Funding competition Bilateral UK and US offshore wind R&D programme, EoI

Express an interest in applying for a share of up to £1.5 million from the bilateral Innovate UK and US national offshore wind programme to tackle 9 challenge areas.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1.5 million in UK companies partnering with US consortia to work on projects as part of the $40 million US National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium programme (NOWRDC).

Nine challenge areas have been identified which aim to reduce the cost and risk of offshore wind development projects throughout the US.

This is the expression of interest phase of the UK competition. There are 3 phases:

  1. UK expression of interest (EoI): applications are reviewed by Innovate UK.
  2. NOWRDC application: UK applicants join a US-based consortium to apply via the NYSERDA solicitation process.
  3. UK full stage competition: you will be invited to apply only if you are successful in this UK EoI phase.

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

Funding type

Grant

Project size

There is no funding for this EoI. If invited to apply into the main competition, your UK project’s total eligible costs must be between £150,000 and £600,000.

Who can apply

You must have a successful application in this UK EoI before you can be invited to apply to the UK full stage competition (phase 3).

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.

UK lead organisation

When you apply to the full stage Innovate UK competition your application must have a UK lead to claim funding from Innovate UK and manage the UK deliverables within the US project. Your EoI application also needs a lead partner.

You can choose to be the only UK partner in a US-led collaborative project or collaborate with other UK partners. To be the only UK partner, you must be a UK registered SME.

To lead the UK application your organisation must:

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

UK organisations cannot lead an application to NYSERDA (phase 2).

UK project team

To collaborate with the UK lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter its costs in the Innovation Funding Service

You can add partners to the main UK competition application (phase 3) that you have not included in this EoI application.

The UK part of 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 UK total eligible project costs.

Multiple applications (UK organisations)

Any one business or RTO can lead on one Innovate UK application and collaborate in further 2 applications.

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

If an RTO is not the lead on any application, they can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

Resubmissions (UK organisations)

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 (UK organisations)

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 (UK organisations)

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.

Your UK full stage competition application and project

If invited to apply for the UK full stage competition, your combined UK total eligible project costs must be between £150,000 and £600,000.

Projects must start by 1 November 2020 and end by 31 December 2022. They must last between 12 and 24 months.

To be awarded funding in the UK full stage competition you must be part of a US consortium that has been awarded funding through the NYSERDA solicitation process.

If the UK part of your project’s total eligible project 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.

Funding

We have allocated up to £1.5 million to fund UK 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

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

The research organisations in your UK 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, development and innovation’, 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

Expression of interest proposal

The aim of this competition is to fund UK organisations to work collaboratively with a US consortium, to reduce the technical barriers faced by offshore wind developers, original equipment manufacturers and the supply chain. The focus is on reducing barriers that stop the use of offshore wind technologies, including cost.

UK applications to be involved in US projects must meet the NYSERDA scope, one or more of the 3 ‘research pillars’ and one or more of the 9 challenge areas outlined below.

To help UK applicants find US partners and projects, NYSERDA, Innovate UK and the KTN will run online matchmaking events.

UK full stage competition proposal

You must submit details of your original UK EoI. You must also submit:

  • detailed UK deliverables
  • a project plan
  • a list of UK partners
  • a list of UK project finances
  • a copy of your project submission (or intention to submit) to NYSERDA

Your summary submission must outline:

  • the wider US consortium partners
  • the wider US work programme
  • how UK deliverables contribute to the larger US project
  • the main US project milestones

We will monitor changes between your UK EoI and UK full stage competition submissions. We will not accept unjustified large changes in the scope.

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

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the 3 research pillars outlined in the US National Offshore Wind Roadmap:

  1. Offshore wind plant technology advancement.
  2. Offshore wind power resource and physical site characterisation.
  3. Installation, operations and maintenance, and supply chain.

Your project must also focus on one or more of the challenge areas outlined in the current NYSERDA solicitation at the time you apply to Innovate UK and to NYSERDA. Future versions of the NYSERDA solicitation may add, amend or remove challenge areas. It is your responsibility to ensure your project is relevant to at least one active challenge area on the day you apply.

