Funding competition Catalysing Green Innovation: strand 1, advancing PEMD supply chain

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £5 million to develop supply chain capability for power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD).

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Competition sections

Description

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 to UK industry, Driving the Electric Revolution, part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is investing up to £5 million in innovation projects that will support the UK’s continued push towards net zero carbon.

This is part of a larger effort to catalyse the green economic recovery in transport, energy and industrial sectors.

In this strand, up to £5 million will be invested in business-led innovation projects that enable UK supply chain and manufacturing capability growth in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD). Projects will facilitate future improvements in productivity, capacity, quality or efficiency.

Projects must be:

  • collaborative
  • exist as a distinct separate project in its own right
  • able to start by 1 November 2020
  • able to show a demonstrable benefit to the UK PEMD supply chain, ideally impact on multiple sectors, exploitable through future activities and demonstrate significant return on investment

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

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000.

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 project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £100,000 and £500,000
  • start by 1 November 2020
  • last between 3 and 9 months

If your project’s total eligible costs falls 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
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results in the UK

Academic institutions and RTOs cannot lead.

Find out which definition your organisation falls into.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your UK registered organisation must be one of the following:

  • business
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation or
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Your organisation must carry out its project work and intend to exploit the results in the UK.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project.

Partners must enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

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.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK/European Economic Area (EEA). We would expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Multiple applications

When a business leads on an application it can collaborate in a further 2 applications.

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

If an RTO can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications but only if it can resource the projects to the stated project dates.

Previous applications

Resubmissions

You cannot 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, 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.

Funding

We have allocated up to £5 million 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.

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 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 your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition strand is to facilitate UK supply chain and manufacturing capability growth in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD). This is to enable future improvements in:

  • productivity
  • capacity
  • quality
  • efficiency

Your proposal must be able to start by 1 November 2020, show a demonstrable benefit to the UK PEMD supply chain, ideally impact on more than one application sector and demonstrate future return on investment.

Your project must be stand-alone with clear deliverables and must be exploitable through future activities.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across the breadth of the supply chain for power electronics, machines and drives that help us to achieve the objectives for the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge.

Specific themes

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

Manufacturing process development, such as:

  • innovations and approaches to improve manufacturing productivity
  • implementation of an innovative new tool into a process line
  • automation of a specific process
  • reconfiguring a process line in an innovative way to improve productivity or flexibility

Design for manufacture, such as:

  • designing/redesigning a product where the focus is on how you manufacture it more efficiently and cost effectively
  • specification of a manufacturing process
  • virtual process development (VPD) including improvements in modelling and simulation software
  • developments which enable products to be manufactured with recycling taken into consideration

Circular economy, including:

  • scale-up of processes for the recycling and recovery of materials from end-of-life PEMD products
  • life-cycle and embedded carbon analysis with a view of process improvement
  • waste reduction and process energy efficiency improvements

Innovative testing and validation processes:

  • virtual product validation
  • scale-up and/or automation of testing and validation processes, with an aim of increasing productivity

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Research categories

We will fund industrial research and experimental development projects as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • fundamental research, feasibility studies or proof of concept projects
  • projects that are not collaborative
  • projects that focus on product development which do not focus on design for manufacture and supply chain development
  • projects that do not develop capability that will enhance UK PEMD supply chains
  • projects that do not demonstrate a return on investment

15 June 2020
Online briefing event: view the recording
16 June 2020
Competition opens
29 July 2020 11:00am
Competition closes
28 August 2020
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.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

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

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.

Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Equality, diversity and inclusion (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 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. This question is not scored.

Question 2. Growth and objectives

Your answer to this question can be up to 600 words long.

How will your project help grow the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) supply chain in the UK?

How does your project contribute to the overall objectives of the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge?

Specific to power electronics, machines and drives, what are the following needs and challenges behind your project:

  • business need,
  • supply chain gap or barrier,
  • technological or manufacturing process challenge,
  • market opportunity

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project and why it will be transformative for the consortium members
  • the clear commercial opportunity you are targeting and how you will achieve it
  • the business need, manufacturing or technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the PEMD supply chain gap or barrier that the project will address
  • how you currently fit into the UK PEMD supply chain and what the project will do to enhance your position and capabilities
  • the benefit to the wider PEMD supply chain across different sectors
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • the customer pull or demand
  • 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

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. Approach and innovation

Your answer to this question can be up to 600 words long.

How will your approach address and fill gaps in the UK PEMD supply chain?

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the supply chain need, manufacturing challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • how your approach fits with your customers’ requirements and needs
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing processes /technologies in new areas, the development of new processes/technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how the project will enhance the manufacturing and technical maturity of the process or capability
  • how this builds on previous R&D investments
  • 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 supply chain need, manufacturing challenge or opportunity identified

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 4. Team and resources

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

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 can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary 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. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Market awareness

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

What does the specific market and supply chain you are targeting look like?

Explain the PEMD markets your innovation is targeting. We do not require a high level summary of the UK’s appetite for PEMD and the strategic case, as this is well understood. Please be specific to your project only.

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 current supply chain, in the UK and overseas, and how your project will enhance UK capability and offering
  • 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

Question 6. Outcomes, route to market and impact on supply chain

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

How is your project going to impact the UK PEMD supply chain?

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
  • what your estimated timeline to impact on the UK PEMD supply chain is and outline any further R&D activity required
  • 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 outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further exploitation activities

The most successful projects will provide the strongest evidence of impacting the UK PEMD supply chain.

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 7. Wider impacts

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the PEMD supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe, and where possible, measure:

  • 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 8. Project management

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

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 9. Risks

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

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 10. Added value

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

Describe or explain:

  • 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, including new jobs created.
  • 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 11. Costs and value for money

Your answer to this question can be up to 400 words long.

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

It is essential that this project provides excellent value for money to the public purse and a demonstrable return on investment attributable to Driving the Electric Revolution funding.

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, including anticipated future turnover increase for up to 36 months following project completion
  • 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

Post project investment is expected. This is to be further cash investment by the consortium partners in new equipment, premises and/or staff. It must be reportable to Innovate UK as it will be measured if you are successful. Provide:

  • a description of how this investment will be raised
  • details of subsequent post-project activities that will occur

You must submit one appendix that includes a table detailing a forecast of the full breakdown of fiscal investments and turnover increase by partner, in terms of equipment, premises and staff, per Innovate UK financial year (ending 31 March), for up to 36 months after project completion

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

Driving the Electric Revolution (DER), part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), is responding to the disruption caused by COVID-19 to UK industry. It is investing up to £5 million in innovation projects that will support the UK’s continued push towards net zero by catalysing the green economic recovery in transport, energy and industry.

The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy and is being administered by UK Research and Innovation.

Driving the Electric Revolution is an investment of £80 million over 4 years. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. The challenge aims to create world leading supply chains in the UK and expertise for the manufacture of Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) across 7 sectors, namely;

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • energy (generation and distribution)
  • industrial drives and robotics
  • maritime
  • off highway
  • rail

This is part of a larger effort to catalyse the green economic recovery in transport, energy and industrial sectors.

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.

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 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.

Need help with this service? Contact us