Funding competition Faraday Challenge: Innovation - research and development

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million to work on innovation projects to design, develop and manufacture batteries for the electrification of vehicles.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


As part of the government’s Faraday Challenge Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Innovate UK is to invest up to £30 million in innovation projects. This is to support the UK to lead the world in the design, development and manufacture of future batteries for vehicle electrification.

A separate £10 million is available for feasibility projects. This is being run as a linked competition.

We will fund projects that focus on identified technical or commercial challenges in battery innovation, development and manufacture through UK supply chains. These should lead to battery technologies that can be exploited at scale by the automotive sector in the UK and globally. Specifically we are looking to build and create future electric vehicle battery supply chains in the UK.

Projects should range in size from total eligible costs of £1 million to £15 million

If your project falls outside of this range you will need to speak to us before you apply.

Projects should last up to 3 years.

All projects must be a collaboration between at least 2 partners.

The Faraday Challenge represents a completely joined up national innovation system, supporting projects from fundamental research (EPSRC) through feasibility studies (Innovate UK) to industrial scale up (APC). The Advanced Propulsion Centre and Innovate UK are delivering the parallel Scale Up competition to establish a National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility.

Funding type


Project size

Project costs of between £1 million to £15 million.

Find out if you are eligible to apply

To be eligible you must:

  • be a UK-based business or research and technology organisation working within the limits provided in the general guidance for applicants
  • carry out your project work, and intend to exploit the results, in the UK
  • work in collaboration with other grant claiming partners (businesses, research organisations and/or third sector)

For all research organisations, the total level of project participation is set at a maximum of 30% of total eligible project costs for collaborative R&D. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Research and technology organisations

Research and technology organisations may lead a project providing:

  • they are able to state clearly why the research technology organisation and not one of the business participants, should lead the project
  • they collaborate in the project with at least 2 or more businesses (one must be an SME)
  • their involvement should be no greater than 30% of the total eligible project costs for collaborative R&D
  • the project shows a compelling route to market, most likely through the non-lead partners
If a research and technology organisations leads an application they can be a partner in up to 2 further applications.

Non grant partners

Projects may include non-grant-receiving partners (for example, non-UK businesses), but they will not count as collaborators. There have to be 2 grant-claiming partners.

Projects that we won't fund

In this competition we are not funding projects covering:

  • fundamental research into battery chemistry only (this will be funded by EPSRC research programme for this challenge)
  • battery technologies where the main commercial focus is not automotive based
  • other electrical or mechanical energy storage systems (other competitions are available for projects in these areas)
  • large, high technology readiness level projects, which could be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre
  • funding for substantive non-UK based partners or sub-contractors

Funding and project details

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK have allocated up to £30 million for collaborative research and development projects. They should address the technical and commercial challenges identified in the scope section.

They should address the technical and commercial challenges identified in the scope section. Projects must clearly show how their technology is drawing from fundamental research and can be scaled up, and therefore how the project builds a future UK supply chain for automotive traction battery applications.

All projects must be collaborative and involve at least one SME.

Project types

Your project can focus on industrial research or experimental development.

For industrial research 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

This competition is the first portion of innovation funding as part of the clean and flexible energy or ‘Faraday’ Challenge.

Projects must support the overall goal of the UK to becoming a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles.

In line with the objectives of the Faraday Challenge, we are looking to fund projects that address the following technical and supply chain challenges:

  • cost: cost reduction at the cell and pack level
  • energy density: increasing Wh/kg per cell
  • power density: increasing kW/kg per pack
  • safety: eliminate thermal runaway risks for enhanced safety
  • temperature: broaden the temperature ranges at which a pack efficiently operates
  • predictability: new models to better predict range and battery health
  • recyclability: towards 95% pack recyclability
  • cell and pack production: innovation in cell, module and pack production
  • battery as a system: battery management systems and integration of cells into modules, packs and vehicles
  • projects that stimulate and broaden innovation in the materials, manufacturing, recycling and charging times of cells, modules and packs

Innovate UK will fund a range of projects that address identified technical or commercial challenges of the electrified vehicle battery supply.

Pure business model (such as non-technical) innovation in these areas is also in scope.

Successful projects will increase productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK businesses.

Total environmental impact should be a key consideration for all projects.

Innovation is required to grow UK battery manufacturing to be highly productive with excellent material efficiency. This is while sustaining our competitiveness in the long term.

For example, this may be achieved by:

  • developing more flexible and efficient processes
  • developing processes that enable faster and greater customisation of product to satisfy customer demands
  • developing materials for ease of manufacture
  • addressing the manufacturing readiness of products
  • developing materials for electrified vehicle performance specifications
  • diversifying product and service lines to address future requirements
  • developing novel services and/or business models, that open up new sources of revenue

Innovation projects need to clearly demonstrate how they draw on UK fundamental research. Following project success, they should show how they can be scaled via the Advanced Propulsion Centre, or taken to market by industry. We are keen to support innovation projects that build on the most promising and successful fundamental research that has already been proven by the research base.

On-highway vehicles category L, M or N, and off highway vehicle applications, are in scope.

We encourage a range of projects that cover both niche and main stream vehicle applications.

