Funding competition Automotive Transformation Fund expression of interest: July 2020

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for R&D and capital projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The Automotive Transformation Fund is a new programme that aims to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

It offers a share of up to £1 billion of funding for industrial research and capital projects. This will be to support the industrialisation of a high-value, electrified automotive supply at scale in the UK.

This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition. If your application is successful you will be invited to apply to one of the full stage competition strands:

  1. Research and development (R&D).
  2. Capital investment.

If your project includes both R&D and capital investment you will have to apply for both full stage competitions.

The competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

Total eligible project costs and project duration must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund.

Who can apply

State aid

Any UK registered business claiming grant funding must be eligible to receive State aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. It is not possible to award grant funding to organisations meeting the condition known as undertakings in difficulty. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance on state aid.

Your business does not have to be UK registered with Companies House when you apply, but it must be registered before you can receive funding.

Your total eligible project costs and project duration must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation within the Automotive Transformation Fund.

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration fall outside of the above criteria, you must contact the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) directly on +44(0)24 7652 8700 at least 10 days before the competition closes. APC will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

Project team

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

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

There are no restrictions on the number of applications a business or RTO can submit.

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'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.


UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

Industry led research projects

For industry led research projects, your total grant funding must not exceed 50% of your total eligible project costs. This is regardless of the individual partners’ grant claims. Of that 50%, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 70% of your eligible project costs if you are a micro or small organisation
  • 60% of your eligible project costs if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • 50% of your eligible project costs if you are a large organisation

The research organisations 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.

Of that 30%, research organisations in the consortium could get funding for their eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if they are an academic institution
  • 100% of their eligible project costs if they are an RTO

If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Research projects are funded 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.

Capital investment projects

Capital projects will be managed through the Automotive Transformation Fund capex team and BEIS.

For capital projects the grant available is dependent on the proposed project and will be determined during the second stage of the application process. The grant requested should be the minimum required to ensure sustainability of the investment.

Further information on the process will be provided at the full stage.

Your proposal

Your project must have a potential automotive application.

You can submit more than one application. Each application can focus on:

  • research and development (R&D) only
  • capital investment only


  • both R&D and capital investments

Your proposal must prioritise the scale up in areas mentioned in the Automotive Transformation Strategy. This includes but is not limited to:

  • batteries
  • motors and drives
  • power electronics
  • fuel cell
  • recycling of any of the above

More detail is available in ‘specific themes’ below.

Only projects which score well against the following criteria will receive funding from the Automotive Transformation Fund:

  • fit with the Automotive Transformation Fund
  • value for money for the UK
  • ongoing benefit to the UK from the exploitation of your project
  • project deliverables such as time, cost and quality (including risks)

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) can help you check whether your project fits the Automotive Transformation Fund. Contact the APC team on +44(0)24 7652 8700 to find out more.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:


  • cathode materials and manufacturing
  • anode materials and manufacturing
  • electrolyte
  • cell assembly components (including separators)
  • cell or module assembly
  • cell testing
  • battery pack components
  • battery pack assembly and test

Motors and drives

  • magnet materials and manufacturing
  • electrical steel materials and manufacturing
  • electrical machine assembly
  • drive line components
  • assembly and test into complete drive unit

Power electronics

  • wide band gap semi-conductors
  • sensors
  • passives
  • power electronics assembly

Fuel cell

  • MEA
  • catalysts
  • bipolar plates
  • gas diffusion layer
  • air handling systems
  • balance of power
  • fuel cell stack assembly
  • storage tanks
  • fuel delivery (where specifically required for development purposes)


  • e-motors
  • batteries
  • fuel cells
  • power electronics

The Automotive Transformation Fund provides detailed information on the specific themes of this competition.

Research categories

In the full stage competitions, the Automotive Transformation Fund will fund:

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding R&D that involves low-carbon fuels development.

We are not funding capital investments that:

  • include investment in final electric vehicle assembly at original equipment manufacturers (OEM)
  • are related to charging infrastructure
  • supports retail and wholesale fuel supply (except where used for own development purposes)

13 July 2020
Competition opens
5 August 2020 11:00am
Competition closes
28 August 2020 11:39am
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Innovate UK is unable to award grant funding to organisations meeting the condition known as undertakings in difficulty.

You should also read specific information about this programme before you start your application.

