Funding competition Automotive Transformation Fund expression of interest: February 2021

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

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections

Description

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

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

This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition. If your application is successful you will be invited to apply to a full stage competition strand when it is published.


In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

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

Who can apply

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

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

If you are working in a collaboration the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding through the BEIS Capital Team.

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. We would expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. A cheaper cost is not deemed as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor. Subcontractor costs should be included as part of Question 7 in your application.

Number of applications

You can make more than one application.

There are no restrictions on the number of applications a business can lead or collaborate on.

There are no restrictions on the number of applications a partner can collaborate on.

Previous applications

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

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

European Commission State aid

You must apply under European Commission State aid rules if you are an applicant who is:

  • located in Northern Ireland
  • conducting activities that affect the trade of goods (including wholesale electricity) between Northern Ireland and the EU

For further information see our general guidance on state aid and BEIS guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

If this describes your organisation, according to the amendment on 2 July 2020 to the General Block Exemption regulation (GBER), we will provide funding to you if you can prove your organisation was not an Undertaking in Difficulty (UiD) as defined by GBER. This only applies if you can prove your organisation was 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 you to provide evidence of this.

Further Information

If you are unsure about the regulations and your obligations, please take independent legal advice.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

We have allocated up to £1 billion to fund capital focused projects in this competition.

Capital investment projects

Capital investment projects will be managed through the Automotive Transformation Fund Capital team in BEIS.

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

Industry led research projects

If your project includes elements of R&D, and the 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 industry led research projects, your total grant funding must not exceed 50% of your total eligible project costs. This is regardless of the individual partners’ grant claims.

Of that 50%, you could get funding of up to:

  • 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 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

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

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

Your proposal

This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition. You must have a successful application in this competition before you can be invited to apply to the full stage competition.

Your project

Your project must have an automotive application.

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

To discuss if your project falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must contact the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) directly at ATF@apcuk.co.uk at least 10 days before the competition closes. APC will decide whether to approve your request.

Your application can focus on one of these:

  • capital investment only
  • capital and associated R&D activity

Your proposal must prioritise the scale up in areas mentioned in the Automotive Transformation Strategy.

This includes but is not limited to:

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

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

  • fit with the overall aims of the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF)
  • value for money for the UK
  • ongoing benefit to the UK from the exploitation of your project
  • project deliverables such as time, cost and quality (including risks)
The ATF will prioritise support to projects that:


  • can act as anchors to their respective supply chains
  • are likely to lead to further investments while creating a sustainable and competitive supply chain for the future

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will fund a portfolio of projects, across the technologies listed in the specific themes section. This portfolio and the technologies within are designed to be complimentary to the overall aim of the ATF. There may be occasion where a lower scoring project is supported, superseding a higher scoring application.

The APC can help you check whether your project fits the Automotive Transformation Fund. Contact the APC team at ATF@apcuk.co.uk to find out more.

Specific themes

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

Batteries

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

Motors and drives

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

Power electronics

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

Fuel cell


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

Recycling

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

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

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding capital investment that:

  • includes investment in final electric vehicle assembly at original equipment manufacturers (OEM)
  • is related to charging infrastructure
  • supports retail and wholesale fuel supply
  • focuses primarily on use of digital or data technologies such as simulation
  • speculative site enabling projects

We are not funding R&D dedicated to:

  • software development
  • product or process development which is at prototype or early proof of concept stage
  • low-carbon fuels development


We are not funding:

  • subsidies dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a widget manufacturer linked to exporting a certain tonnage of widgets to another country
  • subsidies contingent on the use of domestic content – for example stating that the beneficiary must use 50% UK manufactured widgets in their product
2 February 2021
Competition opens
24 February 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
19 March 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

What we ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions

1. Project details

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

Application 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

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 then select yes in the application question. 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.

Application type

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

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

Project summary

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

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

Please provide a short description of your current business, including an overview of current capabilities in areas relevant to the proposal.

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

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

2. Application questions

ATF assessors will score your application to determine if it aligns with the planned objectives and prioritisation of the Automotive Transformation Fund.

After your application has been assessed, a separate strategic score is given to your application by an ATF moderation panel.

That score is based on your answers to application questions 1 and 2, taking into consideration the wider automotive landscape in the UK and internationally.

You will be notified through your IFS dashboard via email if your application is successful or unsuccessful. You will not receive feedback through the Innovation Funding Service.

APC may choose to contact you directly to explain how you have met or have not met this criterion.

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

Question 1. Automotive Transformation FundHow does your project align with the Automotive Transformation Fund?

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

Describe:

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

You can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 2. Exploitation and dissemination

How will you exploit and disseminate your project results? What economic, social and environmental benefits do you expect your project to deliver, and by when?

Consider:

  • expected project outputs, including products, services, processes, and capabilities
  • your initial exploitation plan: the route to market, intellectual property, changes to business models or processes, research, and development (R&D), and manufacturing services
  • spill-over or dissemination of ideas, demonstrating how your activities will contribute to the wider automotive industry and other sectors
  • the UK benefits expected to be delivered as a result of this project, such as capital expenditure or follow on R&D, supply chain, jobs, training and skills, and environmental benefits

Question 3. Technical approach and management

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

Describe or explain:

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

You must submit a work breakdown structure (including the cost of each work package). It must be a PDF, as one A4 page 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?

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 time frames
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5. Skills, experience, and facilities

Does your proposed project team have the right skills, experience, and facilities to deliver this project?

Demonstrate that the likely project team:

  • has the right mix of skills and experience to complete the project
  • has a track record in managing research and development projects
  • has clear objectives and roles or responsibilities

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

Question 6. Adding value

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

Answer both of the following:

  1. Why do you need this funding?Explain what other sources of funding have been considered, including private investment, and why it is not available.
  2. What will happen to the project in the absence of funding? Describe and provide evidence for what will occur if the application for funding is not successful.

Question 7. Finances

Provide us with estimate of the project's eligible costs, including any partner's costs and the grant funding you are seeking. If your proposal includes R&D and Capital investment, please separate these costs out.

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

Give your table the following headings:

  • company name
  • country where work is being carried out
  • eligible costs (£)
  • funding sought (£)

Where there is more than one organisation involved, please ensure a similar table is completed for each partner. The funding sought by a partner can be zero.

You must submit a summary of your estimated costs as a table. It can be submitted as a PDF or spreadsheet, as one A4 page and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Project partners location
Where are the organisations within your project team registered?

Please state the name of each organisation along with its full registered address. If you are working with an academic institution this doesn’t need to be included.

Background and further information

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

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

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

The ATF will be administered utilising a portfolio approach over the life of the fund. They may also choose to prioritise projects in specific themes where the projects are deemed of strategic importance to the aims of the ATF.

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

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

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

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

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

APC can help by:

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

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

Please note that following assessment, your application may be re-directed to other more suitable funding opportunities. You will be notified directly by the APC if this is the case.

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

Get help with your application

The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s role is to provide guidance rather than formal advice. To contact APC email ATF@apcuk.co.uk .

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

If you need assistance using the Innovation Funding Service 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).

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

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