Funding competition Demonstrators addressing cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things: round 2

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative R&D projects addressing major cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK is to invest up to £4 million in collaborative, business led research and development (R&D) projects. These projects should result in a new product or products, industrial process or service, which must be proven in as part of a demonstrator.

This funding is from UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).

The aim of this competition is to solve industry-focused major cyber security-related challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT). We will show preference to projects that include a plan to test near-to-market interventions and experiments in real environments.

Your proposal must address one of the following 2 themes:

  1. Cyber resilient IoT systems for critical national infrastructures.
  2. Secure and energy-efficient IoT systems in resource-constrained environments.

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 £2 million and £4 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 £2 million and £4 million and you can claim a maximum of £2 million grant funding.

Projects must start by 1 October 2020 and end by 30 September 2022. They can last between 18 and 24 months.

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 working 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
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • involve at least one academic partner
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results in or from the UK

Project team

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, public sector organisation or third sector organisation (such as charities or community groups), 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.

Partners with no funding

Projects can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Multiple applications

Any one business can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. If a business is not leading an application, they can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

An academic institution or RTO cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of 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 have 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
  • 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 £4 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Organisations that are primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (known as selective advantage) as part of the project must ensure their 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

You can request a maximum grant of £2 million. You will need to make sure the total funding sought column in the finance summary in your application reflects this.

The research organisations in your consortium undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% 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, ‘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:

  • solve major industry-focused cyber security-related challenges in the Internet of Things (see ‘Specific themes’ below)
  • transfer world-leading knowledge from the UK research base to UK industry
  • develop a new product or products, industrial process or service, and intellectual property (IP), which must be proven as part of a demonstrator
  • address technological, societal and business challenges

Your proposal must:

  • focus on cyber security for IoT systems
  • include artificial intelligence, including machine learning, among the demonstrator’s objectives
  • include a plan to test near-to-market interventions and experiments in real environments
  • show how the product or products, industrial process or service can be commercialised
  • show a balance between technical, social and economic impact

Your project could include complementary technologies such as distributed ledger technologies or applications of 5G mobile networks.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects within this competition. The portfolio will be spread across a range of scope areas and also take into account the previous competition’s results.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one of the following 2 themes:

  1. Cyber resilient IoT systems for critical national infrastructures.
  2. Secure and energy-efficient IoT systems in resource-constrained environments.

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 cover:

  • the use or development of quantum technologies, including quantum key distribution
  • the development of new network infrastructure such as 5G
  • the creation of new facilities

27 January 2020
Competition opens
4 February 2020
London briefing event: view the recording
4 February 2020
Online briefing event: view the recording
20 February 2020

Manchester briefing event: register to attend

25 February 2020
Cardiff briefing event: register to attend
15 April 2020 12:00pm
Competition closes
22 May 2020
Invite to interview
8 June 2020
Interview panel
9 June 2020
Interview panel
19 June 2020
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

Interviews

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

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 5 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
  • have no more than 20 slides
  • 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

Interview

After your presentation the panel will spend 30 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. List any organisations you have named as collaborators.

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 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 website addresses 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
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, 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, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

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 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 (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 including charts and diagrams to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB. 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
  • (if your project is collaborative) 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 can submit one appendix describing the skills and experience of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB. 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 be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your 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
  • 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 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB. 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 can 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

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 Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) is managed by UKRI to:

  • encourage high quality multi- and interdisciplinary research and innovation
  • ensure that UKRI’s investment links up effectively with government research priorities and opportunities
  • ensure the system responds to strategic priorities and opportunities

An Internet of Things (IoT) enabled world, where devices, sensors and actuators in our homes, workplaces and infrastructure are connected to the internet and each other, offers huge potential. It could help us to measure our health, travel habits and energy consumption. It could also help us to understand and automate control of critical national infrastructure, like power stations and transport networks.

The more devices are connected, the more links and dependencies are created between systems. This potentially presents significant risks and threats, with cyber security emerging as the main challenge to interdependent systems. We need assurance that systems will behave appropriately, even in unforeseen circumstances.

This competition is part of the Security of Digital Technologies at the Periphery (SDTaP) programme, which aims to ensure that IoT systems are safe and secure. This becomes more important as more critical applications emerge, because there is increased vulnerability to broader, more sophisticated cyber-threats. Effective solutions need to combine cyber and physical safety and security with human behaviour, influence new regulatory response and validate and demonstrate new approaches.

This builds on the work achieved by the PETRAS (Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability and Security for the Internet of Things) Research Hub and incorporates the new PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity.

Extra help

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.

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