Funding competition IDP14: accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles (research and development)

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £18 million to research vehicle technology that accelerates the transition to zero emission vehicles.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK via the Faraday Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is to invest up to £18 million in this competition. This is to enable industry-led research into vehicle technologies that accelerates the transition to zero emission vehicles. This is the 14th competition in the Integrated Delivery Programme (IDP) series.

A separate £2 million is available for feasibility study projects. This is being run as a linked competition.

We are particularly looking for projects to develop low-cost, highly integrated systems to enable zero emission journeys for cars. We are also looking for zero emission or zero emission capable journeys for medium and heavy goods vehicles. You should focus on identified technical or commercial challenges developing zero and zero emission capable technologies on vehicles, from motorbikes to large trucks.

For the first time in an IDP competition a proportion of the budget will focus on medium and heavy goods vehicles.

All projects must be a collaboration between at least 2 partners. A business must lead the project.

Funding type


Project size

Projects should have total costs between £250,000 to £4 million.

Find out if you are eligible to apply

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business
  • be a business of any size
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • work in collaboration with others (businesses, research base and third sector)

Projects should last between 12 months and 3 years. If your project falls outside of this range you will need to speak to us before you apply.

Projects that we won't fund

In this competition we are not funding projects covering:

  • internal combustion engine projects for passenger cars
  • off vehicle technologies
  • business as usual projects
  • zero carbon fuels

Funding and project details

There is up to £18 million to fund innovation projects in this competition as follows:

1. £15 million for research and development projects. These should focus on the technical and commercial challenges identified in the scope section. This includes up to £5 million from the Faraday Challenge for battery projects that meet the objectives of the Faraday Challenge Fund.

2. £3 million for research and development projects. These should focus on zero emission or zero emission capable medium and heavy goods vehicles. This includes those focused on electrifying the main traction power system, auxiliary power systems and vehicle bodies or trailers. R&D projects that deliver significant emissions savings for conventional internal combustion engines for medium and heavy goods vehicles are in scope. However, they must form part of a future zero emission capable HGV vehicle.

We may change the funding splits above depending on demand from high scoring projects. We may apply a portfolio approach to the projects funded based on the technology areas they address.

Project types

Your project can focus on industrial research or experimental development. This will depend on the challenge.

For industrial research projects, you could get:

  • up to 70% of your eligible project costs if you are a small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get:

  • up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are a small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.

Competition scope

The government’s ambition is that nearly all cars and vans on our roads are zero emission by 2050. IDP14 supports the acceleration towards zero emission vehicles through technology development, particularly projects which can reduce system costs significantly.

Zero emission or zero emission capable means zero exhaust pipe emissions or the capability to travel a set minimum distance with zero exhaust pipe emissions. Projects that address well to wheel savings (life cycle analysis) for HGVs will also be in scope.

We are looking to fund projects that address the following technical areas:

  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
  • highly disruptive zero emission technologies
  • propulsion for zero emission medium and heavy goods vehicles

Technologies in scope include:

  • the electrification of conventional powertrains in passenger cars, such as waste heat recovery systems and hybridisation
  • e-powertrains solutions where the project does not include costs related to any conventional engine research and development (R&D) work
  • zero emission technologies focus on exploitation routes on conventional powered vehicles, such as light weighting projects

Hybridisation technologies will focus solely on increasing the capability of the electrified or non-internal combustion engine element of the powertrain.

Projects should focus on on-highway vehicles category L, M, N and O (trailers for HGVs).

Projects which support off highway applications as a secondary application are also in scope.

Medium and heavy goods vehicles (vehicles over 7.5 tonnes)

We will support projects focusing on electrification of the main vehicle power source and auxiliary power systems, such as for refrigeration or trailer equipment. We will also support projects that focus on electrifying the trailer units and those that deliver significant emissions benefits via aerodynamic improvements. HGV projects can be for either urban delivery or trunking routes/applications, or both.

Projects that deliver significant emissions savings for conventional engines for medium and heavy goods vehicles must focus on the future delivery of zero exhaust pipe emission vehicles. Innovate UK reserves the right to prioritise projects that deliver zero emissions.

Projects which focus on battery technology are eligible to apply for funding from IDP14. If successful they will be funded by the Faraday Challenge Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

We encourage a range of projects that cover both niche and mainstream on road vehicle applications.

We expect R&D projects to be focused on industrial research or experimental development.

