Funding competition Commercialising Quantum Technologies: germinator projects round 1

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £1 million for high risk, high return, quantum technology projects with defined commercial outputs. This funding is from ISCF.

Start new application

Or sign in to continue an existing application.

Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK will invest up to £1 million in innovation projects. This competition is funded through the Commercialising Quantum Technologies programme of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and builds on the pioneer ‘Commercialising quantum devices: innovation R&D’ competition launched in April 2018. It forms part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

The aim of the competition is to stimulate the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK through the development of early-stage quantum technology opportunities.

Your proposal must identify a promising application of quantum technologies, a project to demonstrate its potential and a route to market.

This competition is split into 3 strands. The other strands are:

  1. Feasibility studies R2.
  2. Germinator projects (this strand).
  3. CR&D and Tech 2.

It is your responsibility to make sure you submit your application for 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 not exceed £50,000.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs up to £50,000
  • start by 1 October 2021
  • end by 31 March 2022
  • last six months

If your project’s 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.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size, an academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or research organisation
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

A research organisation, academic institution or research and technology organisation (RTO) cannot work alone but they can lead a project if they have a UK registered business as a partner.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the Company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under EC de minimis.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, public sector organisation, academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or research organisation
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited by the lead organisation

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

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Partners must enter their own project costs into the service.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 70% 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.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in question 4 for why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

In this competition, organisations can lead on up to 2 applications and can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use apreviously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project
  • an outstanding independent accountants’ report
  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

Small value funding opportunity (and EC de minimis where applicable)

The UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has agreed on funding allowances under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for these grants. The funding will be made as an SDR (Special Drawing Rights) Small Value Funding Opportunity (SVFO) subsidy grant. These are for subsidies up to SDR of 325,000 (approximately £345,000) given to a single beneficiary for a period of up to 3 fiscal years. This includes any cumulation of grants under EC De minimis for the same period.

For applicants located in Northern Ireland and/or conducting activities that affect the trade of goods (including wholesale electricity) between Northern Ireland and the EU, this amount follows the ceiling of 200,000 euros set by the European Commission de minimis regulations.

You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.

You must complete and provide Innovate UK with a declaration. You must provide this as part of your response in question 12.

The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards, including those made under the European Commission de minimis and SDR subsidies, (from any source of public funding) during the current and previous 2 fiscal (tax) years.

Total grant must not exceed approximately £345,000 (325,000 SDR) for any one organisation. For de minimis this amount is 200,000 euros

Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent BEIS guidance.

You must apply under European Commission State aid rules if you are an applicant who is conducting activities that will affect trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU as envisaged by Article 10 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

In certain limited circumstances, the European Commission State aid rules may also apply if you are an organisation located in England, Wales, or Scotland and conduct activities that affect the trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU. For further information, please see section 7 of the BEIS technical guidance.

Further Information

For further information see our general guidance on de minimis and BEIS guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the De minimis rules, 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 £1 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 70% 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.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to stimulate the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK through the development of early stage quantum technology opportunities.

Your proposal must identify a promising application of quantum technologies, a project to demonstrate its potential and a route to market.

Your project must:

  • identify a commercial opportunity
  • quantify technological outcomes
  • provide a roadmap of future exploitation
  • exploit second generation quantum techniques

Second generation quantum technologies are defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement. Technologies involving single photon generation and quantum computing are regarded as being within scope.

Proposals should identify what future work and funding would be required to bring the project to commercial maturity.

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects not allowed under de minimis regulation restrictions
  • projects for ‘writing up’ extensions
  • activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • projects that involve the audio visual sector (such as film production)
  • projects that are dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • projects that are dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product

10 February 2021
Competition opens
17 February 2021
Online briefing event: watch the recording
31 March 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
21 May 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

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.

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.

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 may 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?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • 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, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long 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, particularly in the light of any continuing COVID-19 restrictions
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • (if your project is collaborative) 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 for taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure

You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 A4 pages long 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 timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

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

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

Question 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, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics
  • 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 and 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
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long 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
  • what industry investment, in addition to the competition matched funding, would this project generate, in what timeframe, and how this will be evaluated

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

Question 11. Special drawing rights declaration (not scored)

Please download the declaration template. You must complete this, declaring any awards, including those made under EC de minimis and Special Drawing Rights (SDR) subsidies, (from any source of public funding) during the current and previous 2 fiscal (tax) years.

You must also keep all documentation relating to this and other de minimis awards for a period of 10 years and be prepared to release it to any public funding body which requests it.

Please write “declaration attached” in the text box.

Question 12. Project partners location (not scored)

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

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.

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

Contact us
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).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

Finding a project partner

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

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.

Need help with this service? Contact us