Funding competition ISCF transforming foundation industries: fast start projects

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of £5 million for fast start projects to improve the resource and energy efficiency of foundation industries. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £5 million in innovation projects for the foundation industries. These will be cross-sector, collaborative, fast start, short duration, industrial research and development (R&D) projects.

The aim of this competition is to bring businesses from different foundation industries together to work on common resource and energy efficiency opportunities. Your project can focus on any part of the manufacturing process, including:

  • feedstock inputs
  • production
  • material product development

Your consortium must include at least 2 businesses representing at least 2 sectors in the foundation industries (cement, glass, ceramics, paper, metals and bulk chemicals).

Your project must not focus on fuel switching or technologies for the capture of emissions, such as carbon capture and storage.

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 £50,000 and £500,000.

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 must:

  • have total eligible costs between £50,000 and £500,000
  • be collaborative
  • last between 3 and 12 months and be ready to start in July 2020

If your project’s total eligible 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. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You do not need to be in the foundation industries to lead the consortium.

Project team

Whether a business of any size your consortium must include:

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, 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
  • enter its costs in the Innovation Funding Service

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

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 have submitted before. It can be updated based on the assessors' feedback.

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 your 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 £5 million to fund collaborative research and development projects in this competition.

If your organisation is primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (‘selective advantage’) as part of the project you must ensure your request for funding does not exceed the limits defined below. This includes organisations that typically act non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

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

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

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 organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity in your consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, 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

This competition aims to bring together businesses from different sectors within the foundation industries (cement, paper, glass, ceramics, metals and bulk chemicals) to work on common resource and energy efficiency challenges. It will fund cross-sector and collaborative research and development projects aimed at improving the productivity and competitiveness of the sectors’ companies and supply chains, and encourage companies to stay in the UK.

Your project can focus on any part of the manufacturing process, including:

  • feedstock inputs
  • production
  • material product development

For example, you can include efficient use of feedstock, alternative feedstocks, waste utilisation, optimised processes, heat recovery, new resource efficient products, greater recycling of waste or industrial symbiosis.

Your project can also include techno-economic assessment of new products, services and business models.

Your proposal must:

  • address one or more resource or energy efficiency challenges that are common to more than one of the 6 target sectors
  • indicate how your project will help the UK’s foundation industries remain competitive

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

Specific themes

The technical scope of the competition is broad, encompassing any resource or energy efficiency activity for the foundation industries. Examples of foundation industries cross-sectoral challenges include:

  • energy costs and optimisation such as heat or energy recovery and reuse
  • process measurement, optimisation and digitisation, such as sensor technology or digital tools
  • waste recycling, utilisation and symbiosis, such as reuse of waste or industrial symbiosis
  • new product and service development, such as new materials, new materials-based products and services, or new business models

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • focus on fuel switching or greenhouse gas capture technology
  • do not focus on foundation industries and their immediate supply chains
  • are only applicable to one foundation industry
  • respond only to the skills needs of foundation industries
  • are capital or infrastructure projects
28 October 2019
Competition opens
14 November 2019
London briefing event
20 November 2019
Wales briefing event
21 November 2019
Northern Ireland briefing event
27 November 2019
Glasgow briefing event
28 November 2019
Sheffield briefing event
10 December 2019
Online briefing event
5 February 2020 12:00pm
Competition closes
20 March 2020
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.

Scope

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 400 words long.

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 technology, 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 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 you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art technology 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, such as 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 diagrams or other visuals in one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 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
  • 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 explain the roles and experience of the main people involved in the project. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 A4 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 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 improve productivity and competitiveness of the companies and supply chains 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
  • any expected impact on improving industry diversity, such as gender, geography, specialism fields, ethnic background and so on

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 A4 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

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 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
  • 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

Question 11. Skills

How will the project contribute to the skills of the partners’ employees and the overall foundation industries?

Describe or explain:

  • how many people are likely to gain new skills
  • what roles they might have

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

If you want help to find a project partner, 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 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Help from Enterprise Europe Network

Upon award you will be contacted by your local Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Innovation Adviser, acting on behalf of Innovate UK, who will discuss the growth opportunities for your business and offer bespoke business support services to help you maximise your project and business potential.

This service forms part of your Innovate UK offer under our commitment to help UK SMEs to grow and scale. It is only available to SMEs. Please engage positively with your EEN contact so that, working together, you can determine the most appropriate form of growth support for your business.

Need help with this service? Contact us