Projects must:

  • develop on-vehicle technology, speeding up its introduction to the market
  • focus on highly integrated vehicle systems and cost reduction
  • justify how the technology achieves overall vehicle efficiency. Individual part improvement is not in scope, unless there is also consideration of overall system impact
  • validate the technology in a relevant environment. This might be through a mule or adapted current production vehicle
  • define appropriate representative real-world operating conditions, and a suitable comparator technology or vehicle against which the project will measure the CO2e baseline and improvements
  • provide evidence that the durability, integrity and safety of any technology proposed is in line with industry expectations
  • show that you can realistically produce the technology at a price the market is willing to pay when commercialising
  • show how the future supply chain will be developed. One way of achieving this is to include appropriate Tier 1 and/or Tier 2 suppliers in your consortium
  • show a clear route to market including appropriate business models to exploit the technology commercially

A requirement of funding for R&D projects is that the consortium includes an appropriate end customer. This is to show that the technology meets clear customer specifications. There is a particular interest in projects that include vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 or Tier 2 suppliers, but this is not a fixed requirement.

At the end of an R&D project, you must have:

  • a physical demonstrator
  • a report showing the emissions reduction the technology can achieve on implementation
  • details of the cost of the system showing the commercial payback period
  • performance results demonstrating the viability of the technology, to give confidence for consideration on new vehicle programmes

Specific competition themes

Projects can focus on the following themes:

Zero emission passenger cars or projects that demonstrate significant electrification around conventional engines. This should significantly reduce emissions towards zero. We will not fund projects focused on gasoline and diesel engines only.
We are also particularly interested in innovation projects from industry that are zero emission or zero emission capable for a determined distance for medium and heavy goods vehicles.
For all projects we should see a clear route to market, with projects including an end customer.

21 September 2017
Competition opens
27 September 2017
Watch the recording of the briefing event.
18 December 2017 12:00pm
Competition closes
26 January 2018
Applicants invited to interview.
29 January 2018
Feedback to applicants.
9 February 2018
Presentation and interview feedback response deadline.
19 February 2018
19 to 23 February interviews.
3 April 2018 11:36am
Applicants notified

Before you start

To start an application you must create an account as the lead applicant, or sign in as a representative of your organisation. Once you have an account you can track the progress of your application.

As a lead applicant:

  • you are responsible for collecting the information for your funding application
  • you can invite other organisations who will participate in the project as collaborators if your application is successful
  • you can invite colleagues to contribute to the application
  • your organisation will lead the project if your application is successful

Partner organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

Research organisations

There are specific rules for research partners which limit the amount of involvement a research organisation may have in your project.

You will not be able to submit your application if your research participation is over the stated percentage for the competition.

Research organisations can participate in projects as collaborators. The level of total research participation is set at a maximum of 30% of total eligible project costs.

If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.


Research and development applications that are successful at the written stage will be invited to attend an interview.

Presentations should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length, with no more than 20 free-format slides. You should use Microsoft PowerPoint, 4:3 aspect ratio. Please do not include any video or embedded web links. This will be followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers.

Before the interview, your presentation slide pack needs to be formally submitted to Innovate UK. This should be on the date stated in the notification email. No changes can be made to the presentation after this date.

A maximum of 9 attendees from your project can attend the interview panel. Please submit names to Innovate UK before the panel. The consortium should select the most appropriate people to attend. We recommend that each consortium member organisation is represented.

You will be expected to answer questions based on the questions in the application form, and your response to feedback.

You can provide a written supplementary response to the assessor feedback before the interview panel. This should be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document. You can include charts or diagrams. This is to answer any issues raised from the written assessor feedback.

Please make sure that your selected representatives for the interview presentation are available on all published dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details
  2. Application questions
  3. Finances

1. Project details

In this section you will provide the details of your project. This section is not scored, but our assessors will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it doesn’t fit the scope then it will be immediately rejected. Within project details you will need to complete:

Application details

The title of your project, the start date and project length. This section will also list you as the lead organisation and any partner organisations you have named as collaborators. The lead applicant must complete this section.

Project summary

Describe your project and what is innovative about it. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application so we need a summary of the innovation in your project.

Public description

Describe your project in a way that you are happy to see published. Please do not include any commercially sensitive information. If your project is successful and awarded funding, Innovate UK will publish this description.

Project scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition and which scope area you are addressing. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding.

2. Application questions

In this section, answers to these questions are scored by the assessors. Following assessment, you will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Question 1: Need or challenge

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

  • describe the main motivation for the project; the business need, supply chain challenge, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • describe the nearest current state-of-the-art (including those near-market or in development) and its limitations
  • describe any work you have already done to respond to this need. For example is the project focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one?
  • identify the specific economic, social, environmental, cultural and/or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity. Apply them to your innovation where possible. Our Horizons tool can help.

Question 2: Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and how does the innovation meet the competition scope?

  • explain and describe how your innovation responds to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • explain how it will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified, to what extent does it move the UK towards zero emission vehicles
  • indicate where the focus of the innovation will be in the project (application of existing technologies in new areas, development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach) and the freedom you have to operate
  • explain how this project fits with your current product/service lines/offerings
  • explain in detail the innovation’s impact in respect to zero emission vehicles
  • explain the innovation’s current TRL and where it will be at project completion
  • describe the nature of the outputs you expect from the project for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design. How will these take you closer to targeting the need, challenge or opportunity identified?

