Funding competition Demonstrators addressing cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £6 million for collaborative R&D projects addressing major cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK is to invest up to £6 million in collaborative, business led research and development (R&D) projects. These projects should result in a new product, industrial process or service.

This funding is from UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

The aim of this competition is to solve industry-focused major cyber security-related challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT). You should include a plan to test nearer-to-market interventions and experiments in real environments.

Your proposal must address at least one of the following themes:

  1. Operational resilience technologies for the protection and recovery of data in IoT.
  2. Intelligent control systems for industry, and commercial and public sector buildings to ensure critical systems function as they were designed.
  3. Intelligently protecting the occupants and the systems of the digital home.
This competition closes at 12pm midday UK time on the date of the deadline.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £2.5 million and £4 million and you can request up to £2 million grant.

Who can apply

State aid

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

Your project

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £2.5 million and £4 million with a maximum of £2 million grant requested. Projects must start by 1 December 2019 and end by 31 December 2021. They can last between 18 and 24 months.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 days before the competition closes. Approval of your request is at the discretion of the competition and innovation lead.

Lead applicant

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business, of any size
  • collaborate with other UK based businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • involve at least one academic partner
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results in or from the UK

Collaborators

To collaborate on a project you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation, third-sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Partners with no funding

Projects can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Multiple applications

Any one business can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. If a business is not leading an application, they can be a collaborator in up to 3 applications.

An academic institution or RTO cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

Previous applications

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole company and were awarded funding by Innovate UK or UK Research and Innovation, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members
  • communicate our decision to you in writing

Previous projects

Under the terms of Innovate UK funding, you are required to submit an independent accountant’s report (IAR) with your final claim. If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an IAR on a previous project, we will not award funding to you in this or any other competition until we have received the documents.

Funding

We have allocated up to £6 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

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

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or 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 funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to:

  • solve major industry-focused cyber security-related challenges in the Internet of Things (see ‘Specific themes’ below)
  • transfer world-leading knowledge from the UK research base to UK industry
  • develop new products or services and intellectual properties (IPs)
  • address technology, societal and business challenges

Your proposal must:

  • focus on cyber security for IoT
  • include artificial intelligence or machine learning
  • demonstrate how it can be commercialised
  • show a balance between technical and social impact

Your proposal could include:

  • an RTO, public or third sector organisation (such as charities or community groups)
  • complementary technologies such as distributed ledger technologies or applications of 5G mobile networks

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects within this competition. The portfolio will be spread across a range of scope areas.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on at least one of the following:

  • operational resilience technologies for the protection and recovery of data in IoT
  • intelligent control systems for industry, and for commercial and public sector buildings, to ensure critical systems function as they were designed
  • intelligently protecting the occupants and the systems of the digital home

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects. Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that cover:

  • the use or development of quantum technologies, including quantum key distribution
  • the development of new network infrastructure such as 5G
  • the creation of new facilities

18 February 2019
Competition opens
26 February 2019
London briefing event
27 February 2019
Manchester briefing event
28 February 2019
Edinburgh briefing event
5 March 2019
Cardiff briefing event
7 March 2019
Belfast briefing event
1 May 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
1 July 2019
to 5 July 2019: interviews
12 July 2019
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

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 make contributions
  • other organisations to collaborate with you

Interviews

If your application is successful at the written stage you will be invited to attend an interview, where you will need to give a presentation.

Your presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 20 minutes
  • have no more than 20 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You must submit your presentation slides to Innovate UK by the date stated in the email inviting you to interview. You will not be able to make any changes to the presentation after this date.

Up to 5 people from your project can attend the interview panel. Agree with your consortium who will attend, ideally one person from each organisation, and send us their names by the date stated in the invitation email. Make sure they will be available on all of the published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

After the interview there will be 30 minutes of questions for you. You will be expected to answer based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

You will have the opportunity to provide a supplementary written response to the assessor feedback, answering any concerns raised by the assessors. This can be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document. It can include charts or diagrams. This must be submitted to Innovate UK by the date stated in the invitation email.

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. Is the application a resubmission?

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 collaborators. 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

The assessors will score your answers to these questions. You will receive feedback from them for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1. Need or challenge

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

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if 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, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Question 2. Approach and innovation

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

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

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

Question 3. Team and resources

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

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
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team you will need to fill

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 pages long and no larger than 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5. Outcomes and route to market

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

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project
If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

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

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

Question 7. Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

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

Question 8. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

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

You can submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long and no larger than 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Added value

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

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 faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the 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?

Describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant you are requesting in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The Strategic Priorities Fund is managed by UKRI to:

  • drive an increase in high quality multi- and interdisciplinary research and innovation
  • ensure that UKRI’s investment links up effectively with government research priorities and opportunities
  • ensure the system responds to strategic priorities and opportunities

An Internet of Things (IoT) enabled world, where devices and sensors in our homes, workplaces and infrastructure are connected to the internet and each other, offers huge potential. Not only could it help with measuring our health data, travel habits and energy consumption, but also with understanding and automating control in our critical national infrastructure, such as power stations and transport networks.

The more devices are connected, the more links and dependencies are created between systems. This potentially presents significant risks, with cybersecurity emerging as the predominant threat to inter-dependent systems. We need assurance that systems will behave appropriately, even in unforeseen circumstances.

This competition is part of the Security of Digital Technologies at the Periphery programme, which aims to ensure that IoT systems are safe and secure. This becomes more important as more critical applications emerge, because there is increased vulnerability to broader, more sophisticated cyber-threats. Effective solutions need to combine cyber and physical safety and security with human behaviour, influence new regulatory response and validate and demonstrate novel approaches.

This builds on the work achieved by the PETRAS (Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability and Security for the Internet of Things) Research Hub.

Extra help

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

If you need more information, email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357.

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