Funding competition Energy Catalyst Round 10: Early Stage

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million in total across the 3 stages, to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.

This competition is now closed.

Start new application

Competition sections


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to invest up to £10 million in innovation projects. This funding is part of the Ayrton Fund.

The aim of this competition is to accelerate the innovations needed to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or Indo-Pacific regions. Creating a just and inclusive energy transition, and extending the benefits of clean energy to all to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) 7 and 13.

Your proposal must focus on:

  • improving energy access in Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions
  • having a technology or business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon

This competition is split into 3 strands:

It is your responsibility to ensure you submit your application to the correct strand for your project. You will not be able to transfer your application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.

Innovate UK runs many different competitions, and each will have different eligibility and scope requirements. The guidance in this competition brief will always supersede any other guidance. If you are unsure or have any questions, please contact our Customer Support Service who will assist you further.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at noon 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £50,000 and £300,000.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £50,000 and £300,000
  • start on or after 1 April 2024
  • end by 31 March 2027
  • last between 3 months and 12 months
  • help deliver clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or the Indo-Pacific
  • include a UK registered administrative lead
  • if you are an international organisation, partner with a UK administrative lead
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), from anywhere in the world

Your project can also involve any organisation from any country.

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 and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

If your project’s total costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to 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

There are two types of leads in energy catalyst programme, an administrative lead, who will complete the application and a technology lead.

An administrative lead is there to act as the recipient of the award and will distribute funding to all other partners. This is known as a ‘hub and spoke’ model. The administrative lead will manage and be accountable for the finances of the project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award.

The administrative lead must:

  • be a UK registered organisation
  • claim grant funding through this competition

The administrative lead organisation must be or involve at least one eligible grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME),

A technology lead will lead on the development of the scope, work packages and any other technical work.

The technology lead:

  • can be a business of any size
  • can be from anywhere in the world
  • must claim grant funding through this competition
  • can be an RTO or academic institution

UK registered organisations can be both the administrative and technology lead if the criteria is met for both types of leads.

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

Project team

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

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • non-government organisation (NGO)
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the administrative 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.

International Partners

We strongly encourage the inclusion of international partners (business or other), where relevant to the project.

Non-funded partners

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


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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

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

Number of Applications

All eligible organisations can lead or 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:

failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 ( Additional information can be found about the rules governed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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 Subsidy Control Act 2022, World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules 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.


Up to £10 million has been allocated in total across the 3 stages to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The total funding available for this competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the funding allocations between the three competition stages
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

If 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 but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

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.

Official development assistance budget

This funding is part of the UK government’s official development assistance budget (ODA). You must be able to demonstrate that there is a clear economic and social benefit to one or more of the targeted countries. This includes a need to outline how your project and innovation will positively impact Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI).

If projects are judged to be non-compliant with ODA, Innovate UK will not submit the application for assessment.

Capital expenditure

If you plan to leave capital equipment in the ODA eligible country you can, in principle, fully depreciate the costs.

Assets can be transferred but before Innovate UK can agree to this, you must provide evidence that:

  • the asset will be put to a good developmental purpose
  • the recipient has adequate resources to maintain and operate the asset, including purchase of any consumables
  • the item will not be sold or disposed of, or diverted for another purpose, within a reasonable time period
  • the recipient has adequate controls in place to ensure that the assets are used as intended
  • any local requirements, regarding duties and taxes, or any other formalities, on transfer will be met
  • IT Equipment is disposed of in line with EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations and all personal data will be removed

This evidence should take the form of an end-of-life plan. If you are successful in being awarded funding, our project finance team will ask for this evidence to sign off your finances as part of project set up.

Expenditure on capital is eligible for funding. All materials must be directly related to and essential to the goals of the project.

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:

Energy Catalyst Accelerator Programme (ECAP): Minimal Financial Assistance

The technology leads of successful Energy Catalyst applications will be enrolled in the Energy Catalyst Accelerator. One to one support for this programme will be provided through minimal financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a 3-year rolling financial period.

You will be contacted if you are successful and will be provided instruction on how to obtain this support.

Before receiving the support, you will be asked to declare previous funding received by you. To establish your eligibility, we need to check that our support added to the amount you have previously received does not exceed the limit of £315,000 in the ‘applicable period’.

The applicable period is made up of:

(a) the elapsed part of the current financial year, and

(b) the two financial years immediately preceding the current financial year.