Projects which also address other vehicle types, are in scope if they:

  • closely resemble the future requirements of the high volume automotive applications
  • present a diversification opportunity for the supply chain

Small volume battery requirements for other vehicles outside those listed are however, out of scope unless there is an outstanding clear benefit for automotive electric vehicles.
Innovate UK reserves the right to apply a portfolio approach.

Specific competition themes

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • show a clear path towards manufacture and commercial opportunity, at scale, in the UK
  • build on successful fundamental research already completed, in partnership with the UK’s research base
  • focus on maximising UK return from the battery supply value chain, for example in the manufacture and IP related to electrodes
  • support all aspects of the UK’s automotive sector battery supply chain, including niche vehicles and off highway
  • have a clear focus on commercialisation in the UK at high volume

25 July 2017
Competition opens
3 August 2017
View the recording of the briefing event in Birmingham.
8 August 2017
Webinar briefing - watch the recording.
10 August 2017
Briefing event in London.
11 August 2017
Briefing event in Newcastle.
14 September 2017 12:00pm
Competition closes
6 October 2017
Invite to interview sent.
9 October 2017
Feedback to applicant.
16 October 2017
Feedback response, presentation and submission of attendee names.
26 October 2017
Interview period begins.
3 November 2017
Interview period ends.
3 September 2018 12:05pm
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.

Watch the recording of the online briefing event (available under the dates tab) for more information about the application process.

Research organisations

Research organisations may participate in applications as collaborators. In this competition research and technology organisations may also lead a collaborative project subject to the eligibility criteria and rules.

There are specific rules for research partners which limit the amount of involvement a research organisation may have in your project. The participation rule will be set out in the eligibility criteria for the competition.

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

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. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding. Innovate UK will provide feedback if we decide that your project is not in scope.

2. Application questions

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

Question 1: Need or challenge

What is the business need, supply chain and technological challenge behind your innovation?

  • describe the main motivation for the project; the business need, supply chain or technological challenge and market opportunity
  • describe the nearest current state-of-the-art (including those near-market or in development or outside the UK) 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 how you meet the wider economic, environmental, and global challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity

Question 2: Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the technical innovation, business model innovation or supply chain development be?

  • explain how you propose to respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • explain how it will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • 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 the technology readiness level at the start of the project and the expected level at the end
  • explain how this project fits with your current capabilities/product/services
  • explain how it will make your consortia and the UK more competitive
  • describe the nature of the outputs you expect from the project for example, report, demonstrator, supply chain, know-how, new process, product or service design. How will these will 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 size to support your answer.

Question 4: Market awareness

What does the addressable market you are targeting look like? We understand the global strategic case for electric vehicles and batteries, so this answer should focus on your consortia’s attainable market.

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

For the target markets, describe:

  • the size of the target markets segments 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
  • 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 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 your route to market
  • tell us about any direct supply chain development in the UK and any re-shoring of manufacturing
  • tell us how you are going to profit from the innovation (increased revenues or cost reduction)
  • 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, reshoring of manufacturing and import substitution. Please be specific to your consortia rather than referring to generic global opportunities for electric vehicle battery production.

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

  • jobs (safeguarded, created, changed, displaced)
  • education and skills development related to battery technologies
  • wider supply chain development outside of the project itself

Identify, and where possible measure, any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative directly attributable to the project.

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

3. Finances

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.


Research and development applications that are successful at the written stage will be invited to attend an interview. Presentations should be a maximum of 30 minutes in length, with a maximum of 30 free-format slides. This will be followed by 40 minutes of questions and answers, with the potential for an additional 10 minute interview following 10 minutes of assessor discussion.

Presentations should use Microsoft PowerPoint, 4:3 aspect ratio. Please do not include any video or embedded web links.

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 may be made to the presentation after this date.

A maximum of 9 attendees from your project may attend the interview panel. Please submit names to Innovate UK prior to 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 around the questions in the application form, and your response to feedback.

You may provide a written supplementary response to the assessor feedback ahead of 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 intended 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.

Background and further information

The Faraday Challenge is a part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. This is part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years.

The Fund is being administered by Innovate UK and the Research Councils.

It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

The Faraday Challenge is an investment of £246 million over 4 years. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy; to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles.

Batteries for future electrified vehicles are recognised as a major global opportunity for the UK.

Around 50% of the value of future vehicles will be related to the battery and its supporting systems. Future investment decisions around battery development and their manufacture in the UK will likely influence significant wider investment decisions by OEMs, including vehicle production. The complete supply chain for batteries at scale for the automotive sector does not yet fully exist, representing an opportunity for the UK.

The UK manufactures over 2 million engines per year currently, employing large numbers of highly skilled workers. It is widely thought that the number of internal combustion engines will reduce over time as the automotive sector moves towards electrified vehicles.

The UK now has the ecosystem to place itself as a leader in future battery research, innovation and high volume manufacturing for the global automotive market.

The Faraday Challenge represents a completely joined up national innovation system. It starts with EPSRC universities Battery Institute and competitive calls for application inspired fundamental research at low TRL, dovetailing to this Innovation competition at mid TRL and pushing up higher TRLs towards commercialisation with APC Scale Up funding. The Advanced Propulsion Centre and Innovate UK are delivering the parallel Scale Up competition to establish a National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility.

Faraday Challenge: Application Inspired Fundamental Research

Faraday Challenge: Innovation – Feasibility Studies

Faraday Challenge: Scale Up - National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility

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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