Funding competition APC 17: developing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £27 million for UK-developed late stage R&D, to support growth in advanced low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) invests up to £30 million, 3 times a year, in collaborative research and development (R&D) projects. These are pre-production match-funded projects. In this round APC is investing £27 million.

Your project must concentrate on the automotive market as its primary application.

APC 17 is looking for:

  • projects that support the UK’s long-term capabilities through securing long-term R&D investment
  • projects that can be achieved through its associated supply chain in the design, build and manufacture of zero tailpipe emission vehicles

Your project will preferably deliver both of these, to ensure the UK meets the future demand of vehicle-makers.

We welcome projects which demonstrate a significant change in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and improvements in air quality compared to best in class. This can include technologies such as motors, batteries, power electronics, hybridisation and alternative propulsion systems.

This competition follows a 2-stage process:

  1. Online application.
  2. Interviews for successful applicants from the first stage.

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

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £5 million and £40 million and be a minimum of 50% match funded.

Who can apply

State aid

Innovate UK is unable to award grant funding to organisations meeting the condition known as undertakings in difficulty (UID). However, as per the amendment on 2 July 2020 to the General Block Exemption regulation, we will provide funding to organisations that can prove they were not a UID on the date of 31 December 2019 but became a UID between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2021. We will ask for evidence of this.

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 £5 million and £40 million
  • be a minimum of 50% match funded
  • start on 1st April 2021
  • last between 18 and 42 months

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration fall outside of the above criteria, you must contact APC directly on +44(0)24 7652 8700 at least 10 days before the competition closes to ask for permission to apply.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be UK registered business of any size
  • have an active registered business base in the UK
  • be a grant recipient
  • include in your consortium a vehicle manufacturer or tier 1 supplier who supplies parts directly to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • collaborate with others
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead projects.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • involve at least one SME if the lead is not one
  • be a UK registered business of any size, academic institution 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 by the lead organisation

Non-UK based businesses and research organisations are eligible to apply for funding if they:

  • set up an active UK registered business base before they start their project, where the funded work will be carried out
  • provide evidence that they intend to expand their R&D activity in the UK after the project

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 during the application.

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 are allowed in this competition and must be selected through a participant's normal procurement process. Subcontractors ca be from anywhere in the UK. If an overseas subcontractors is selected, a case must be made as to why no UK-based subcontractor can be used including a detailed rationale, evidence of UK companies that have been approached and reasons why they were unable to do so. A cheaper cost is not deemed as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

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.

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications


You can use a resubmission to apply for this competition.

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.


APC has allocated up to £27 million to match fund innovation projects in this competition. Please note that projects over the quality threshold may be considered for funding through an alternative mechanism.

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.

The total grant request in your application cannot exceed 50% of the total eligible project costs, of which:

  • at least 70% must be incurred by commercial organisations
  • a maximum of 30% is available to research organisations undertaking non-economic activity, and if there is more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this amount will be shared between them

You must request the minimum amount of funding needed for your project.

The percentage of costs you can claim varies depending on:

  • the type of research you are carrying out
  • the type of organisations involved
  • the outcome of a value for money (VfM) economic assessment carried out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

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

The total grant funding limit for any individual organisation undertaking industrial research is 20 million euros. The exchange rate to sterling will be taken from the HMRC exchange rates at the time we issue your contract.

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 total grant funding limit for any individual organisation is undertaking experimental development 15 million euros. The exchange rate to sterling will be taken from the HMRC exchange rates at the time we issue your contract.

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.

A 3.5% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to seek proposals for collaborative R&D projects. These must demonstrate the development of on-vehicle technologies, (including material, product and manufacturing processes) for on or off-road vehicles.

Your project must either:

  • accelerate the development of technologies capable of low and zero tailpipe emissions, considering their associated ‘cradle to grave’ supply chains, up to and including end of life
  • or demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions leading to air quality improvements

Your proposal must clearly align with the UK’s Industrial Strategy and must clearly demonstrate how high value R&D will take place in the UK as a result of this funding.

APC is particularly looking for projects that support the UK’s long-term supply chain, associated capabilities and growth aspirations. This includes improving productivity and competitiveness in the design, build and manufacture of vehicles that are capable of low and zero tailpipe emissions.

