Funding competition APC25: Industrialising net zero automotive technology

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £25 million for late-stage R&D projects that help accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future.

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Competition sections

Description

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia, to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, digital optimisation and manufacturing processes. These processes support the UK’s transition to a net zero automotive industry.

With APC’s in depth knowledge and expertise in new propulsion technologies, their role in building and advising projects will support them to start quickly. Projects supported will deliver increased value, safeguard skilled jobs and keep the UK competitive.

We are working to drive innovation and encourage collaboration to build the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive value and supply chain.

The aim of this competition is to support collaborative R&D projects that design, develop and manufacture technology. These proposals will work towards delivering net zero on-vehicle technologies for on-road or off-road vehicles, including 2 wheelers.

In this competition, Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to invest up to £25 million in innovation projects.

Your proposal must be a collaborative, pre-production research and development (R&D) project that:

  • supports the UK’s vision and underpin core capabilities by securing long term R&D investment
  • creates or safeguards high value jobs when undertaking the project and as a result of any post project R&D and manufacturing activities
  • achieves, through the associated supply chain, the design, build, test and manufacture of net zero vehicles
  • supports the UK’s transition to zero emission vehicles and a pathway to net zero automotive industry

Your project must fulfil these criteria to ensure the UK meets the future demand of vehicle makers and users. The outcomes will strengthen the UK’s global impact and, anchor added value across the whole supply chain.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process.

This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated in this Innovate UK competition brief. We cannot guarantee other government or third party sites will always show the correct competition information.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £2.5 million and £20 million. Your project must be a minimum of 50% match-funded, with a suggested maximum number of six partners.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £2.5 million and £20 million
  • be a minimum of 50% match funded
  • start on 1 November 2024
  • last between 18 and 36 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

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.

If your project’s grant funding request or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to info@apc.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 APC, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • be a grant recipient

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

Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead.


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 registered businesses and research organisations are only eligible to apply for funding if:

  • an active UK registered business is set up where the funded project work will be carried out
  • evidence is provided of an intention to expand the R&D activity in the UK during and after the project

A company registration number starting with a FC or BR is not considered as a UK registered business and not eligible to apply for funding.

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.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs must be entered in the finance section of the application and 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 is no limit on the number of applications an organisation can be involved in.

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.

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

We will not award you funding if you have:

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 (legislation.gov.uk)

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.

Funding

Up to £25 million has been allocated by APC to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The UK government invests up to £75 million per annum through the APC, in collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects.

These are pre-production projects and you must apply for the minimum amount of APC funding required to make your project viable.

Your total grant funding request must be no more than £20 million and no more than 50% of your total project costs. This is regardless of your individual partners’ grant claims.

A minimum of 70% of your projects total project costs must be incurred by commercial organisations.

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 industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

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

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

Advanced Propulsion Centre levy

A 3.5% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is for collaborative R&D projects that design, develop and manufacture technology. These proposals will work towards delivering net-zero on-vehicle technologies for on-road or off-road vehicles, including 2 wheelers.

Your project must:

  • contribute to the UK’s strategic aims and direction of travel towards net zero transport vision, such as the Automotive Council’s Roadmaps
  • deliver on-vehicle technologies or associated manufacturing processes which support the transition to net zero
  • support growth, transition and security of the UK’s automotive supply chain, increasing capability, whilst improving productivity, efficiency and competitiveness
  • support, through traditional or digitally enabled methods; UK R&D scale-up or commercialisation, decarbonisation of technology design, development, optimisation and production of sub-systems, vehicle systems, delivery of innovation value

Your project must advance technologies in one or more of the following areas:

  • energy storage batteries, their components, management and integration systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • electric machines
  • power electronics
  • fossil fuel free (at the point of use) internal combustion (in the case of on-road solutions, we will support project proposals which aim to achieve zero harmful tailpipe emissions)
  • lightweighting materials, methods and processes
  • hydrogen storage and management systems
  • design for circular economy, including the disassembly, recovery, and reuse of materials used in the project technologies
  • digitalisation of design for manufacture and recycling, development of low carbon vehicle innovation, manufacture of vehicle systems and sub-systems, data analytics, redesign, test and validation and verification

