Funding competition Driving the electric revolution: accelerated supply chain development, strand 1

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £19 million across 2 strands for collaborative projects that develop supply chains for power electronics, machines and drives in the UK. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £19 million across 2 strands in innovation projects to support the creation, development and scale up of supply chains in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) in the UK. This is the first competition as part of a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund: Driving the Electric Revolution.

The aim is to support the transition towards a low carbon future in transport, energy and industry. This competition will fund business-led projects that enable electrification through the development of UK supply chains for PEMD.

Your proposal should clearly state how your project will develop PEMD supply chains in the UK. This can be by filling gaps in current UK based supply of PEMD components or scaling up existing supply chains through innovation.

This competition is split into 2 strands.

  1. Strand 1: projects with total eligible project costs between £1 million and £3 million.
  2. Strand 2: projects with total project costs between £250,000 and £1 million.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs for strand 1 must be between £1 million and £3 million.

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 £1 million and £3 million.

Your project's total eligible costs must be at least 50% match funded. We are particularly interested in including projects that provide greater than 50% match funding in our portfolio. This will enable the challenge to reach its overall spend profile target. This is explained further in how to apply.

In addition to the match funding, projects must also state in their bids how much follow on investment is expected in the 24 months following project completion and how this will be reported to Innovate UK.

We are only looking to fund projects that can start rapidly. Projects must start within 3 months of notification. They can last up to 12 months.

If your project’s total eligible costs fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

Project team

To collaborate with the lead your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Previous applications


You can use a resubmission to apply for this competition. A resubmission is a proposal Innovate UK judges as not materially different from one you've submitted before. It can be updated based on the assessors' feedback.

If you submit a new proposal this time you will be able to use it in no more than one future competition that allows resubmissions.

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole organisation 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, and communicate it 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.


We have allocated up to £19 million to fund innovation projects across 2 strands in this competition.

Driving the Electric Revolution has been set a target by government to attract £154 million of industry investment over its lifetime into the projects it funds. Your project's total eligible costs must be 50% match funded as a minimum. Of that 50% individual partners can claim a percentage of grant funding based on the type of organisation.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding 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 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 is shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, 'Aid for research and development projects’, of 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 fill gaps in the UK component supply chain for PEMD and develop innovative manufacturing and process solutions to enable capability in the UK supply chain.

As part of the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge, we are looking for supply chain focused projects. These projects should address clear and immediate commercial opportunities in PEMD in the 7 sectors:

  1. Aerospace
  2. Automotive
  3. Energy (generation and distribution)
  4. Industrial (production equipment, robots to lighting)
  5. Marine
  6. Off highway (construction, agriculture equipment)
  7. Rail

Your proposal and your consortium must demonstrate clearly how you can deliver an improved supply chain as a result of the project.

The competition is not about technology development at a component level. Other funding programmes exist to support that type of innovation. . Projects that develop solutions for more than one sector are encouraged but it is not a fixed requirement.

Your project must build a credible and scalable supply chain in the UK, or demonstrate an improvement in an existing one.

  1. PEMD is a set of cross-sectoral technologies used to change fossil fuel-based systems into electric systems, powered by battery or some other electrical source.
  2. Power electronics refers to components used to control and convert electrical power, such as from direct to alternating current or from higher to lower voltages and vice versa.
  3. Electric machines are devices which convert electrical energy into mechanical work and vice versa, for example, electric motors and generators.
  4. Drives refers to the combined control electronics, software and power electronics used to integrate the systems.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of process technologies and markets.

Specific themes

Your project can focus one or more of the following:

  1. Power electronics: passive components production, productivity improvements and supply chain efficiency, such as solutions that address solving supply chain bottle necks or automation.
  2. Electric machines, generators and motors: automated stator winding, materials recovery from end of life, raw materials refining, stamping and lamination stack productivity improvements, advanced testing and so on.
  3. Drive systems: systems integration and testing.
  4. Projects that consider PEMD supply chain gaps, from raw materials to recycling.

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects that provide less than 50% match funding of total eligible costs
  • projects not focused on PEMD supply chains in the UK
  • projects that cannot start within 3 months from notification and be completed in 12 months
  • projects that focus on component technology development for PEMD, such as projects that develop new technology concepts for electric motors

29 July 2019
Competition opens
30 July 2019
Newport briefing event
8 August 2019
Belfast briefing event
15 August 2019
Glasgow briefing event
20 August 2019
Newcastle briefing event
25 September 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
1 November 2019
Invite to interview
18 November 2019
to 22 November: interview panel
6 December 2019 3:08pm
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.

Your project will be independently assessed and scored by 5 expert reviewers at both the written and interview stages. A panel comprising of senior UKRI officials and independent experts will review the scores and recommendations of the interview panel. Successful projects will be selected from those applications that score above an agreed quality threshold to ensure that the strategic outcomes of the challenge are best achieved.