You must include any funding which you have received during the applicable period under:

You do not need to include aid or subsidies which have been granted on a different basis (such as an aid award granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation).

Further information about the UK subsidy control requirements can be found in:

EU Commission rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to accelerate the innovations needed to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region. Creating a just and inclusive energy transition and extending the benefits of clean energy to all to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) 7 and 13.

To be in scope for Energy Catalyst round 10 your project must address both energy access and clean energy.

  1. Energy access

Your project must aim to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households, enterprises and social institutions in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan -Africa, the Indo-Pacific region, or South Asia. It must do this by supporting the development, testing or scale up of innovative technologies or business models.

A clear social or economic benefit in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific Region is required.

This can include:

  • creating new energy access in unserved regions
  • improving existing access to provide a more reliable service

Your project must target one or more of the following eligible countries:

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Ethiopia
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe (may be ineligible from 13 December 2024)
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

South Asia:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • India (only as part of multi country projects)
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

Indo-Pacific (ODA eligible ASEAN):

  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste (not officially part of ASEAN)
  • Vietnam

Indo-Pacific (Pacific Islands):

  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall islands
  • Papua New Guinea (PNG)
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands (may be ineligible from 13 December 2024)
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

While projects can focus on any ODA eligible country, we are particularly keen to receive projects which focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

2. Clean Energy

Your technology or business model must create clean energy which is:

  • Affordable
  • Reliable
  • Low carbon

While any technology which meets the above criteria is in scope, priority will be given to the following Ayrton Challenge priority areas:

  • next generation solar technologies and business models: enabling new, locally manufacturable, cost effective alternatives
  • smart green grids: including mini and main grid related technologies
  • energy storage: enabling higher intermittent renewable energy penetrations on the grid, and improving access in areas unserved, or poorly served, by the grid
  • green hydrogen: developing relevant technologies and value chains to bring forward zero carbon hydrogen fuels
  • modern cooking: unlocking the transition from biomass to genuinely clean cooking, delivering major health and environmental benefits
  • low energy inclusive appliances: improving the efficiency, performance, availability, and affordability of end use domestic and productive appliances adapted to developing country needs
  • leave no one behind, specifically technologies and business models: ensuring the benefits of the clean energy revolution reach the poorest and most marginalised, including women, those with disabilities, people in humanitarian contexts, and those accessing healthcare in unelectrified clinics
  • sustainable cooling: to help meet growing global cooling demand in a warming world, in a sustainable way

Innovate UK and The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), have allocated funding for projects specifically aimed at replacing diesel and petrol generators with sustainable alternatives, ideally integrating several of the technologies above.

Over 50% of your project must focus on energy access and energy innovation to be in scope. This is determined from your project costing and work packages.

If your project falls out of scope, you must provide justification by email to 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.

Portfolio approach
We want to fund a variety of projects across the three stages of the competition, different technologies, markets, technological maturities, geographical regions and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.

This is to make sure that the strategic criteria for the competition brief is met by successful projects considered to be above the quality threshold. This will be as a result of independent expert assessment.

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • innovations unlikely to contribute significantly to energy affordability, security and reduced carbon emissions
  • innovations that do not improve energy access in either sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region
  • projects that do not address clean energy requirements
  • projects which are not Official Development Assistance (ODA) compliant
  • projects that do not take into account and plan to manage Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) issues
  • projects where energy innovation and energy access are not the primary focus (if more than 50% project is focussed on other innovations)

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • 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
21 February 2023
London in person briefing event: register to attend
27 February 2023
Competition opens
28 February 2023
Edinburgh in person briefing event: register to attend
29 June 2023 12:00pm
Competition closes
22 September 2023 3:39pm
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

The UK administrative lead is responsible for:

  • starting the application on the Innovation Funding Service (IFS)
  • collecting the information for the application
  • submitting the finished application
  • representing the consortium if your application is successful
  • distributing funding if there are international partners as part of the consortium

Before submitting, it is the UK administrative lead’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
  • 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 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

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 or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). This service is only available in English.

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.

Application details

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

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

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.


Describe how your project fits the scope of improving energy access which is affordable, reliable and low carbon.

You do not need to include information of ODA compliance as this will be assessed in Gateway Questions and in the application questions.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from questions 1 to 8. You will receive feedback for each scored question. The guidance we provide to assessors is available on the energy catalyst website.