The economic benefit of your project will be assessed on criteria including but not limited to:

  • scale and impact on the UK economy
  • foreign investment anchored in the UK
  • jobs created or safeguarded
  • upskilling or reskilling of workforce
  • automotive supply chain in the UK (upstream, mid-stream and downstream)
  • lifetime environmental impact of the vehicle and circular economy models

Your proposal must evidence:

  • a clear route to market exploitation, that can be evidenced, including intellectual property (IP) generated for the UK
  • a credible consortium led approach to the project, agreed in principle and able to proceed to a formal collaborative agreement
  • what would happen should the project not be funded
  • a demonstration of the outcomes by all partners, the costs can be claimed only if conducted before the end of the project duration

You are encouraged to disseminate your results to bring benefit to the wider UK automotive industry.

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

Specific themes

You must consider which of the technologies listed below best represent your project. If you are using multiple technologies, rank them in order of their significance and impact to your project. The one ranked first must be the lead technology:

  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicles and powertrain structures
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • thermal propulsion systems and alternative fuels
  • digitalisation for development of low carbon vehicle innovation, data analytics, redesign, test and validation and verification

Your lead technology must have a significance and impact ranking of at least 50%. You can also rank up to an additional two supporting technologies that can have a maximum of 25% each.

Your percentages must add up to 100%.

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that are:

  • only focussed on the development of clean fuels
  • not aligned with the UK net-zero research innovations framework
  • requesting more than 50% grant for total project costs
  • developing either e-Scooters or e-Bikes

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

6 December 2023
Webinar briefing event: watch the recording
15 January 2024
Competition opens
16 January 2024
Live questions and answers session: watch the recording
13 March 2024 11:00am
Competition closes
10 April 2024
Invite to interview and Economic feedback issued
19 April 2024
Response to Economic Feedback
26 April 2024
Response to technical feedback
30 April 2024
DBT VfM discussion
3 May 2024
Vfm changes to be returned
3 May 2024
Presentation & attendance of attendees
20 May 2024
interview panel at APC start
24 May 2024
Interview panel at APC end
1 July 2024
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
  • 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. Finance

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

Interviews

If your application passes the first stage of assessment, the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) Value for Money (VfM) appraisers may want to call you to clarify the information you shared in the written economic assessment feedback questions.

The appraisers will talk to you about any of the following:

  • project risks
  • why grant funding is required for your project
  • any anticipated technology spill-over benefits
  • job projections
  • expected vehicle sales
  • CO2 savings
  • project expenditure

The call will happen after you have given DBT your responses to their economic assessment feedback. This will be before the interviews, and we provisionally expect the calls to take place on 30 April 2024.

The APC will inform the lead contact of a one-hour time slot for the call with DBT. The time slot is not flexible, due to the number of calls we need to make. We aim to keep calls to a maximum of four attendees from the applicant side to ensure the discussion is effective.

On the call we will want to talk to the person who filled out the VfM worksheet and anyone else needed to answer questions about the written economic assessment feedback responses. We will not ask representatives from each project partner to attend the call.

After the call and if your online application is assessed as eligible, you will be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation. Your interview will take place during the week beginning 20 May 2024.

Before the interview and by the deadline stated in the invitation email, you must send:

  • a written response to the DBT economic assessment feedback before the provisional call dates
  • a written response to the technical assessors’ feedback
  • a list of who will attend the interview
  • your interview presentation slides

Please be aware that the dates for these submissions are different. You cannot send them together. You must send your written response to the DBT economic assessment feedback before the others, so that the VfM call can take place on 30 April 2024.

You cannot make changes once these are submitted.

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to nine people from your project can attend, ideally one person from each organisation. They must all be available on all published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

Presentation slides

Your interview presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 30 minutes
  • have no more than 30 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it or bring any additional materials to the interview.

Written response to technical assessor feedback

This is optional and is an opportunity to answer the assessors’ concerns. It can:

  • be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document – template to be provided
  • include charts or diagrams as part of the 10 pages

All of the information including charts and diagrams need to be readable at 100% zoom. If they are not they will not be considered.