Technologies in scope are:

  • motors
  • batteries
  • power electronics
  • hybridisation
  • alternative propulsion systems

Your project must support the growth of these technologies, creating more jobs and capability throughout the UK supply chain.

Your application should demonstrate a positive impact on the UK economy. This can include but are not limited to projects that will make a major investment in:

  • creating new supply chains supporting the transition to electrification and zero emission vehicles
  • adding resilience to existing supply chains under a variety of circumstances (where applicable) such as low, medium, high production, niche, off highway, commercial or volume passenger vehicles
  • the delivery of a UK centric high value manufacturing and sourcing footprint
  • lowering the overall cost of goods sold to customers
  • joining together (simplifying) less productive or mature elements of existing UK supply chain, leading to business efficiencies and helping to reduce uncertainty and risk
  • recovering or reclaiming raw materials that can be used as new automotive product feedstock, resulting in improving the resilience and competitiveness of associated automotive supply chains.
  • attracting new companies not traditionally delivering products, services or skills in automotive into the sector
  • risk screening and due diligence to identify risks in the proposed supply chain developments
  • improving the manufacturing readiness level (MRL) of your technology

Your project can either focus directly on improving the MRL, or it can create step changes in development processes, manufacturing processes or supply chain enhancements that will lead to an improved MRL.

Your application must show:

  • a clear route to market exploitation and have a consortium able to deliver this
  • the economic benefits of the project, such as new and safe-guarded jobs, new business activity, or an expansion of products and services
  • that the primary application of the project is for the automotive industry
  • how the project will support upskilling and knowledge sharing in the UK
  • that the project delivers impacts that would not be achieved in business as usual
  • what would happen to the project if funding is not successful and why the specific amount of funding is needed
  • how UK plc will benefit from any intellectual property generated by the project
  • that you will demonstrate the majority of the technologies in a system or major sub system in a vehicle representative environment

APC wants to fund a portfolio of projects, across the technologies listed in the specific themes section, and a variety of markets, technological maturities and research categories.

We strongly encourage you to:

  • demonstrate senior management commitment to the project and consortium
  • ensure the consortium’s collaboration agreement is well advanced at the point of submission
  • include the most important supply chain members in your consortium
  • show how you will get disruptive technologies to market faster
  • contact and work with organisations that are an important part of the supply chain but are not typically involved in R&D, such as tooling, manufacturing processes and materials
  • focus on alternative propulsion systems which move the industry towards zero emissions, including hybridisation
  • consider the possibility of technology transfer to and from other sectors into automotive
  • focus on technologies that are identified in the Automotive Council’s roadmaps
  • focus on lasting growth with the electric and electrified vehicle supply chain
  • consider how to make results from this work public, where it helps share best practice while not damaging commercial interests

Read more about dissemination of your results in the Innovate UK funding rules.

APC will also consider projects that focus on the significant reduction of carbon dioxide or improvement of air quality from advanced internal combustion engines, especially those using clean fuels. Projects focusing solely on clean fuels are out of scope.

The UK is committed to deepening its supply chain presence for automotive, as described in the Industrial Strategy Automotive Sector Deal. For internal markets, this means supporting the industry’s ambition to increase the level of UK content by value in domestically built vehicles, to 50% by 2022.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on or relate to one or more of the following strategic technology themes. You must determine which technology or technologies best represent your project:

  • alternative propulsion systems
  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
  • thermal propulsion systems that deliver substantial improvements
  • significant reduction in vehicle development timescales
  • using digitisation for development of low carbon vehicles

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that focus only on the development of clean fuels.
17 August 2020
Competition opens
20 October 2020 11:00am
Competition closes
10 November 2020
Invite to interview
7 December 2020
Interview panel week commencing
8 February 2021 3:53pm
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.


If your online application is successful you will be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation.

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 technical assessors’ feedback
  • must send a written response to the BEIS economic value assessors’ feedback

You cannot make changes once these are submitted.

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 9 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 30 minutes
  • have no more than 30 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it or bring any additional materials to the interview unless specifically requested.

Written response to technical assessors’ 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

Written response to the BEIS economic value assessors’ feedback

This must be a single PDF or Word document up to 6 A4 pages long.


Interviews will take place at the Advanced Propulsion Centre in Warwick, impact of Covid 19 permitting. You should allow up to two and a half hours for your interview.

You must bring a mature draft of the collaboration agreement to your interview.

