Funding competition Analysis for innovators round 5: phase 1 expression of interest

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million to address measurement and analysis problems with one or more analysis partner organisations.

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Competition sections

Description

UK Businesses will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £3 million in innovation projects.

The aim of this competition is to match the best UK experts and cutting-edge facilities with companies that have analysis or measurement problems. Your application must describe the problem and estimate the value to your company of solving it.

Successful applicants at this expression of interest (EoI) phase will be invited to brokerage sessions with relevant analysis for innovators (A4I) partners, arranged by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). These will focus on approaches to solve the applicant’s problem.

This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition.

Phase 1 is an expression of interest.

Phase 2 is dependent on the success of phase 1. Successful applicants in phase 1 are invited to work with A4I funding partners to suggest joint projects to develop solutions for phase 2.

There is a similar A4I competition running under de minimis state aid funding which awards eligible project costs between £25,000 and £50,000 for smaller projects up to 3 months.

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

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £25,000 and £300,000.

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 £25,000 and £300,000.

Projects must end by 31 March 2021. They can last between 3 and 12 months.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK based business of any size
  • be prepared to work with and discuss your problem with one or more Analysis for Innovators (A4I) funding partners
  • carry out its project work in the UK

Multiple applications

Any one business can apply into the first stage with up to 2 applications.

Previous applications

Resubmissions

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.

Funding

We have allocated up to £3 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

For feasibility studies and 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

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25 ‘aid for research and development’, 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

Up to £3 million in collaborative innovation projects will be invested by:

  • Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation
  • the National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • the National Measurement Laboratory at LGC
  • the National Engineering Laboratory (NEL) and
  • the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

The aim of this competition is to help businesses address analysis and measurement problems affecting an existing product, process or service. For example, to analyse why a certain percentage defect rate is occurring within an existing production process. These are problems that are best explored by experts and cutting-edge facilities available in the UK.

You must outline what you consider to be the benefits of solving your problem, such as improved productivity or competitiveness.

We will only consider problems that:

  • are related to the measurement or analysis of some quantities or properties of an existing process, product or service
  • are not effectively solvable by simple ‘off the shelf’ methods or techniques

This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2.

In addition to Innovate UK’s standard assessment, experts from the A4I partner organisations will assess whether they have a potential approach to solving your problem.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

In this competition we will not consider problems that:

  • are not measurement or analysis problems
  • we consider to be resolvable with easily available methods, such as those that do not require any innovative or cutting-edge science or facilities
  • are not related to a company’s existing processes, products or services
  • relate to the development of a new product, software application or service

19 July 2019
Teddington roadshow
22 July 2019
Glasgow roadshow
23 July 2019
Oxfordshire roadshow
24 July 2019
Cheshire roadshow
29 July 2019
Competition opens
31 July 2019
London briefing event
31 July 2019
Online briefing event
4 September 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
19 September 2019
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

Brokerage session

If your application is successful at this first phase you will be invited to attend sessions with one or more A4I partner organisations. The invitations will be sent by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

KTN will arrange the initial confidential brokerage sessions between successful applicants and scientists from relevant A4I brokerage partner organisations. Follow-on sessions will include working on any joint project proposals to submit to phase 2 of this competition.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.

1. Project details

Explain what your company does and how the problem you will outline is important to the company. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether your problem 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 application a title which refers to the problem being addressed. Is the application a resubmission?

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Company summary

Describe your company briefly, and be clear about why the problem is of importance. You should include any context about the process, product or service that the problem relates to.

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 problem fits the scope of the competition. If your problem is not in scope it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will give you feedback on why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

Your answers to these questions will be evaluated by experts to determine if they can offer any approaches to solving your problem.

Your answer to questions 1 to 3 can be up to 400 words long. Your answer to question 4 can be up to 50 words long.Do not include any URLs in your answers except for the link to your video.

Question 1. Problem

What is the measurement or analysis problem that you need to solve?

Summarise:

  • what the core of the problem is
  • what your major challenges are in understanding this problem
  • any important aspects of the problem that you were unable to show in the video submission

Question 2. Previous attempts to solve the problem

What methods or techniques have you previously tried to solve the problem?

Describe or explain:

  • what you did to understand or address the problem
  • what success or otherwise you had when trying to address the problem

Question 3. Value to your business of solving the problem

What difference will it make to your business if you can solve this problem?

Describe or explain:

  • what you estimate the value of the benefit to be (in £) if this problem is solved
  • how you arrived at this estimate
  • what components contribute to this benefit estimate in terms of productivity and competitiveness gains, such as savings in waste, higher quality products or services, or increased sales or market share

We want to balance helping the most businesses with making the most impact with the money available. Assessors are looking for realistic values here, not necessarily the biggest numbers.

Question 4. Link and password to access your video

Please carefully paste in the URL of the Vimeo video you have made to describe or show your problem. Carefully type the password required to access the video (specifying case-sensitive characters accurately). Applications without a video are ineligible for this competition.

Background and further information

Analysis for Innovators (A4I) is a very different type of programme from Innovate UK’s usual grant funding competitions. It is focused on helping individual companies solve tricky and perhaps long running technical problems affecting existing processes, products or services.

The programme’s aim is to help boost a company’s productivity or competitiveness. It achieves this by bringing the UK’s top scientists and facilities, often otherwise inaccessible, together with companies to address problems in innovative ways.

The A4I programme has run successfully 4 times before in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This fifth round of the programme builds upon that experience. It focuses on scaling up both:

  • the number of successful relationships brokered between UK companies and the UK’s centres of expertise in measurement and analysis
  • the grant-funding of follow-on projects addressing the problems raised

If you want help with this specific competition, email nigel.rix@ktn-uk.org at the Knowledge Transfer Network in the first instance.

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

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