Written response to the DBT economic assessment feedback

This is mandatory and is an opportunity to answer the assessors;’ concerns. It must be:

  • be up to 6 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document – Template to be provided
  • include charts or diagrams as part of the 6 pages

All of the information including charts and diagrams need to be readable at 100% zoom. If they are not, they will not be considered.

Interview

Interviews will take place at the APC in Warwick. You should allow up to two and a half hours for your interview.

You must email a mature draft of the collaboration agreement ahead of your interview. After your presentation the panel will spend up to 60 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on the information you provided in your application form, presentation and the response to feedback.

After your interview

The panellists will individually score your application and these will be averaged for your overall interview score. This score will supersede the one you received from initial assessment unless stated otherwise in the competition brief. We will notify you whether you have been successful or not by email and you will receive feedback on your interview within a week of notification.

Economic assessment

This is carried out by professional economists employed by DBT, in both the written and interview stages. They assess whether the project is good value for money for taxpayers and the UK.

HM Treasury will only release grant funding if your project reaches an acceptable threshold of value for money. This analysis is quality assured by senior economists within DBT to ensure the judgement is an accurate and independent reflection of the information that has been provided.

Report on economic outputs

As a condition of APC project grant funding, you must provide DBT and APC with annual records which show the realised and expected economic outputs your project has produced.

You must provide robust, credible and timely data on your project’s progress. This data helps policymakers evaluate whether the APC programme is good value for money.

Each partner must:

  • flag any information they consider too costly to collect
  • agree report timings
  • report on economic monitoring information annually, or at an alternative schedule agreed with APC, Innovate UK and DBT

You must provide other data if requested. Project monitoring and meetings will be carried out by representatives of Innovate UK, DBT and APC, and any other individuals as agreed with you.

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 as well as conducting a portfolio approach.

You must also identify using percentage splits, which automotive council strategic technology or technologies are the focus of your project:

  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
  • thermal propulsion systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • digitalisation for development of low carbon vehicle innovation

Your lead technology must be at least 50%. You can also rank up to an additional two supporting technologies that can have a maximum of 25% each.

Your percentages must add up to 100%.

For example, an innovative motor technology with integrated power electronics and Battery Management Systems (BMS) could be expressed as:

  • electric machines and power electronics (75%)
  • energy storage and energy management (20%)
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures (0%)
  • thermal propulsion systems (5%)
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant (0%)
  • significant reduction in vehicle development timescales (0%)
  • digitalisation for development of low carbon vehicle innovation (0%)

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project highlighting the key outcomes and reason for undertaking the project in simple terms 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 100 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope, we will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The technical assessors will score all your answers for questions 2 to 8, questions 1 and 15 are not scored. Questions 9 to 14 are appraised as part of the DBT economic assessment. 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.

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 to this question can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Business Case

What is the business case for the project?

Explain:

  • the business opportunity for the organisations undertaking this project
  • your organisation’s internal justification for undertaking the project
  • your organisation’s strategy and how the project will contribute to this
  • if appropriate how will the use of digital solutions help optimise the product development process, manufacturing or product lifecycle
  • the benefits to the lead partner and consortium members undertaking this project, both immediate and in the future

Your answer to this question 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 two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 3. Identify the market and your strategy to address it

How will you bring this technology to market and exploit its commercial potential?

Explain:

  • the scale, geography, and dynamics of the market, with evidence of your working or calculations
  • your market exploitation strategy including any barriers and how you will overcome them
  • who the competitors are and how you will manage this challenge

Your answer to this question 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 two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

You can also submit letters of intent from potential suppliers or customers as an appendix to support your answer. These must be PDFs, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 4. Benefits to the UK Supply Chain

How will the project support the UK automotive supply chain?

Describe:

  • how the project supports UK localisation, on-shoring, and growth
  • the number of jobs safeguarded, created, changed or displaced, outside of the consortium
  • the supply chain strategy for this technology area and how this project will impact UK content
  • further benefits for businesses outside of the consortium
  • the lasting effect and scale of the benefits
  • how the project will reduce supply chain risk
  • key processes, products or applications which will be developed or improved as a result of the project

Your answer to this question 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 two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 5. Benefits of collaboration

What are the wider benefits of collaboration between the consortium partners?