After your presentation, the panel will hold a closed discussion and after this you will be invited back in to answer questions. This will take 45 minutes. You will be expected to answer based on your application form, the assessor feedback from the written stage and your completed value for money spreadsheet. The panel will then hold a second closed discussion. You may be called back in for a further 15 minute question and answer session, if needed.

Economic assessment

This is carried out by professional economists employed by BEIS, in both the written and interview stages. They assess whether the project is good value for money for taxpayers and the UK.

HM Treasury will only release grant funding if your project reaches an acceptable threshold of value for money. This analysis is quality assured by senior economists within BEIS to ensure the judgement is an accurate and independent reflection of the information that has been provided.

If you are invited to interview, economists from BEIS may need further information from you.

Report on economic outputs

As a condition of APC project grant funding, you must provide BEIS and APC with annual records which show the realised and expected economic outputs your project has produced.

You must provide robust, credible and timely data on your project’s progress. This data helps policymakers evaluate whether the APC programme is good value for money.

Each partner must:

  • flag any information they consider too costly to collect
  • agree report timings
  • report on economic monitoring information annually, or at an alternative schedule agreed with APC, Innovate UK and BEIS

You must provide other data if requested. Project monitoring and meetings will be carried out by representatives of Innovate UK, BEIS and APC, and any other individuals as agreed with you.

1. Project details

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

Equality, diversity and inclusion

EDI survey (opens in new window)
Please complete the EDI survey. 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.

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.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative.

Identify, using percentage splits, which Automotive Council strategic technology or technologies are the focus of your project, as referenced in specific themes. For example, an innovative motor technology with integrated power electronics and battery management systems (BMS) could be expressed as:

  • alternative propulsion systems (0%)
  • electric machines and power electronics (65%)
  • energy storage and energy management (25%)
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures (0%)
  • step change thermal propulsion systems (0%)
  • digitalisation (10%)

We use this section to assign experts to assess your application as well as for conducting a portfolio assessment.

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.


Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be funded. We will give you feedback on why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The technical assessors will score your answers. You will receive feedback from them for each one.

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

You can provide supporting evidence in an appendix for each question. Make sure it is additional information not covered in the application, such as data, charts, graphs. Do not put anything in more than one appendix, and do not cross reference between appendices.

Part 1: business proposition

Question 1. What business opportunity does this project address?

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Give a clear outline of the business opportunity. What does the project team need to do to address it within the proposed timeframe and cost? Describe the potential issues facing you and/or your potential customers and how the intended outputs of the project will address these.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question in a PDF named ‘Appendix 1’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 2. What is the size of the market you are targeting?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Describe the size of the market opportunities that this project might open up.


  • the current nature of the specific market or markets you are targeting, including its geographical location and possible export value
  • the market dynamics, including its current size, and actual and predicted growth rates
  • your strategy for targeting the projected market share, with justification in light of any potential competitors

Secondary cross sector exploitation outside of automotive is encouraged.

If your technology is being purchased by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) outside the consortium then give details on who the buyers will be. Submit any evidence of future purchasing commitments such as letters of support.

For highly innovative projects where the market may be unexplored, explain:

  • what the route to market could or might be
  • what the barriers to entry might be
  • what the market size might be, making clear any calculations and assumptions
  • how the project plans explore the market potential

You can upload supporting evidence in a PDF named ‘Appendix 2’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. How will the results of the project be exploited, in the end market and supply chain, and disseminated?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

The highest marks will be given to projects that provide the strongest evidence on anchoring, growing or significantly improving the productivity and competitiveness of the UK supply chain.

List or describe the potential outputs of the project that can be exploited, such as:

  • products or services
  • processes
  • applications

Describe how these outputs will be exploited by partners and organisations who are not project partners.