The panel will take the following into consideration:

  • how the projects contribute to the overall targets for the challenge, including achieving the levels of match funding provided by industry
  • the spread of projects across the 7 sectors outlined in the scope
  • ensuring a spread of projects that address a range of gaps in the UK's PEMD supply chain


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

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

  • must send a list of who will attend the interview
  • must send your interview presentation slides
  • can send a written response to the assessors’ feedback

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 9 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 20 minutes
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it.

Written response to 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
  • include charts or diagrams


After your presentation the panel will spend 40 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

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

1. Project details

This section sets the scene for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. Is the application a resubmission?

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 experts to assess your application.

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. 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.


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. You will receive feedback from them for each one.

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

Question 1. Growth and objectives

How will your project help grow the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) supply chain in the UK and contribute to the overall objectives of the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge?

Specific to power electronics, machines and drives, what is the business need, supply chain gap or barrier, technological or manufacturing process challenge or market opportunity behind your project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project and why it will be transformative for the consortium members
  • the clear commercial opportunity you are targeting and how you will achieve it
  • the business need, manufacturing or technological challenge or market opportunity
  • how you currently fit into the PEMD supply chain in the UK and what this project will do to enhance your position and capabilities
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and their limitations
  • the customer pull or demand
  • how your project could have benefits across the 7 sectors identified in the brief
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one

You must submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 2. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be? How will your approach address and fill gaps in the UK PEMD supply chain?

Describe or explain:

  • the supply chain gap and/or manufacturing process challenge or barrier your project will tackle
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • how your approach fits with your customers’ requirements and needs
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing processes in new areas to create or enhance UK supply chains, the development of new manufacturing technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how the project will enhance the manufacturing and technical maturity of the technology
  • how this builds on previous R&D investments
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs and deliverables 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 must submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long. 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
  • how the project team is the right team to deliver the supply chain benefits expected by the project
  • 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 roles you will need to recruit for

You must submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Market awareness

What does the specific market and supply chain you are targeting look like? Explain the PEMD markets your innovation is targeting. We do not need a high level summary of the UK’s appetite for PEMD and the strategic case as this is well understood, please be specific to your project only.

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 current supply chain, in the UK and overseas, and how your project enhances UK capability and offering
  • 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 is your project going to fill gaps in the PEMD supply chain in the UK and create a scalable supply chain? How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

The highest marks will be given to projects that provide the strongest evidence on growing the UK supply chain.

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 must 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. 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 you will manage this
  • the risks associated with the post project investment you require to further exploit the outcomes of the project, including how these will be mitigated

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 pages long. 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 a faster route to market, more partners or reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • the effect on the UK supply chain
  • 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 eligible project costs and the grant you are requesting in terms of the project goals
  • how each partner 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

You must submit one appendix to answer the following question. This is not scored by the assessors but is a requirement for your application. What post-project investment will occur within 24 months of project completion as a result of the Innovate UK funding? The post project investment is expected to be further cash investment by the consortium partners in new equipment, premises and/or staff. It must be reportable to Innovate UK as it will be measured if you are successful. Please include in a table how this investment is profiled per Innovate UK financial year (ending 31 March) and how you will raise this investment.

You must submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academic institutions 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 Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The fund is being administered by UK Research and Innovation.

The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge is an investment of £80 million over 4 years. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. It aims to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of power electronic, machines and drives (PEMD) for across 7 sectors.

The challenge will create world leading supply chains in the UK and expertise for the manufacture of Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD).

These products are used throughout the economy in diverse applications, the challenge will focus on seven sectors which all have similar requirements:

  1. Aerospace
  2. Automotive
  3. Energy (generation and distribution)
  4. Industrial (production equipment, robots to lighting)
  5. Marine
  6. Off highway (construction, agriculture equipment)
  7. Rail

The UK is working to meet its carbon reduction targets agreed nationally and internationally. As part of this it will require electrification in many sectors, which this challenge will directly support and enable. Developing this competency in the manufacture of PEMD in the UK will drive demand for £5 billion more PEMD by 2025 and up to £80 billion by 2050, creating growth and highly skilled jobs across the UK.

The challenge will be delivered over the next 4 years via 3 main pillars of activity:

  1. £19 million for projects to fill gaps in the PEMD supply chain and deliver quick benefits to the UK’s economy.
  2. £35 million investment in 3 regional centres of excellence in PEMD, based at existing areas of expertise. These Regional Centres will support R&D and enable businesses and researchers to develop and scale new PEMD technologies and manufacturing processes.
  3. £20 million programme of collaborative research funding to help businesses create future supply chains in both the high volume and low volume PEMD supply chains that are needed by the sectors mentioned above. These projects will develop innovative new processes for the next generation of PEMD technologies.

Innovate UK is required to conduct impact evaluation of activities across all funded projects. This is for accountability purposes and to inform future programme design. Project participants will be required to provide data on their organisation and grant-funded activities throughout the duration of the funded project and afterwards. Details will be provided when you receive your grant offer letter if you are successful.

Successful projects are expected to attend cohort meetings with other projects funded by the Challenge to share non-commercially sensitive results and best practice, and to foster further collaboration.

Extra help

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

If you need more information, email us at or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

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