Funding competition Zero Emission Generators (ZE-Gen) Accelerator Phase 1: Discover

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million for feasibility studies to develop renewable replacements for fossil fuel generators in Nigeria or the Philippines.

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Competition sections


The ZE-Gen technology accelerator programme aims to accelerate the innovations needed to effectively replace fossil fuel generators with renewable alternatives.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to invest up to £2 million in innovation projects in Nigeria and the Philippines.

This competition is a technology accelerator which is a part of the Zero Emission Generators (ZE-Gen) programme.

The aim of this competition is to support feasibility projects developing a range of technology and business models focussed on Nigeria or the Philippines.

Your proposal must:

  • focus on forming an integrated technology which directly replaces one or more fossil fuel generators
  • focus on a technology which is safe, flexible and appropriate to multiple applications
  • focus on a technology which is affordable, reliable and low carbon
  • focus on commercial, domestic, public sector or humanitarian use cases where fossil fuel generators are the only source of electricity or used as back up for an unreliable grid
  • focus on an innovation which utilises AC or DC renewable generation technologies to charge or charge from the grid as a backup source of energy
  • focus on a technology which is capable of storing energy
  • focus on a technology which is scalable
  • focus on utilising local supply chains where possible

This is phase 1 of a potential 3 phase accelerator competition. Phases 2 and 3 are separate closed competitions and are only open to projects funded in the previous phases:

The three phases are:

  • Zero emission generators (ZE-Gen) accelerator: phase 1 discover. (this phase) For feasibility studies and consortium building
  • Zero emission generators (ZE-Gen) accelerator: phase 2 lift off. For Industrial research for product development and testing of your innovation
  • Zero emission generators (ZE-Gen) accelerator: phase 3 flight. For experimental development and will involve demonstrating and validating your innovation in either Nigeria or the Philippines

The decision to proceed with phase 2 and 3 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. It will involve an assessment of a separate application into a subsequent phase 2 and then phase 3 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


Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £50,000 and £150,000.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £50,000 and £150,000
  • last for 10 months only
  • start on 1 June 2024
  • end on 31 March 2025
  • ensure Nigeria or the Philippines is the primary beneficiary of the innovation
  • be compliant with ODA funding
  • include a UK registered administrative lead
  • partner with a UK administrative lead, if you are an international organisation
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), from anywhere in the world

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

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.

Lead organisation

There are two types of leads in the ZE-Gen Accelerator programme, these are:

  • an administrative lead
  • a technology lead

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

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:

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

The administrative lead organisation cannot be an academic institution.

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

The technology lead must claim grant funding through this competition.

The technology lead can:

  • be from anywhere in the world
  • be a business of any size

The technology lead organisation cannot be an academic institution.

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 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 partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in the Innovation Funding Service. They are responsible for entering their own project costs in the application.

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. We will take a portfolio approach to the funded projects to ensure a diversity of organisation, technologies and regions are funded.

Ignite - Brokerage

A central part of this accelerator is consortium building with partners in Nigeria or the Philippines. For funded projects, a representative from the Technology Lead organisation is required to attend a funded in person visit to either Nigeria or the Philippines depending on your country of focus which is decided at the point of application.

We are calling these activities “Ignite” and are to enable the delegation of funded projects to find local collaborators in their focus region ahead of applying to phase 2 of the accelerator in November 2024. It is expected that a representative of the technology lead organisation will:

  • attend the visit in person
  • attend pre and post visit activities
  • present their project to overseas stakeholders
  • network with local partners
  • effectively and professionally represent the ZE-Gen programme

Innovate UK will fund travel and subsistence and organise the agenda with input from the phase 1 consortium of projects. We are planning for the visits to take place in October 2024. More specific details will be shared with successful applicants.

This programme is similar to Innovate UKs Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) and Energy Catalyst’s brokerage activities. Failure to attend could lead to the removal of the project from the accelerator programme.

Previous applications

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

We will not award you funding if you have:

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.

If your application goes through to assessment and is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more.

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 (

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 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 £2 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant. We expect to fund 20 projects.

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.

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, in this case, Nigeria or the Philippines. 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.

Research participation

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

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The ZE-Gen technology accelerator programme aims to accelerate the innovations needed to effectively replace fossil fuel generators with renewable alternatives.

The aim of this competition is to support feasibility projects developing a range of technology and business models focussed on Nigeria or the Philippines.

Your project must:

  • develop an integrated technology which directly replaces one or more fossil fuel generators
  • be safe, flexible and appropriate to multiple applications
  • be affordable, reliable and low carbon
  • target commercial, domestic, public sector or humanitarian use cases where fossil fuel generators are the only source of electricity or used as back up for an unreliable grid
  • charge using AC or DC renewable generation technologies or from the grid as a backup source of energy
  • be capable of storing energy
  • be scalable
  • utilise local supply chains where possible
  • propose an end-of-life circularity plan for the renewable alternatives developed with this funding

At the end of phase 1, successful projects will be invited to apply for the phase 2 competition.

Using a competitive down selection process which involves a short application form and a formal interview, Innovate UK will progress the high-quality projects using a portfolio approach to the next stage of the accelerator. A similar process will then be used for future phase 2 projects invited to progress to phase 3.