Describe or explain the benefits of these outputs to the UK’s supply chain including, where applicable:

  • route to market
  • how your project will target commercialisation at the end
  • how your project benefits the long-term UK supply chain, during and after the project
  • how it contributes to building a diverse and more resilient UK portfolio of supply chain assets which can meet commercial expectations
  • delivering benefit for the automotive environment in a time of heightened uncertainty and complexity, for example how your project will develop multiple interventions across multiple segments of the supply chain
  • reconfiguration of the value system
  • how the consortium members leverage additional investment (and at what scale financially) in the UK supply chain
  • whether your project will deliver a lower cost of goods or improved value of the bill of materials, its sourcing location and the percentage split across these in the UK
  • an advanced manufacturing readiness level (MRL), with a definition of MRL expected at the end of your project and a year later, and provide supporting evidence
  • when these impacts are likely to start and how long they will last for
  • changes to business models and business processes
  • other methods of exploitation and protection (intellectual property and patents)

We will accept supply chains such as:

  • long term high value supply chain, supporting serial production after the R&D phase, which could include the OEM or tier 1, component suppliers and raw materials
  • service supply chain for manufacturing, which could include tooling, equipment or maintenance.
  • supply chain supporting R&D phase, which includes prototypes, low volume products, test and validation, and engineering services

Provide a supply chain or value stream map in your supporting evidence. Use this to highlight, for example:

  • potential suppliers
  • gaps in supply chain processes required
  • include companies and locations where known

Also consider how your project and outputs will be supported by supply chain risk prediction and management.

We accept that assumptions will be made for long term supply chains, and many of these companies will be outside of the project collaboration. You will benefit from letters of support if this project reaches its objectives.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question, including a supply chain or value stream map, in a PDF named ‘Appendix 3’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 3 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

If you are invited to interview a score threshold (6 out of 10) will be applied to question 3. To be considered for funding your project must exceed this threshold.

Question 4. What impact might this project have inside and outside the project collaboration?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Identify, and where possible measure, the economic benefits from the project to those inside and outside the project. This could be in the form of productivity increases and import substitution. You could include benefits to customers, broader industry and the UK economy. Make a clear distinction between benefits inside and outside the project partners.

Identify, and where possible measure, any expected social and environmental impacts, either positive or negative, on for example:

  • the number of jobs safeguarded, created, changed or displaced
  • your ability to hire new employees, including where you will recruit from, how skilled the roles will be and the demand you expect for these roles
  • education, upskilling or reskilling of your employees
  • your UK-based competitors
  • aspects of sustainability, this could include: further reduction in carbon dioxide (and other GHG) emissions, beyond those mandated by regulation, broken down by each piece of technology where appropriate
  • air quality improvements
  • fuel and energy savings, and how these will work for customers
  • quality of life
  • sourcing of materials, including a demonstration of the project’s commitment to corporate responsibility where possible
  • use of life cycle analysis tools or methodologies
  • value-added benefits for the UK and/or the European Economic Area (EEA) and how long those benefits will last compared to the technology’s life span
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • government priorities

Where will you be located and why? Discuss the phasing of the project and of the intended manufacturing locations of the technology or technologies developed. For UK based manufacturing, justify why this would occur in the UK, and identify any expected regional impacts of the project. If you have any evidence of your intention for manufacturing in the UK, for example letters of intent, please include these in the appendix.

Where possible reference relevant studies, reports, data or previous projects.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question, including letters of intent, in a PDF named ‘Appendix 4’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Part 2: project details

Question 5. What technical approach will be adopted and how will you manage the project effectively?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to ensure a successful project outcome
  • your approach to managing the most innovative aspects of the project
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in sufficient detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones
  • how your project will enhance the manufacturing maturity of the technology
  • rival technologies and alternative R&D strategies, and how your proposal will offer a better outcome

You can upload supporting evidence for this question in a PDF named ‘Appendix 5’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. What is innovative about this project?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Identify the extent to which the project is commercially and technically innovative, for example:

  • whether it pushes boundaries over and beyond current leading-edge world science and technology whether it is looking to apply existing technologies in new areas
  • why this project is not business as usual
  • whether your innovation will produce a disruptive technology and what its impact will be
  • demonstrate the increases in manufacturing productivity as a result of the success of this project
  • highlight any potential import substitutions resulting from a successful project
  • why and how you are confident that you have freedom to operate, and that your intellectual property is free from restriction and able to be readily exploited (provide evidence where appropriate of patents and IP)
  • whether your innovation addresses any of the Automotive Council’s roadmaps’ research challenges

Highlight and explain the timeliness and novelty of the research aspects of the project in an industrial and/or academic context.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question in a PDF named ‘Appendix 6’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 7. What are the main technical, commercial and environmental risks to project success?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