Explain:

  • why the consortium is essential to deliver the project, and explain how knowledge will be shared between partners
  • the impact on resources (personnel and facilities) and skills within your consortium
  • how the project will unlock technical and commercial opportunities beyond the core aims of this project
  • what further applications there are for the outcomes in other sectors
  • what opportunities for future wider R&D activities in the auto industry you envisage as a result of this project
  • how you will disseminate these outcomes in the public domain

Your answer to this question can be up to 600 words long.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 6. Technical approach and innovation

Provide an overview of the technical approach the project will take, identifying the main objectives for this project. Which elements of the project are technically innovative and how will these outcomes be achieved?

Describe:

  • a description of the entry design and development status of elements of the project
  • the technical steps through which these outcomes will be realised
  • and evidence any proof of concept work undertaken prior to this application
  • the technically innovative elements of the project and evidence why they are innovative
  • how the resulting technologies compare to the current best-in-class
  • digitalisation tools and techniques
  • the test and validation activities which will be completed during and after the project
  • any expected resulting intellectual property (IP) or patents

Your answer to this question can be up to 600 words long.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 7. Project management

What will be created and how will you manage the project effectively?

Describe:

  • the physical outputs and deliverables from this project and quantify where possible
  • your proposed work breakdown structure (WBS), showing a cost for each work package
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify significant milestones and gateways, and any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to achieve a successful outcome
  • specific detail on how project start-up will be managed
  • the project sponsors within each consortium partner
  • the project team with key members profiled
  • how escalation will be managed

Your answer to this question can be up to 600 words long.

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 8. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any key risks during the start-up phase and how they will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets and test facilities, for example proving grounds
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this

Your answer to this question 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 two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 9. Value for Money (VfM) workbook

The Value-for-Money (VfM) workbook and Questions 12 to 14 of the application, relate to the economic value for money assessment.

You must download and complete the VfM workbook.

To complete the VfM workbook, complete the following steps:

  1. Download the VfM workbook from Question 9.
  2. Complete tabs Q12 to 17, following the guidance in each worksheet.
  3. Enter data into the grey cells and select an option from a drop-down list in the orange cells.
  4. Add extra rows in the ‘Jobs’ worksheet (in the middle of rows of input cells to preserve the formatting) so you can define jobs separately for each project partner for the required number of national vocational qualification (NVQ) levels.
  5. Use blank lines to title project partners and group the jobs according to your preferences.
  6. You must upload the completed worksheet as an appendix to Question 9.
  7. You must write 'Worksheet uploaded' as your response to this question.

Your answer to this question can be up to 100 words long.

Your answers to the written Questions 12 to 14 and relevant appendices must demonstrate how the figures in your VfM workbook have been derived. Your answer to Question 11 must align with the project and post-project expenditure set out in Question 12.

Question 10. Additionality

Why does your project rely on APC funding and why do you need the amount you have applied for?

Using the appendix to provide supporting evidence, explain:

  • why your project cannot go ahead without APC support
  • why your project cannot be funded internally or through other private sources providing supporting evidence, for example notices of declined credit
  • why this specific amount of grant funding is required, reference can be made to the financial summary table
  • what would happen if your application was unsuccessful
  • if you decided not to internally fund, explain the decision-making process and provide evidence, such as any business case comparison (with or without APC funding), internal rate of return analysis or other comparative financial analysis of the project with and without APC funding
  • if the project could not go ahead in the UK without APC funding, where would it be located and why
  • provide information about alternative locations and type and size of operations, expected cost structure, wages, building, transport, energy, any financial support available, the availability of a qualified workforce

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

You must submit one appendix with evidence to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 11. Funding model

How is each partner funding their share of the project costs, and any follow-on R&D and capital investments required to scale up production?

Explain the source of each project partners’ financial contribution to the project, for example:

  • retained earnings
  • external debt
  • equity investment
  • other funding sources such as government grants

Please note: Match funding must be private funds, and not other UK Government grants. In accordance with APC competition rules, project match-funding must be greater than the sum of the APC grant and any other UK Government grants.

