Funding competition Transforming UK construction round 2: MMC, digital and whole-life performance

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million for collaborative R&D projects that improve productivity, quality and performance in UK construction.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


Innovate UK, part of UKRI, will invest up to £10 million in UK businesses undertaking collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects. Such projects should go beyond the state-of-the-art in improving productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.

This funding is from the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, part of the Construction Sector Deal.

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes:

  • digital information management, tools, systems and standards
  • modern methods of construction (MMC) and platform based approaches
  • whole-life asset performance, including active buildings
  • business models, procurement, analytics, benchmarking and metrics
  • financial, assurance, warranty and lending products

You should demonstrate how your project will deliver on the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund themes and the commitments detailed in the Construction Sector Deal. This must include significant industry investment (some exclusions will apply, refer to Projects we will not fund). Applicants should state how their projects will support the objectives of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) strategy or the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) as appropriate.

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

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £150,000 and £1.5 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 £150,000 and £1.5 million.

If your project’s total eligible costs fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to by Friday 27 September 2019 at the latest. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Your project must start on 1 April 2020 and end by 31 March 2022. Projects should last between 12 and 24 months. The duration of your project cannot exceed 24 months under any circumstances.

Projects longer than 12 months should incur and claim the greater proportion of project costs in the 2020/2021 financial year. Your project’s spend profile is part of the assessment criteria.

You are expected to work closely with and share information with programme stakeholders. You are strongly advised to liaise with the Construction Innovation Hub and/or the Active Building Centre as appropriate before submitting an application.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, research organisation, public sector organisation, academic institution or charity
  • 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 organisation

Partners with no funding

The lead organisation and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter their costs as part of the application.

Your project 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 or RTO can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading an application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

If an RTO is:

  • the lead on an application it must collaborate with 2 businesses (one SME, and one other business of any size)
  • not the lead on any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications.

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 have submitted before. It can be updated based on the assessors' feedback. You must state in your application whether it is a resubmission and include the previous application number.

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 must 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.


Innovate UK have allocated up to £10 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

This competition is not supporting feasibility studies.

Your proposal must show how you will help to deliver the sector commitments detailed in the Construction Sector Deal, including demonstrating any additional industry leverage funding.

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 R&D 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 invest in innovative projects that go beyond the current state-of-the-art. Projects must result in practical and close-to-market solutions that will improve productivity, quality and performance in the UK construction sector.

Your project must:

  • show how you will assist delivery of the sector commitments detailed in the Construction Sector Deal including demonstrating industry leverage funding
  • support the objectives of the TIP strategy and/or TIES as appropriate
  • take a cyber-security and safety minded approach and use PAS 1192-5 and PAS1192-6 where applicable

The Transforming Construction Challenge has several stakeholders and activities that are complementary to the programme. Applicants are strongly advised to liaise with relevant stakeholders as part of the application process. Successful projects will be expected to work with these stakeholders, which include:

For more information see the Transforming Construction Challenge page from UKRI.

The Construction Leadership Council has provided resources you could use within your project, in particular Smart Construction Dashboards, Smart Construction Case Studies and Centres of Excellence.

For housing related projects, a House of Commons select committee has published a report into the impact of MMC on housing provision.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, scope areas, spend profiles and research categories.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of these themes:

Digital methods

Technology to deliver better, more certain results during the design, construction and operation of a building or infrastructure asset. These must increase asset availability, lifespan and maximise performance.

Modern methods of construction (MMC) and platform based approaches

Products, services and methods to increase the pre-manufactured value (PMV) of construction projects using MMC. This includes the preferred approach to building infrastructure, called a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA). This is a modern method of construction which is a specific form of design for manufacture and assembly.

Approaches must show an increase in productivity and delivery, minimise inefficiencies, waste and delays, and enable production in parallel with site preparation.

Projects addressing these themes must demonstrate compatibility with platform approaches already developed under the programme and specified by the Department for Education. You must communicate with the Construction Innovation Hub and its partners to determine this.

Whole-life performance

Shifting focus from the costs of construction to the value of a building or asset across its entire life-cycle, particularly in relation to the use of energy.

Business models, procurement, analytics, benchmarking and metrics

New business models and procurement methods. These enable the transformation of the sector towards MMC, supported by analytics of demand and supply chain capacity, benchmarking and sector metrics.

Financial, assurance, warranty and lending

New products to assure lending and warranty provision across buildings, homes and infrastructure that use MMC. Services and products that increase the adoption of MMC and encourage whole-life performance.

We welcome innovative and ambitious partnerships, and encourage teams to include:

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

6 August 2019
Overview webinar
28 August 2019
Competition opens
4 September 2019
London briefing event
4 September 2019
Recording of briefing event.
5 September 2019
Cardiff briefing event
6 September 2019
Birmingham briefing event
10 September 2019
11 September 2019
Belfast briefing event
12 September 2019
Glasgow briefing event
30 October 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
29 November 2019 9:11am
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

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 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

The assessors will score your answers. You will receive feedback from them for each one.

Your answer to each question can be up to 600 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers.

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
  • how it responds to the objectives of the Transforming Construction ISCF Programme
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those also near market or in development, and its limitations
  • 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
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations

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 it addresses the requirements of the Construction Sector Deal, and supports the objectives TIP strategy, TIES and other related activities
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified but still demonstrate practical and close-to-market solutions
  • 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, 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 can include diagrams and charts. 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
  • 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
  • current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • what work you have done with other centres or activities supported under the Transforming Construction ISCF: the Construction Innovation Hub and/or the Active Building Centre, the Construction Leadership Council and its working groups
  • any roles you will need to recruit for

You must submit one appendix to explain how you have worked with the other centres and activities in the Transforming Construction ISCF. It can contain a short summary on the main people working on the project. 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 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 reference to relevant policies, strategies and procurement frameworks
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist and how these are being influenced by current Transforming Construction ISCF activities
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

Question 5. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase UK construction 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
  • if your project is highly innovative describe or explain how you will accelerate its route to market to achieve the competition goals
  • 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
  • a clear plan for how data and intellectual property (IP) will be generated, managed, owned, protected, shared and exploited within the project, in any linked projects, and after the project finishes

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s 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, specifically related to productivity, quality and performance improvements of the UK construction sector
  • 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
  • cyber-security
  • 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, saying which partner is assigned to each and giving its total cost
  • how project spend will be incurred, by quarter for the entire project duration considering for the desired spend profile of the competition
  • 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. The Gantt must show how project spend will be incurred, by quarter for the entire project duration. 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 cyber-security, technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register to support the assessment
  • 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

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:

  • the additional industry based engagement, support and funding leveraged as part of your activity, and quantify it
  • whether 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
  • 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

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete its 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

Transforming Construction is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge fund. The Transforming Construction programme is linked to the Construction Sector Deal and applicants are expected to be familiar with the industry commitments detailed in the deal.

The programme is also linked to the Infrastructure and Project Authorities’ (IPA) Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) strategy. Applicants are expected to be familiar with this strategy and to have engaged with the stakeholders where applicable.

For housing related projects, a House of Commons select committee has published a report into the impact of MMC on housing provision.

Extra help

If you require help to find a project collaborator, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

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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