  • identify the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • highlight the most significant ones and provide a risk register
  • explain how these risks will be mitigated
  • list any project inputs on the critical route to completion, such as resources, expertise or data sets and implement gateways
  • explain whether the output is likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical or other similar issues, and if so how you will manage this

Risks can include but are not limited to:

  • funding gaps
  • investment needed for production facility
  • future sales risks
  • carbon dioxide savings
  • supply chain capacity and original equipment manufacturer purchasing
  • sustainability
  • disruptive technologies
  • reliance on a technology upscale or performance

If you are planning to carry out any manufacturing in the UK, explain why and list any risks that might stop this happening. Describe the follow on investments needed and risks associated with achieving those investments.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question, including a risk table, in a PDF named ‘Appendix 7’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Does your project team have the right skills, experience and access to facilities to deliver your project?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


  • how you will demonstrate key stakeholder buy in to ensure the project is successful
  • the maturity of the agreements around project or project system target costs
  • the benefits each partner brings to the project
  • the current relationships between the project partners and how these will change as a result of the collaborative project
  • what approach you will use to deliver a successful project, clearly showing the interdependencies between the partners and external parties
  • the resources, equipment and facilities required for the project, and how you will access them
  • any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project, explaining why these roles cannot be filled within the consortium

You can upload supporting evidence for this question, including details of the specific expertise and track record of each partner and subcontractor, in a PDF named ‘Appendix 8’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Part 3: funding and added value

Question 9. What is the financial commitment required for the project?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

What is the anticipated project cost? Describe the level of contribution from any project participants and the level of grant funding required. Also give this information in the financial summary table in the application form.

Give supporting information and an explanation for project costs. It must be consistent with the category of research and development undertaken within each work package.

If the project spans more than one type of funding, for example because significant work packages are in both industrial research and experimental development, you must describe and justify the breakdown of costs between them. For example:

  • is the budget realistic for the scale and complexity of the project?
  • has a realistic budget breakdown been provided?
  • does the required financial support from APC fit within the limits set by the specific competition?
  • have you demonstrated a financial commitment from other sources for the balance of the project costs?
  • have any work package breakdowns been described and justified adequately?

Detail the total investment needed to bring the technology to production. Distinguish between the APC funded project and the overall investment. What is the proposed investment in R&D, skills, capital and training?

Describe and clearly quantify the return on investment that the project could achieve. Provide relevant source data references.

List and assign a proportion for the source of private sector investment by:

  • retained earnings
  • external debt
  • equity investment or
  • other source

Where the source is retained earnings, describe the decision making process in allocating this R&D spending. Is the R&D spending internationally competitive and/or found from UK company budgets?

You must declare any other funding from public bodies, including any tax relief, that the consortium has applied for or received, that relate to this project or application. Indicate the size of the funding, the relevant body and details of the type of funding and conditions.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question in a PDF named ‘Appendix 9’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 10. How does financial support from APC and its funding collaborators add value?

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Describe or explain:

  • why this project cannot be funded internally or through other private sources, giving supporting evidence in the appendix of funding sources which were considered, including evidence of the outcome of these, for example proof of declined credit
  • why this specific level of funding is required, giving supporting evidence in the appendix to this question, such as business cases, internal rate of return analysis or other comparison analysis of the project with and without APC funding

  • what will happen if the application is not successful provide scenarios explaining what would happen with APC funding, not funded, delayed funding, reduced funding, and how this impacts on the UK.
  • what alternative sources of finance have been sought by project partners and why these have been unsuccessful
  • whether there will be additional R&D investment or spend as a result of this funding
  • how successful delivery will increase total spend on R&D in the UK
  • the collaboration benefits of the project including proximity, multiple sectors and work with other research organisations

If the project could not go ahead in the UK without APC funding, where would it be located and why?

Include information on:

  • the current type and size of operations in these locations
  • the expected size and growth of the local or regional market
  • expected cost structure, including wages, building, transport, energy
  • any existing infrastructure or financial support available
  • the quality and availability of an equivalent workforce and science and research base in these alternative locations
  • the potential to create value-added benefits for the UK and/or the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • how long the value added benefits will continue for in terms of the technology’s life span

You may be asked for extra financial information relating to your bid or consortium members. This will vary depending on the nature of the application and your specific argument for support. BEIS will decide whether to ask for extra financial information and APC will let you know.