Questions 1 to 8, although not scored, provide background for the assessors to make sure your project is eligible and complies with Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the competition scope. These questions will be scored on a pass or fail basis.

If your project does not pass all these criteria, it will not be sent for a full assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

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

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any partners or subcontractors working on your project.

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

Your answer can be up to 200 words long

Question 2. Previous Energy Catalyst Project (not scored)

If your project is a direct follow on from a previously funded energy catalyst project, you must provide the Innovate UK project number.

If your project has not been previously funded, you must enter ‘None’ as your answer to this question.

Your answer can be up to 50 words long.

Question 3. Technology lead (not scored)

You must state the person and their organisation that will act as the technology lead for the project.

A technology lead will lead on the development of the scope, work packages within the project and other work from a technical perspective. They can be from anywhere in the world. If they are registered in the UK, they can be the same organisation as the administrative lead.

Your answer can be up to 50 words long.

Question 4. Target Country (eligibility criteria - not scored)

Which ODA eligible country is the main target of your project?

Your answer can be up to 10 words long.

Question 5. Technology area (eligibility criteria - not scored)

Confirm which primary technology area your project falls into:

  • next generation solar technologies and business models
  • smart green grids, including mini and main grid related technologies
  • energy storage, including batteries and mechanical storage
  • green hydrogen
  • modern cooking
  • low energy inclusive appliances
  • leave no one behind, specifically technologies and business models
  • sustainable cooling
  • diesel and petrol generator replacements
  • other in scope technologies

Question 6. Licenses and permits (eligibility criteria - not scored)

Will you have the correct licences and permits in place to carry out all of your project activities?

We are unable to fund projects which do not have the correct licences or permits in place.

You must select one:

  • yes
  • no
  • in process of being applied for
  • not applicable

Question 7. In country entity (eligibility criteria - not scored)

You can involve partners with a legal entity in one of the focus countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or Indo-Pacific region. This could include in-country offices.

State which one of your partners is the in-country entity and confirm their eligible office.

If not required, enter 'None'.

Your answer can be up to 50 words long.

Question 8. Official Development Assistance (ODA) (eligibility criteria - not scored)

To be eligible for Energy Catalyst grant funding, you must clearly explain and give evidence for why and how your project is in scope for Official Development Assistance (ODA).


  • how your project will promote the social welfare and economic development of an eligible country for this competition, by addressing a development need in that country.
  • the benefits to project partners and to those people outside the consortium (in the developing country, particularly people in poverty and underserved groups,) making a clear distinction between the two.

You must:

  • be clear about what stakeholder groups in the developing country you expect to benefit from this project, avoid making generic statements.
  • explain how the project will, or has the potential to, deliver outcomes and impact in terms of energy access to poor households, businesses and services in an eligible country, and over what timescale
  • give sufficient detail and data on how your project outputs are likely to create socio-economic impacts, whether they are positive or negative

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

You must download, complete and upload the ODA template as an appendix to support your answer. It can include an explanation of your rationale of the expected outputs and impacts and must include a basic logic model. It must be a PDF and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)

How will your project and innovation help enable gender equality and social inclusion? To score highly in this question, both gender equality and social inclusion will need to be addressed. A minimum pass criterion has been set for this question.

Please outline:

  • the disadvantaged groups your project and innovation will support and how they will be engaged
  • the barriers to gender equality and social inclusion in your chosen regions
  • what actions will be taken through your project to address the identified barriers
  • how your energy innovation will enable greater gender equality and social inclusion
  • any potentially negative impacts your project could have and how you will mitigate against these

Your answer is a mandatory requirement under the International Development (Gender Equality) Act, 2014. You can read further guidance on UKRI’s approach to the Gender Equality Act.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 10. Need or challenge

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


  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • whether you have identified any similar innovation and its current limitations, including those close to market or in development
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 11. Approach and innovation

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


  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how will you improve on any similar innovation that you have 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
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you 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

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 12. Team and resources

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


  • 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, particularly in the light of any continuing COVID-19 restrictions
  • the resources allocated for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) activities
  • 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, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 13. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?


  • 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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 14. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project?


  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics
  • 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

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 15. Wider impacts

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

Describe and, where possible, measure:

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

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

  • lives impacted
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety regulations
  • joint ventures
  • CO2 avoidance

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 16. Project management

How will you manage your project effectively?