You may submit a single appendix as a PDF no more than 1MB in size to support your answer.

Question 3: Team and resources

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

  • describe the roles, skills and relevant experience of all members of the project team in relation to the approach you will be taking
  • describe the resources, equipment and facilities required for the project and how you will access them
  • provide details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • describe the current relationships between the project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • highlight any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You may submit a single appendix as a PDF no more than 1MB in support your answer.

Question 4: Market awareness

Explain the specific zero emission vehicle markets your innovation is targeting? Please note, a high level summary of the UK’s appetite for zero emission vehicles and the strategic case is not required.

Specify the markets (domestic and/or international) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets.

For this, describe:

  • the size of the target markets (domestic and/or international) for the project outcomes, backed up by appropriate references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the market such as customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the main supply/value chains and business models in operation and any barriers to entry
  • describe the known or perceived risks of this innovation not reaching the zero emission vehicle market
  • the current UK position in targeting this market

For highly innovative projects, where the market may be unexplored, explain:

  • what the route to market could or might be
  • what its market size might be
  • how the project will seek to explore the market potential

For other markets, briefly describe the size and main features

Question 5: Outcomes and route to market

How do you propose to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

  • describe your current position in the markets and supply/value chains outlined for example, if you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • describe your target customers and/or end-users, and the value proposition to them (why would they use/buy it?)
  • describe the known or perceived customer appetite for your innovation
  • describe your route to market
  • tell us how you are going to profit from the innovation (increased revenues or cost reduction)
  • tell us about any direct supply chain development in the UK and any re-shoring of manufacturing
  • explain how the innovation will impact your productivity and growth in the short and long-term
  • describe how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project for example, through know-how, patenting, designs, changes to business model
  • outline your strategy for targeting the other markets identified during or after the project
  • for any research organisation activity in the project, outline your plans to disseminate project research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • if you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities, describe how you will do this

Question 6: Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Identify, and where possible measure, the economic benefits from the project to those outside the project (customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy) such as productivity increases and import substitution.

Identify, and where possible measure, any expected social impacts, either positive or negative, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion/exclusion
  • jobs (safeguarded, created, changed, displaced)
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity
  • any expected impact on government priorities

Identify, and where possible measure, any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative.

Identify any expected regional impacts of the project.

Question 7: Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

  • outline the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category and lead partner assigned to each, and the total cost of each one
  • describe your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used to ensure a successful project outcome. Highlight your approach to managing the most innovative aspects of the project
  • outline the management reporting lines
  • outline your project plan in sufficient detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You may upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no more than 1MB in size.

Question 8: Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

  • identify the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks. Highlight the most significant ones, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • explain how these risks will be mitigated
  • list any project inputs on the critical route to completion such as resources, expertise or data sets
  • is the output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical or other similar issues? If so how will you manage this?

You may upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no more than 1MB in size.

Question 9: Additionality

Describe the impact that an injection of public funding would have on this project.

  • tell us if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make such as faster to market, more partners, reduced risk
  • describe the likely impact of the project on the business of the partners involved
  • tell us why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding (what would happen if the application is unsuccessful)
  • explain how this project would change the nature of research and development activity the partners would undertake, and related spend

Question 10: 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?

  • justify the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • explain how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • explain how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer. How does it compare to what you would spend your money on otherwise?
  • justify the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • justify any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project


The finances section asks each organisation to complete project costs, organisational details and funding details for each organisation in your project. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Each organisation participating in your project must enter their own project costs. Detailed costs are confidential to each organisation. All participants will be able to see a summary of all partners’ costs. The project growth table is optional. If you do not wish to supply this information please just enter zero in the columns.

Background and further information

The government’s ambition is that nearly all vehicles on UK roads will be zero emission by 2050. Much progress has been made over recent years to significantly reduce tailpipe emissions from diesel and gasoline engines and this is expected to continue. Government support via the IDP14 competition is focused on zero emissions and accelerating the uptake of zero emissions. This is by reducing costs so that they can compete with conventional vehicles on price.

The IDP is part of the network of support for the automotive industry available in the UK. The Research Councils provide support for fundamental science. The IDP provides support for proof of concept. The Advanced Propulsion Centre provides support for pre-commercialisation.

OLEV is a team working across government to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV). OLEV is providing over £900 million to position the UK at the global forefront of ULEV development, manufacture and use. This will contribute to economic growth and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution on our roads.

Commercial freight vehicle numbers are increasing on our roads, as is their contribution to emissions and poor air quality in our towns and cities. IDP14 is the first IDP competition that has a dedicated budget for HGV projects. We welcome the participation of the HGV sector in the UK who wish to innovate to develop zero emission and zero emission capable HGVs for both trunking and urban routes.

Read our blog to find more details for the Faraday Challenge for batteries to support the electrification of vehicles.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

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