You can upload supporting evidence for this question in a PDF named ‘Appendix 10’. It must be no larger than 10MB and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Part 4: economic assessment including value for money

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Questions 11 to 16 of the application relate to the economic assessment and value for money. To answer these questions, follow these steps:

  1. Download the value for money (VfM) worksheet from question 12.
  2. Complete tabs 11 to 16, following the guidance in the worksheet.
  3. Enter data into the grey cells, and select an option from a drop-down list in the brown cells.
  4. Add extra rows in the jobs worksheet (in the middle of rows of input cells to preserve the formatting) so you can define jobs separately for each project partner for the required number of NVQ levels.
  5. Use blank lines to title project partners and group the jobs according to your preferences.
  6. Use each question’s notes section to demonstrate how your numbers have been derived.
  7. Upload the completed worksheet as an appendix to question 11.
  8. Complete questions 11 to 16 in the online application by giving any supporting information from the VfM worksheet, or write “Not applicable” if you have nothing to add.

You can upload supporting diagrams, pictures or graphics in a PDF appendix, up to 10MB in size, at question 16, clearly stating in its file name which question it is for.

We define value for money, or cost benefit ratio, as the net economic benefit to the UK compared to the cost to the exchequer.

The net economic benefit to the UK consists of R&D, innovation, and employment including:

  • newly created jobs
  • safeguarded jobs
  • indirect supply chain jobs
and wider benefits:

  • carbon dioxide savings
  • benefits to UK consumers, such as increased fuel savings

The value for money assessment does not include increased profits for consortium members. We may discount benefits based on:


To what extent would these benefits occur without government support? If you have not already included it in your response to question 10, provide supporting evidence in the appendix, such as business cases, internal memos showing decision making processes, cost comparisons for alternative locations, or other comparison analysis of the project with and without APC funding. The latter may include how APC funding would allow you to undertake the project differently (sooner, faster or on a larger scale) that would not occur otherwise.


What is the risk of the project not achieving the stated economic benefits?

Please discuss in terms of:

  • complexity of the project and consortium
  • investment required
  • risk management strategy
  • technology itself

If you do not upload the completed spreadsheet your application will be ineligible. Your answers to this and questions 1-10 will allow the economic analysts to determine whether your application passes or fails value for money.

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

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) supports the acceleration of the industrialisation of technologies which will help to realise net-zero emission vehicles. It is at the heart of the UK government’s commitment to end the country’s contribution to global warming by 2050.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 113 low-carbon projects, involving more than 290 partners. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 225 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 8.8 million cars.

APC projects have helped generate economic benefits too. Companies involved have seen turnover increases of 14% to 17%, with new jobs increasing by 8% to10%. Together these have generated a 17% gross value added uplift.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver more value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful UK industry.

For more information go to or follow us @theapcuk on Twitter and Advanced Propulsion Centre UK on LinkedIn.

APC competitions are formally delivered in partnership between APC, Innovate UK and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

APC will:

  1. Work with consortia to support bid development.
  2. Support the competition process, including hosting both launch and guidance events and interviews.
  3. Act as advocates for consortia to improve future competitions.
  4. Support project delivery once contracts are awarded, through APC staff.
  5. Act as a source of guidance for consortia during the critical project start-up phase, and while projects are running, through APC-appointed project delivery leads.
  6. Monitor the impact of the project portfolio.

APC can help by:.

  • Providing general guidance regarding interpretation of competition rules and guidelines on an informal basis.
  • Helping your consortium to structure the bid development process.
  • Explaining common pitfalls.
  • Answering questions regarding whether or not your project is within scope.

Innovate UK will:

  1. Deliver the competition process and technical assessment framework.
  2. Support and manage applicant queries about the competition process.
  3. Issue and manage grant contracts.
  4. Provide formal assurance that projects are meeting their commitments once they are running (known as project monitoring).
  5. Approve financial claims and issue funds.

BEIS will:

  1. Assess the benefit that the proposed project will deliver to the UK economy, through value for money assessment. If that benefit meets an acceptable level and all other assessment criteria are met, BEIS will make a recommendation to ministers to support funding.
  2. Formally monitor delivery of economic outputs on an annual basis and after delivery of the project.

Any information received by Innovate UK for this competition may be shared with APC and BEIS. 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.

Extra help

Please 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 more information, email us at 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).

Help from 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