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Funding competition Regulators' Pioneer Fund

UK regulators can apply to the £10 million Regulators’ Pioneer Fund with initiatives that help businesses bring innovative products and services to market.

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Summary

Description

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will invest up to £10 million over 2 years in regulator-led projects.

The competition’s aim is to promote cutting-edge regulatory practices to help make the UK the world’s most innovative economy, whilst protecting citizens and the environment.

Projects must:

  • help businesses bring innovative products and services to market and demonstrate evidence of demand for change
  • align to the Industrial Strategy ‘Grand Challenges’ or otherwise support the Industrial Strategy ambition for the UK to be the world’s most innovative economy
  • demonstrate value for money and include matched funding if possible
  • be collaborative and bring together multiple bodies to address ‘cross-cutting’ issues that affect several regulators
  • show potential for lasting benefits beyond the duration of the project with plans to scale up and spread best practice
If you have queries about your eligibility please email regulators.pioneerfund@beis.gov.uk.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total grant funding can be up to £1 million. Projects must start by October 2018, end by April 2020 and can last between 6 and 18 months.

Eligibility

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding you must be a body which:

  • exercises a ‘regulatory function’, as defined in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act
  • performs a regulatory function covering Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England or the whole UK
  • is subject to Managing Public Money requirements, or is able to demonstrate compliance with Managing Public Money principles with respect to any funding received through the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund
  • regulates businesses (not just individuals)

Only the regulators who are leading and sponsoring the project can submit an application and claim funding.

There is no limit to the number of applications each regulator can submit.

Projects may include partners, such as businesses, industry bodies, civil society groups, other regulators or academic institutions on a sub-contract basis.

Regulators must meet procurement rules in relation to any subcontractors.

The lead applicant will have overall accountability for all project funding (including funding for sub-contracted goods and services), in line with Managing Public Money and state aid requirements.

Funding

We have allocated up to £10 million to fund projects in this competition.

You can apply for up to £1 million grant funding. This limit includes funds that would be passed on to collaborators or partners on a sub-contract basis. Funding can only be used for non-commercial activities.

You should commit your own resources to the project wherever possible and describe this in your application.

Projects will be funded for up to 100% of costs by exception only, where outside the core activities of the regulator.

You must outline plans to ensure that your project has lasting impacts beyond the lifetime of the Regulators' Pioneer Fund's (RPF) funded activity.

Scope

Your proposal

We want the RPF to promote cutting-edge regulatory practices to make the UK the world’s most innovative economy. We are looking for ideas that either:

  • enable major improvements in a particular sector
  • or bring multiple regulators together to explore ‘cross-cutting’ issues of mutual interest

Proposals must demonstrate clear benefits to businesses bringing innovative products and services to market. Projects could include:

  • changes in approach by a single regulator to enable new products and services to come to market, such as live test environments or product development support
  • multi-regulator projects that can support industries which cross regulatory boundaries
  • wider partnerships that can include businesses, industry bodies, civil society groups, regulators or academia

Projects must:

  • help businesses bring innovative products and services to market and demonstrate evidence of demand for change
  • align to the Industrial Strategy ‘Grand Challenges’ or otherwise support the Industrial Strategy ambition for the UK to be the world’s most innovative economy.
  • demonstrate value for money and include matched funding if possible
  • be collaborative and bring together multiple bodies to address ‘cross-cutting’ issues that affect several regulators
  • show potential for lasting benefits beyond the duration of the project with plans to scale up and spread best practice

You must:

  • have clear plans for monitoring and evaluation, with adequate data capture and review systems
  • provide the administering body with full access to data on the impact of new approaches, to capture best practice
  • have approval from BEIS if you want to publicise, carry out promotional activities or disseminate information in relation to the Regulator’s Pioneer Fund

Specific themes

You could address one of the 4 Grand Challenges set out in the Industrial Strategy:

  • put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution
  • maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth
  • become a world leader in shaping the future of mobility
  • harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society
You could help businesses to bring innovative products and services to market by adopting one of the following regulatory approaches:
  • advisory approaches, such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s Innovation Office
  • adaptive approaches, such as the Financial Conduct Authority’s Regulatory Sandbox
  • anticipatory approaches, such as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s Horizon Scanning Panel

Project types

The types of projects we would like to see are:

1. Immediate implementation of a regulatory change to support innovative businesses. This is where a regulator has evidence of demand for their initiative (up to 18 month projects).