You must:

  • explain how the consortium partners will fund any post-project R&D and capital investment to commercialise the technology
  • set out any risks and uncertainties around availability of funding for the project, and any required follow-on investment

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

You must submit one appendix with evidence of your funding sources to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

You must:

  • explain how you calculated project costs and anticipated post-project investments in the relevant boxes in tab Q12 of the VfM workbook
  • provide a summary of the project costs, the financial contribution from each project participant and the grant funding required in the financial summary table in the application form
  • declare any other funding from public bodies, including any tax relief, that relates to this project or application and that the consortium has applied for or received
  • indicate the size of the funding received, the relevant body with details of the type of funding and conditions

Question 12. Project expenditure

How have you estimated the required investment in R&D, skills and capital for this project, and any follow-on investment to commercialise the technology?

You must:

  • explain your calculations and assumptions made to quantify the amounts of spending and investment required
  • justify why your project costs and follow-on investments are realistic estimates

Please note: it is important that you explain your estimates of both direct project costs and any post-project expenditure to commercialise the technology and scale-up production

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

You must submit one appendix with evidence and details of your calculation methods to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 13. Jobs

How have you quantified the number of jobs created or safeguarded by the project and as a result of any post-project R&D and manufacturing activities?

You must:

  • explain your calculations and assumptions made to quantify the number of jobs directly related to the project
  • your explanation must also cover any jobs included in your VfM workbook that are the result of post-project R&D and manufacturing activity that is directly related to the project
  • explain why the number of jobs and salaries are realistic, considering productivity and efficiency gains
  • for safeguarded jobs, explain and provide evidence to show that these jobs would be lost without government funding for this project

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

You must submit one appendix with your evidence and details of your calculation methods to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 14. Sales and emissions

Provide further detail about the vehicle-related information you have given in tab Q13 in the VfM workbook.

You must:

  • justify the vehicles you have selected in the VfM workbook (vehicles 1 to 4)
  • explain how you have quantified vehicle sales, what assumptions you have used in your sales forecast, and justify why the sales forecast is realistic
  • explain why the comparator vehicles included in the VfM workbook are the best alternative for consumers by the time your technology reaches the market
  • explain any assumptions used in establishing fuel or energy consumption and CO2 emissions of the comparator vehicles selected in the VfM workbook
  • explain the specific contribution of this project to the future vehicle drivetrain, to quantify the impact of the overall emission savings your technology will achieve versus comparator vehicles

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

You must submit one appendix with evidence and documentation of your sales forecast and justification of comparator vehicles to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to two A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom, if it is not, it will not be considered.

Question 15. Marketing and communications project lead (not scored)

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

Your answer can be up to 100 words long.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project, including non-funded partners, 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

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, UK government through APC has funded 263 low-carbon projects involving 484 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and has helped to create or safeguard over 59,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 400 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 16.1 million cars.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver increased value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive industry.

In 2019 the UK government committed the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to accelerate the development of a net-zero vehicle supply chain, enabling UK based manufacturers to serve global markets. ATF investments are awarded through the APC to support strategically important UK capital and R&D investments that will enable companies involved in batteries, motors and drives, power electronics, fuel cells, and associated supply chains to anchor their future.

For more information go to apcuk.co.uk or follow us @theapcuk on X (formally known as Twitter) and Advanced Propulsion Centre UK on LinkedIn.

APC competitions are formally delivered in partnership between APC, Innovate UK and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).

APC will:

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

APC can help by:

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

Innovate UK will:

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

DBT will:

  • assess the benefit that the proposed project will deliver to the UK economy through value for money assessment
  • make a recommendation to ministers to support funding if the benefit meets an acceptable level and all other assessment criteria are met
  • formally monitor delivery of economic outputs on an annual basis and after delivery of the project

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

Extra help

Please note that the APC’s role is to provide indicative guidance rather than formal advice. To contact APC email info@apcuk.co.uk

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, Department of Business and Trade (DBT) and Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (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 DBT and 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, DBT 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, DBT and APC will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy

Department of Business and Trade’s (DBT) Privacy Policy

Advanced Propulsion Centre UK’s (APC) 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 Business Connect.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK Business Growth

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK Business Growth. 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 Business Growth, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Assessment

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
  • an exploitation plan

In order for us to process your claims, you must make sure you have a valid UK bank account. It is possible that it can take several weeks for a new account to be created. We would recommend starting this process as early as possible to avoid any delays to you 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 support@iuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.
Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

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