transformation Fund, providing up to date evidence.

Describe:

  • which area of the Automotive Transformation Fund your project will help deliver
  • your current role in the UK supply chain and how this project will change that
  • how your project will help delivery scale up in the UK

You can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. 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 3. Exploitation and dissemination

How will you exploit and disseminate your project results? What economic, social, and environmental benefits do you expect your project to deliver, and by when?

Include expected project outputs for:

  • products
  • manufacturing capacity
  • number of jobs created and safeguarded
  • impact on the UK supply chain
  • training and skill development
  • spill-over into wider automotive industry and other sectors

Describe the expected environmental benefits as a result of this project.

Include an initial exploitation plan in the appendix.

You must submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. 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 4. Technical approach and management

What technical approach will you use and how will you manage your project?

Explain:

  • the technical approach, including the main objectives of the work
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • how and why the approach is appropriate
  • how you will make sure the innovative steps in the project are achievable
  • how you will measure your success
  • the areas of work and your objectives

You can submit a work breakdown structure (including the cost of each work package). It must be a PDF, as one A4 page and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe:

  • the target markets for the project outcomes, any other potential markets (domestic, international or both)
  • 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
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

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. Skills, experience, and facilities

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

Demonstrate that the likely project team:

  • has the right mix of skills and experience to complete the project
  • has a track record in managing capital and research and development projects
  • has clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

If appropriate include access to facilities to enable the successful delivery of the project.

If you are part of a consortium, describe the benefits of the collaboration. What does being part of a consortium offer the project?

Question 7. Adding value

How does financial support from the Automotive Transformation Fund add value to the UK? What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you need this funding?

Explain what other sources of funding have been considered, including private investment, and why it is not available.

2. What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Describe and provide evidence for what will occur if the application for funding is not successful.

Question 8. Finances

Provide us with estimates of the project’s eligible costs, including any partner’s costs and the grant funding you are seeking. If your proposal includes R&D and capital investment, please separate these costs out.

Type ‘table attached’ as your answer and give your estimates in a table as an attached appendix. Give details of the total eligible costs and total funding requested for this project.

With a capital only grant request, provide a breakdown of costs associated with build, fit out, equipment and other costs.

If R&D costs are also included, provide an additional breakdown of costs associated with labour, materials, subcontractors, capital depreciation and training.

Give your table the following headings:

  • company name
  • country where work is being carried out
  • eligible costs (£)
  • funding sought (£)

Where there is more than one organisation involved, please ensure a similar table is completed for each partner. The funding sought by a partner can be zero.

You must submit a summary of your estimated costs as a table. It must be submitted as a single PDF or spreadsheet, no larger than 10MB in size with one A4 page for each partner. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Background and further information

Intended to support industrialisation at scale of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK, the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is a programme funded by the UK government. Its aim is to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

Formed in 2013, the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) accelerates the industrialisation of technologies which help to realise zero emission vehicles. It is at the heart of the UK Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The APC was appointed as the main Automotive Transformation Fund delivery organisation.

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).

The ATF will be administered utilising a portfolio approach over the life of the fund. They may also choose to prioritise projects in specific themes where the projects are deemed of strategic importance to the aims of the ATF.

The BEIS Central Grants and Loans Team will deliver the second stage of the competition process, assessment framework and contracting. The value for money that the proposed project will deliver to the UK economy will be assessed by BEIS.

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

  • provide reasons why an overseas business should invest in the UK
  • assist with sector-specific information about the UK economy
  • provide a way for overseas businesses to contact DIT staff in their country

APC can help by:

  • co-ordinating your application through all the necessary steps
  • providing general guidance regarding interpretation of competition rules and guidelines on an informal basis
  • helping your consortium to structure the bid development process
  • answering questions regarding 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% of the element of the grant that is categorised as &D, as determined during the full application with the BEIS Central Grants and Loans Team.

Your application may be re-directed to other more suitable funding opportunities. You will be notified if this is the case.

Data sharing

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

Any relevant information submitted and 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. This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

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’s Privacy Policy is accessible here.

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.

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

Get help with your application

The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s role is to provide guidance rather than formal advice. If you would like to discuss whether your project is eligible, contact APC directly by e-mail: ATF@apcuk.co.uk

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).


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