There are currently 9 NYSERDA challenge areas:

  1. Array performance and control optimisation.
  2. Cost-reducing turbine support structures for the US market.
  3. Floating structure mooring concepts for shallow and deep waters.
  4. Power system design and innovation.
  5. Comprehensive wind resource assessment.
  6. Development of a metocean reference site.
  7. Heavy lift vessel alternatives.
  8. Offshore wind digitisation through advanced analytics.
  9. Technology solutions to accelerate US supply chain.

Research categories

We will fund feasibility studies, industrial research and experimental development, as defined in the general guidance. We are not funding projects which involve fundamental research.

In developing a submission to the NYSERDA competition, you must also refer to the US funding categories as outlined in the NYSERDA solicitation.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding any technologies and types of project which are not covered in the NYSERDA solicitation.

4 November 2019
Competition opens
8 November 2019
Online briefing event
15 November 2019
Online briefing event, 4pm: register
15 January 2020 12:00pm
Competition closes
14 February 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 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.

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.

List any organisations you have named as UK partners and, if known at this UK EoI stage, the US partners you will apply with to the NYSERDA application and work with in the project.

Your answer can be up to 800 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 except for questions 6 and 7. You will receive feedback for questions 1 to 5.

Your answer to each question can be up to 800 words long. Do not include any links to website addresses in your answers.

Question 1. Business opportunity

What is the business opportunity that your project addresses and what is the size of the potential market?

Describe:

  • the business opportunity identified and how you plan to take advantage of it
  • how it is done today and the limits of current practice
  • the customer needs that have been identified and how the project will meet them
  • the challenges you expect to face and how you will overcome them
  • the target market, and how the outputs from this project are required to progress or achieve strategic targets
  • the growth opportunity your project will create

You can submit charts or diagrams as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF up to 2 A4 pages. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 2. Exploitation and dissemination

How will you exploit and disseminate your project results? What economic, social and environmental benefits do you expect your project to deliver, and when?

Consider:

  • expected project outputs, including products, services, processes and capabilities
  • your initial exploitation plan: the route to market, intellectual property, changes to business models or processes, research and development (R&D), and manufacturing services
  • spill-over or dissemination of ideas, demonstrating how your activities will contribute to the wider energy sector and other sectors

Question 3. Innovation

What is innovative about your project?

Explain:

  • what challenge or challenges you intend to address
  • which research pillar or pillars will be the focus of your project
  • how it will push boundaries beyond current leading-edge science and technology
  • how it will apply existing technologies in new areas
  • what competitors are doing, and how they are trying to achieve the same outputs
  • how and why any intellectual property (IP) from the project will be free from restriction and readily exploited
  • how the research is novel in an industrial and/or academic context

You may submit a table as an appendix in a single PDF of up to 1 A4 page to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom. In your table list the technology, why it is innovative, and the change in technology or manufacturing readiness at the start and end of the project

Question 4. Skills, experience and facilities

Does your proposed project team have the right skills, experience and facilities to deliver this project?

Demonstrate that the likely project team:

  • has the right mix of skills and experience to complete the project
  • has a track record in managing research and development projects
  • has international experience of working on collaborative R&D projects
  • has experience of international partnering and/or commercialising technologies internationally
  • has clear objectives and roles or responsibilities
  • includes project partners with clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

Question 5. Adding value

How does financial support from the NYSERDA-Innovate UK programme add value to the UK? What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Describe or explain:

  • why you need this funding
  • what other sources of funding have been considered, including private investment, and why it is not available
  • what will happen to the project in the absence of funding

Describe and provide evidence for what will occur if the application for funding is not successful.

Question 6. Company registration number

This question is not scored.

Please enter your company registration number so we can verify you are eligible for funding in the UK.

Question 7. Finances

This question is not scored.

Provide us with estimates of all UK partners’ eligible costs and the funding you are seeking.

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.

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