2. Short research and development (R&D) projects (about 6 months) that explore either:

  • solutions for a regulatory issue faced by innovative businesses, or
  • proactive measures to support innovative businesses.

3. A short trial or pilot study (about 6 months) of an initiative to change a regulatory approach that can enhance support for innovative businesses.

4. Two-part projects (up to 18 months) that start with a short R&D project, trial or pilot study (about 6 months), followed by review and implementation of a regulatory change that supports innovative businesses.

Innovate UK reserves the right to apply a ‘portfolio’ approach in this competition. The portfolio will be spread across a range of:

  • scope areas
  • project durations
  • project costs, including demonstrating value for money

This is to fit the spend profile of the competition. It will make sure that funds are allocated across the strategic areas identified in the scope of the competition. Successful applications are all required to meet a quality threshold.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that are:

  • designed to enhance a regulator’s own performance, without demonstrating significant positive benefits to businesses looking to bring innovative products and services to market
  • reliant on ongoing government funding commitments beyond the duration of the project

Dates

5 July 2018
Competition opens
12 July 2018
London briefing event.
14 August 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
28 September 2018
Applicants notified

How to apply

Before you start

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite colleagues to contribute to the application.

If you wish to attend the briefing event in London on 12 July please register by emailing regulators.pioneerfund@beis.gov.uk.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

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

1. Application details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it does not, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. Please select industrial research as the research category.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application. List any organisations you have named as subcontractors. 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. Please do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

Your answers to these questions will be scored by the assessors. You will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers.

Question 1: Rationale or demand (20 marks)

What is the business need that is addressed by this proposal? What evidence is there of demand for the change in regulatory approach?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project, including the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the evidence that there is a demand from the business community for a change in regulatory approach
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, explaining whether the project is focused 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. Our Horizons tool can help with this

Question 2: Need or challenge (20 marks)

How is the proposal aligned to one or more of the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges and the Industrial Strategy ambition for the UK to be the world’s most innovative economy?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be supporting through the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes and their potential for growth, backed up by references where available
  • how the proposal will help businesses to bring innovative products and services to these markets
  • the likely impact of this proposal on development of this market (e.g. on the behaviour of innovators and incumbent firms)
  • which of the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges this proposal relates to (where relevant)
  • how the proposal will otherwise enhance business innovation and support the Industrial Strategy ambition for the UK to be the world’s most innovative economy

Question 3: Approach and innovation (15 marks)

Describe how the proposal has potential for lasting benefits beyond the duration of the project, with plans to scale and spread best practice. How is the proposal collaborative, bringing together multiple bodies to address cross-cutting issues?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, sandbox, testbed, innovation portal, advice service, horizon-scanning function, demonstrator, know-how, new process or service) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • the collaborative nature of the proposal, including collaboration with other government departments, research institutions or other regulators
  • the potential to scale up and spread best practice from the proposal among other regulators beyond the duration of the project

Question 4: Value for money (15 marks)

How does the proposal offer value for money, with matched funding where possible?

Describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer and how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project
  • how the forecast benefits of the project as a whole exceed the costs of the project (including the RPF contribution), and how each project is worth investing resources or money in
  • how the projects chosen will deliver the greatest possible benefit for the RPF’s money

Question 5: Added value (‘additionality’) (15 marks)

How will an injection of public funding create added value (for example new services) for the regulator?

Describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as speed, more partners and reduced risk
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of public-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful

Question 6: Feasibility and deliverability (15 marks)

How will you deliver the proposal within the timescales, taking into account technical and practical considerations?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them, including any gaps in the team that will need to be filled
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, 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
  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. You will need to calculate and enter the grant percentage for your project. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Supporting information

Background and further information

Extra help

If you need more information, call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email either BEIS at regulators.pioneerfund@beis.gov.uk or Innovate UK at support@innovateuk.gov.uk.

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