Funding competition Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovation Feasibility Studies, Round 4

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million in grant funding for innovation in electric vehicle battery technology.

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Competition sections

Description

The ISCF Faraday Battery Challenge will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £10 million in innovation projects across the Feasibility Study and R&D strands of the Faraday Battery Challenge. These will be to support innovation in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the propulsion of electric vehicles.

The aim of this competition is to accelerate innovation in battery technology for the propulsion of electric vehicles by supporting business led feasibility studies. This will draw on the most exciting, high potential impact, early stage research where a 12 month feasibility study can catalyse the route to commercialisation.

Your proposal must clearly show how this feasibility study will accelerate the development of technologies which have the potential to significantly advance the performance characteristics of batteries for electric vehicles.

We are running 2 strands to this competition at the same time:

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they are applying to the correct strand. In applying to this competition you are entering into a competitive process. 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 £1,000,000.

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.

Any UK registered business claiming grant funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. For further information see our general guidance on state aid.

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £100,000 and £1,000,000
  • plan to end by 31 March 2022
  • last between 3 and 12 months

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration 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.

We also request that you make every effort to attend the cohort events, which will bring together project participants from across the Faraday Battery Challenge to share knowledge and help maximise the outcomes of the initiative.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research and technology organisations (RTOs), public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Find out which definition your organisation falls into.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit/public sector organisation, 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

We encourage you to include a partner with expertise in scaling of battery technologies.

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

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs into the Innovation Funding Service 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

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK. If an overseas subcontractor 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

Any eligible UK registered business can lead on any number of applications and collaborate on any number of further applications.

An academic institution or RTO cannot lead on an application but can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have failed to:

  • exploit a previously funded project
  • comply with grant terms and conditions

Previous funded 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.

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.

Funding

We have allocated up to £10 million to fund innovation projects across the Feasibility Study and R&D strands of the Faraday Battery Challenge.

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 feasibility 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 research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% 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, development and innovation’, 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 is to accelerate innovation in battery technology for the propulsion of electric vehicles by supporting business led feasibility studies. This will draw on the most exciting, high potential impact, early stage research where a 12 month feasibility study can catalyse the route to commercialisation.

Your proposal must clearly show how this feasibility study will accelerate the development of technologies or business practices which have the potential to significantly advance the performance characteristics of batteries for electric vehicles.

Your project must:

  • describe how you will mitigate any potential restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic so that you can deliver the project on time
  • be able to progress following the end of the project either by other funding or internal investment
  • have a clear route to scale beyond the project to meet the requirements of your target market
  • plan to have real-world applications and meet the appropriate sector’s cost, performance and regulatory targets
  • show a thorough understanding of the system your technology will fit into
  • consider end of life implications
  • support the overall goal of the Faraday Battery Challenge

The goal of the challenge is for the UK to become a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. We expect successful projects to increase productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK businesses.

Your project can focus on technological improvements or developing new business models across the battery value chain, but not limited to:

  • cell materials and components
  • cells
  • modules and packs
  • recycling
  • enabling technologies

Your project can be focused on battery technology development for automotive applications and sectors outside automotive.

Potential sectors include:

  • rail
  • marine
  • aerospace
  • defence
  • off-highway
or
  • other applications

We are particularly looking for projects developing technologies which have the potential to significantly improve performance metrics such as energy and power density compared to current state of the art and enable electrification in sectors outside automotive such as aerospace.

We will support projects that address technical and commercial challenges across the battery supply chain. We welcome projects which transfer technology between sectors.

We encourage projects that bring new investment and new businesses into the sector in the UK.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of:

  • technologies
  • sectors
  • technological maturities and
  • research categories

Innovate UK is required to conduct impact evaluation of activities across all funded projects. This is for accountability purposes and to inform future programme design. Project participants will be required to provide data on their organisation and grant-funded activities throughout the duration of the funded project and afterwards. Details will be provided when you receive your grant offer letter if you are successful.

Specific themes

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

  • cost reduction - at the cell and pack level, as well as minimising manufacturing costs
  • energy density - increasing Wh/kg per cell
  • power density - increasing kW/kg per pack
  • safety: eliminate thermal runaway risks for enhanced safety
  • first life - lengthen cell and pack life
  • temperature: broaden the temperature ranges that a pack efficiently operates at
  • predictability - new models to better predict range and battery health
  • recyclability - by enabling 2nd life, design for end of life, reuse or recycling
  • technologies enabling the efficient design, development or manufacture of batteries
  • next generation battery technologies such as Li metal anodes

Research categories

We will fund feasibility projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects which focus on:

  • vehicle integration
  • business as usual projects
  • projects developing technology that cannot demonstrate a clear route to market i.e. fundamental research
  • funding for capital equipment which could be accessed elsewhere

28 September 2020
Online briefing event: view recording
28 September 2020
Competition opens
9 December 2020 11:00am
Competition closes
29 January 2021
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 (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..

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.

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.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Please complete the EDI survey and select yes in the application question. 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. 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.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Need or challenge

What is the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation? You should answer in the context of global opportunity for future battery development and manufacture for electric vehicles.

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, supply chain, technological challenge and market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development (both within and outside the UK), and its limitations
  • the work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or technology transfer to a new sector
  • 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 or the development of new technologies for existing areas
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how the study will accelerate the development of technologies which have the potential to significantly advance the performance characteristics of batteries for electric vehicles
  • the technological and manufacturing maturity at the start and end of the project
  • the expected advancements in the performance metrics of the battery technology
  • the route to scale your technology within or beyond the project
  • ·how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make your consortium and the UK 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 can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. 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
  • 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 a short summary of the main people working on the project as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, can be up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like? We understand the global strategic case for electric vehicles and batteries, so this answer should focus on your consortium’s attainable market.

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

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 such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the 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 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, can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. 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
  • how potential restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be mitigated, within reason, to enable the successful delivery of the project to time
  • 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, can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. 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:

  • 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
  • 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?

In terms of the project goals, describe or explain:

  • the total eligible project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • 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, 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 Faraday Battery Challenge is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

With investment into the Faraday Battery Challenge of £274 million between 2017 and 2021, and additional investment of £43.75m due between 2021 and 2022, the challenge aims to support a world class scientific, technology development and manufacturing scale-up capability for batteries in the UK.

The challenge is focused on developing cost-effective, high-performing, long-lasting, safe and recyclable batteries to capture a growing market.

There is a £12 billion opportunity for the UK in the battery value chain alone by 2025. This requires both the establishment of a strong supply chain and for the UK to become a global competitor in new and emerging battery technologies.

There are exciting opportunities across all transport sectors, each with their own technological and regulatory challenges to overcome. One size doesn’t fit all, and a host of battery technologies are going to be needed to enable the UK’s electrified future

The challenge comprises 3 stages to market:

  • research
  • innovation
  • scale-up


Research

Funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research & Innovation, the Faraday Institution is a £78 million research institute that will accelerate the fundamental research needed for future battery development.

It will bring together expertise from universities and industry to support research, training and analysis into electrochemical energy storage science and technology.

Innovation

Delivered by Innovate UK, part of UK Research & Innovation, £88 million of funding is available for businesses to lead feasibility studies and collaborative research and development projects in battery technologies.

Scale-up

Delivered by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the £108 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) will enable companies of all sizes to develop manufacturing capabilities for battery technologies to get them to market quickly.

Extra help

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information about how to apply email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 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.

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