Funding on a previous phase does not guarantee funding for a subsequent phase. This will be dependent on the success and quality of the project.

Innovate UK has funding allocated to all three phases and reserves the right to adjust funding to other schemes.

Portfolio approach
We want to fund a variety of projects with different organisations, technologies and regions. 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 projects that:

  • will not contribute significantly to energy affordability, security and reduced carbon emissions
  • do not address clean energy requirements
  • are not Official Development Assistance (ODA) compliant
  • do not take into account and plan to manage Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) issues
  • are projects where energy innovation is not the primary focus (if more than 50% project is focussed on other innovations)
  • aim to improve fossil fuel generators
  • use combustion technologies
  • are inflexible and tailored to a specific use
  • do not propose an end of life circularity plan for the renewable alternatives developed with this funding
  • are large scale infrastructure projects, including industrial processes and utility scale solutions

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

20 November 2023
Competition opens
21 November 2023
Online briefing event: watch the recording
31 January 2024 11:00am
Competition closes
7 March 2024
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 leads 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 three 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.

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 12pm and 2pm 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.

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 the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from questions 1 to 5. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess and how we select applications for funding.

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

Questions 1 to 5, although not scored, provide background for Innovate UK 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.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of the UK administrative lead 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. Technology lead (not scored)

You must state the name of the person, their organisation and full registered address, who will act as the technology lead for the project.

A technology lead will be responsible for the development of the scope, work packages within the project and other work from a technical perspective.

Your answer can be up to 50 words long.

Question 3. Target Country (eligibility criteria - not scored)

Which of either Nigeria or the Philippines is the focus of your project?

Question 4. Official Development Assistance (ODA) (eligibility criteria - not scored)

To be eligible for ZE-Gen Technology Accelerator 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 Nigeria or the Philippines for this competition, by addressing a development need in that country
  • the benefits to project partners or 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 5. 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 and using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 6. 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 you will 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 reports, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design, and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

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.

Question 7. 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.


  • 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 8. Circularity

What are the opportunities for the reuse or recycling of your product which will be developed with this funding?


  • what action will be taken to prevent the unnecessary generation of waste related to your innovation
  • how the lifetime of your product can be extend
  • how you will manage the end-of-life reuse or dispose of your innovation

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 9. 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
  • 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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

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.

Question 10. Market awareness

What does the market or markets you are targeting look like?


  • the target markets for the project outcomes and 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 11. 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
  • 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 12. 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
  • the focus country economy

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:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity
  • CO2 avoidance

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 13. 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

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 14. 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 other requirements identified, 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 15. 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 public funding would 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 or means of support you have already approached and why they were not suitable
  • how any existing or potential investment or support will be used in conjunction with the grant funding
  • 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 16. 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 project costs guidance. You can also view our Application Finances video.

Background and further information

This Technology Accelerator competition is part of the Zero Emissions Generators (ZE-Gen) programme which aims to support renewable energy based alternatives to fossil fuel generators.

This competition is delivered by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO). The programme forms part of the Ayrton Fund and Transforming Energy Access (TEA) programmes

You may be invited to present your work to delivery partners and stakeholders as part of these programmes.


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.

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 UK administrative lead organisation.

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 collaborations and the understanding of energy access in a variety of countries, Innovate UK is hosting an ZE-Gen b2Match platform. This is a free to access online platform where you can meet potential project partners. Registration is available now. Full details are provided on the platform.

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

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Foreign, Commonwealth and development office (FCDO) (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 Carbon Trust, FCDO or DSIT 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 Carbon Trust, FCDO or DSIT 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 Carbon Trust, FCDO or DSIT will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy

Carbon Trust's Privacy Policy

FCDO's Privacy Policy

DSIT's Privacy Policy

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, and is committed to upholding data protection legislation, and protecting your information in accordance with data protection principles.

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 Innovate UK KTN.

ZE-Gen B2Match platform

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.


Your application will be reviewed by up to 5 independent assessors based on the content of your application and their skills or expertise relevant to your project. All of the scores awarded will count towards the total score used to make the funding decision unless you are notified otherwise.

You can find out more about our assessment process in the General Guidance.

Your submitted application will be assessed against these criteria.

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 required
  • an exploitation plan

In order for us to process your claims, you must make sure you have a valid UK business bank account. It can take several weeks for a new account to be created if required. We recommend starting this process as early as possible to avoid any delays to your project start date.

The bank account which grant is to be paid into must:

  • be a business account in the same name as the organisation listed in IFS
  • be from a UK bank regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
  • have a cheque and credit clearing facility

Online accounts are eligible as long as they meet the above criteria.

Innovate UK will accept most banking societies apart from:

  • Viva Wallet
  • Intesa Sanpaolo
  • Equals Money UK Limited

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 for us to approve. Once approved we will send you an email with permission to start your project on your confirmed start date.

You must not start your project before the date stated on your email and GOL. Any costs incurred before your agreed start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your GOL is approved on or before the fifteenth of the month it will be dated from the first of that month. If your GOL is approved after the fifteenth, it will be dated the first of the next month.

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 12pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Need help with this service? Contact us