What we ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application type

What are you seeking funding for? Type one of the following:

  • an R&D project
  • a capital investment project
  • a mixed R&D and capital investment project

Project summary

Provide a summary of the objectives, content, and output of the proposed project, covering the following elements:

  • overview and purpose of the project
  • output or results of the project
  • anticipated route to market
  • market opportunity being addressed
  • amount of grant support requested
  • total anticipated budget

This section is mandatory but is not scored. However, it is a vital part of the application, setting the scene and providing assessors with a clear overview of the project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers, except for question 1. 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 (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) (not scored)

We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

You must complete this EDI survey (opens in a new window) and type ‘EDI survey completed’ within your answer. The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity, and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information.

Question 2. Automotive Transformation Fund
How does your project align with the Automotive Transformation Fund?

Demonstrate how your project aligns to the competition objectives, associated focus areas and overall Automotive Transformation Fund. Provide up to date evidence where possible.


  • which area of the Automotive Transformation Fund your project will help deliver
  • your current role in the UK supply chain and how this project will change that
  • how your project will help delivery scale up in the UK

You can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. 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 by when?


  • 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 aerospace industry and other sectors
  • the UK benefits expected to be delivered as a result of this project, such as R&D and capital expenditure, supply chain, jobs, training and skills, and environmental benefits

Question 4. Technical approach and management

What technical approach will you use and how will you manage your project?

Describe or explain:

  • the technical approach, including the main objectives of the work
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • how and why the approach is appropriate
  • how you will make sure the innovative steps in the project are achievable
  • how you will measure your success
  • the areas of work and your objectives

You must submit a work breakdown structure (including the cost of each work package) in a one A4 page PDF appendix to support your answer. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. 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 6. 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 clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

If you are part of a consortium, describe the benefits of the collaboration. What advantages does being part of a consortium offer the project?

Question 7. Adding value

How does financial support from the Automotive Transformation Fund add value to the UK? What will happen to the project in the absence of funding?

Answer both of the following:

  • why do you need this funding? Explain 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 8. Finances

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

Type ‘Table attached’ below and give your estimates in a table as an attached appendix. Give details of the total eligible costs and total funding requested for this project.

Give your table the following headings:

  • partner’s name
  • country where work is being carried out
  • partner’s eligible costs (£)
  • funding sought by partner (£)

The funding sought by a partner can be zero.

You must submit a summary of your estimated costs as a table in a one A4 page PDF or spreadsheet. It must be legible at 100% zoom.

Background and further information

Intended to support industrialisation at scale of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK, the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) is a new programme funded by the UK government. Its aim is to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain.

Formed in 2013 the Advanced Propulsion Centre accelerates the industrialisation of technologies which help to realise zero emission vehicles. It is at the heart of the UK Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The APC was appointed as the main Automotive Transformation Fund delivery organisation.

This Automotive Transformation Fund competition is formally delivered in partnership between APC, Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for International Trade (DIT).

For R&D projects, Innovate UK will deliver the competition process, technical assessment framework and contracting.

For capital investment projects, the Automotive Transformation Fund capex team at BEIS will deliver the competition process, assessment framework and contracting.

The value for money that the proposed project will deliver to the UK economy will be assessed by BEIS.

Where a project is linked to overseas investment in the UK, or export of goods from the UK, DIT will:

  • provide reasons why an overseas business should invest in the UK
  • assist with sector-specific information about the UK economy
  • provide a way for overseas businesses to contact DIT staff in their country

APC can help by:

  • co-ordinating your application through all the necessary steps.
  • providing general guidance regarding interpretation of competition rules and guidelines on an informal basis.
  • helping your consortium to structure the bid development process
  • answering questions regarding whether or not your project is within scope

In securing R&D funding from this programme, each participant receiving a grant will pay an industrial contribution to the APC operating budget. This will be proportional to its grant and is set at 3%.

Any information received by Innovate UK for this competition may be shared with APC, BEIS, HM Treasury (HMT) and DIT. Innovate UK has a data sharing agreement in place with these bodies which safeguards both personal and commercial data in accordance with data protection legislation.

Get help with your application

Note that the APC role is to provide indicative guidance rather than formal advice. To contact APC email or call +44 (0)24 7652 8700.

If you need assistance using the Innovation Funding Service, email or call the Innovate UK competition helpline on 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Enterprise Europe Network

If you are a UK SME and are successful in receiving an award, you will be contacted by your local Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Innovation Advisor. They act on behalf of Innovate UK to discuss the growth opportunities for your business.

They 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 grow and scale.

Please engage positively with your EEN contact so that, working together, you can determine the most appropriate form of growth support for your business.

24 July 2020 - APC email address was updated

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