  • 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

It is expected that your GESI activities are interwoven throughout your project. If you chose to separate GESI activities into a separate work package an explanation needs to be provided.

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 17. Project Legacy

What will the effect of the project be on energy access in the target country beyond the lifetime of the project?

You are expected to consider how you will contribute to improving wider energy access in the target country, outside of technology development.

Describe, where applicable the:

  • continued benefit to the target country in relation to the wider energy access agenda and delivery of SDG 7 and 13
  • connections and networks made through the project and consortium
  • skills development and training in country

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 18. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?


  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

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 19. Added value

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?


  • 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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 20. Costs and value for money

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

Your answer can be up to 400 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 Energy Catalyst projects costs guidance.

Background and further information

Up to £10 million will be invested by the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) as part of the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Programme. This is part of the UK’s Ayrton Fund commitment.

The Energy Catalyst’s mission is to accelerate the innovation needed to end energy poverty. By providing financial and advisory support to innovators we help create strategic partnerships, uncover insights and develop business models to improve lives in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.


Your project manager, and others as may be agreed from time to time, will meet with your Monitoring Service Provider (MSP) once a calendar quarter (or agreed period) to review your written report for the period since the last monitoring meeting. You should deliver this report to your MSP no later than 14 days before the scheduled monitoring meeting. Overseas partners are required to dial into these meetings every quarter.

Additional reporting is required to comply with the FCDO’s request surrounding key performance indicators (KPIs) and data capture for impact analysis. Your MSP will discuss the extra requirements at your initial meeting and a plan will be put in place to capture this information quarterly.

The project will also be required to complete a survey 1 to 2 times a year to support annual reporting. Quarterly claims are not approved until reporting is completed to a satisfactory level.

Your obligations: Energy Catalyst Accelerator

All successful projects will be enrolled onto Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Accelerator. The technical lead on each project, and where relevant their project partners, will need to engage with this accelerator. Accelerator support aims to improve the likelihood of successfully commercialising these innovative solutions for clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The Energy Catalyst Accelerator one to one support for this programme will be provided through MFA. Companies in receipt of this support will be required to provide a MFA declaration before receiving this support.

Payment of grant

If a project has an international partner then all partners will receive their grants through a hub and spoke model. This means grant payments to partners are paid through the lead organisation.

Business support is offered to projects where available through the Energy Catalyst Accelerator and will be fulfilled under MFA. Projects can opt out if they have already reached their MFA limit.

Financial support for the project forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment. This is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Extra help

To support the requirement of collaborative applications and the understanding of energy access in a variety of countries, Innovate UK is hosting an Energy Catalyst b2Match platform. This platform is free to access. Registration is available now, with country specific webinars and one to one brokerage sessions available. Full details are provided on the platform.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Innovate UK KTN.

Advice is also available on how to approach Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in your project. Please contact Dr Jiska de Groot or Dr Charlotte Ray from Gordian Development Services at

Gordian development services (GDS) is a support company for the energy and climate sectors, who are supporting Innovate UK by providing GESI support to applicants to Energy Catalyst Round 10.

GDS supports a range of stakeholders, including private-sector, government, non-profit sectors and communities in designing and implementing Gender and Socially Inclusive projects and programmes.

GESI experts Dr Jiska de Groot and Dr Charlotte Ray will be available during the application period for targeted GESI support with regard to your application. This can include, strategic discussions on how to increase GESI within your early, middle and late-stage applications. It can also include sense-checking your current approach to GESI, reviewing your draft application for GESI impacts, as well as providing insights into how GESI can be mainstreamed during the implementation phase.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (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 FCDO and BEIS or 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, FCDO and BEIS 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 FCDO and BEIS 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.

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.

Next steps

If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.

You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your IFS Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.

You will need to provide:

  • the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
  • a redacted copy of your bank details
  • a collaboration agreement (if applicable)
  • an exploitation plan

In order to process your claims, we need to make sure that the bank details you give to us relate to a UK high street bank that is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The account must have a BACS clearing facility and be in the same company name as your application.

If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.

Finance checks

We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.

You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GoL)

Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GoL.

The GoL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this before you start your project.

Your GoL will show the start date for your project, do not start your project before this date. Any costs incurred before your start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.

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 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Need help with this service? Contact us