Funding competition Driving the electric revolution – building talent for the future

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £250,000 for innovative skills, talent, and training projects. This funding is from the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


Innovate UK’s Driving the Electric Revolution challenge, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £250,000 in projects building talent for the future.

The aim of this competition is to fund several ideas that quickly fill immediate gaps in skills, talent and training for the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) industry.

Your proposal must deliver a clear game-changing intervention, which would realistically and significantly meet a UK PEMD talent requirement.

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


Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs can be between £10,000 and £25,000. The maximum grant you can claim is £25,000.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • start on 1 February 2022
  • end on 30 April 2022
  • last up to 3 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

We expect projects to have total eligible project costs of between £10,000 to £25,000.

If your total eligible project costs are more than £25,000, only the maximum grant limit of £25,000 can be claimed.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size, research organisation, charity or public sector organisation
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK registered:

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

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

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

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors must be based in the UK for the duration of the project and their portion of the project work must be carried out in the UK. You must select them through your usual procurement process.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Number of applications

A business, research organisation, charity or public sector organisation can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If a business, research organisation, charity, not-for-profit, RTO or public sector organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

Previous applications

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

We will not award you funding if you have:

Special Drawing Rights (and De minimis where applicable)

The UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has agreed on small funding allowances under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

These are for awards up to SDR of 325,000 (approximately £335,000) given to a single beneficiary over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

You must complete and provide Innovate UK with a declaration as part of your response in question 1.

The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards, including those made under De minimis and SDR, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

If you have received an award under De minimis for the same period, this will be added to your total allowance under SDR. This means that the total award must not exceed approximately £335,000 (325,000 SDR) for any one organisation. You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.

EU Commission rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further information

Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent BEIS guidance. Or you can see our general guidance on Special Drawing Rights and EU de minimis awards.

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the De minimis rules, you should take independent legal advice. We cannot advise on individual eligibility or your legal obligations.

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.

Eligibility overview

Text update 9 August 2021: we have updated the Eligibility tree to make it clearer who is eligible to apply.

Here is a diagram showing a summary of eligibility.

This is a new way of showing you eligibility. Your feedback will help us to improve it.


We have allocated a total of up to £250,000 to fund innovation projects in this competition.

You can claim 100% grant against your total eligible project costs from £10,000, up to a maximum grant of £25,000.

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 European Commission De minimis.

If you are applying for an award funded under European Commission Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to fund projects that fill gaps in skills, talent and training for the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) industry.

Your project must demonstrate.

  • an innovative, ambitious and realistic idea, to meet a significant PEMD talent requirement
  • that it is innovative to the UK, a region or a specific group of people and not already available
  • the capacity and capability to deliver the project successfully and on time
  • value for money and a credible, evidenced return on investment, in terms of trained, upskilled and reskilled people

You can:

  • produce ideas and material for outreach, engagement and learning purposes
  • conduct PEMD outreach and engagement exercises to individuals, academia, industry and other groups
  • generate and deliver course material or facilitate the running of courses
  • provide training or incentives for training to specific groups of people or in specific training subjects

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of key needs and gaps in UK PEMD workforce skills, talent and training capabilities.

Specific themes

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

  • supporting and promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion within PEMD technology training, manufacturing, or research
  • outreach and engagement material focussing on PEMD for all ages and levels in academia and industry
  • defining and filling key gaps in the UK’s PEMD workforce and training capability

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects that involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • projects that involve primary production in agriculture
  • projects not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • projects not allowed under Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
  • activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • projects dependent on export performance
  • projects that are dependent on domestic inputs usage
  • projects claiming more than £25,000 grant
  • projects purely focused on batteries

Some overlap on batteries will be acceptable for broader high level electrification proposals.

9 August 2021
Competition opens
10 August 2021
Online briefing event: watch the recording
15 September 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
14 October 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service 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.

Subsidy Basis

Will the project, including any related activities, you want Innovate UK to fund, affect trade between Northern Ireland and the EU?

All participants must complete this question.

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.

All participants must complete this EDI survey and the lead applicant must 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.


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 tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers to questions 3 to 6, question 1 is not scored. You will receive feedback for each scored question.

You must answer all questions. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Project partners location (not scored)

Text update [21 July 2021]: we have changed added guidance to make it clearer that we need this information for all participants and why.

You must state the name of your organisation along with your full registered address.

If you are working in collaboration you must also state the name and full registered address of all your partners.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all participants of a project

Question 2. Special Drawing Rights declaration (not scored)

Please download the declaration template. You must complete this, declaring any awards, including those made under De minimis and Special Drawing Rights (SDR) subsidies, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

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 3. The idea

What is the problem you wish to solve? Who is it a problem for? What is the market opportunity?

Describe or explain:

  • the specific need you expect to address and who would benefit from the project in the immediate and longer term
  • the specific skills or talent solution you propose to develop and how this is different and better than alternative solutions
  • the size of the market for the solution
  • why public funding is necessary for this project, for example, why you cannot fund it yourself or how public funding allows you to undertake this project differently

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 4. Approach and deliverables

What will the specific outputs and outcomes of your project be?

Describe or explain:

  • the nature of your current business and how this project will add value to it
  • any previous technical and business planning work you may have conducted in relation to the proposed project, and your freedom to operate
  • the outputs of the project in terms of specific deliverables, where will you have moved your project from and to and the developmental stages of the innovation to be achieved
  • the new or enhanced products, processes, or services that would be ready in the short, medium, and long term with specific timescales

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 5. Exploitation plan and impact

What is your route to market? What are the benefits to your organisation? What are the wider positive impacts of the project?

Describe or explain:

  • your route to market, for example partnerships and business models
  • the likely impact of the project on the organisations involved
  • the expected impact of the project on the power electronics, machines, and drives (PEMD) industry skills challenge
  • expected impacts on the economy, regions, the environment, government priorities and potential negative impacts identified

Describe or explain the expected impacts on quality of life, including:

  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs for example safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 6. Project delivery

Who is the project team? How will you manage the project effectively? How will you spend the grant funding? How will you manage risks appropriately?


  • the roles of individuals or organisations in the project team
  • what unique combination of resources you can access that means you will be able to develop, deploy and scale your solution in this current challenging climate, for team, capacity, expertise and partners
  • the main people involved in the project including relevant track records, and other critical internal and external resources

Describe in your plan:

  • your ability to deliver this project in the required timeframe given your existing business activities
  • any wider support you may need during or after the project that you do not currently have access to, such as: partnerships, private finance, or export advice


  • an outline of what the funding will be spent on, explaining the project work plan including technical approaches, main work packages, specific milestones, and project management
  • an explanation of your project costs aligned with tasks including a description of how best value for money has been achieved, for example by comparing quotes

Describe or explain the main risks, interdependencies, impact, and mitigation strategy.

You should pay particular attention to how you will mitigate project delivery risks with your immediate and extended teams, for example supply chain and end users.

Confirm you have the right infrastructure in place.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

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.

You must also 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.

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 world is turning electric across every sector of society, from energy generation for our homes, travel by road, rail, air or sea, and how things are made.

Electric and hybrid vehicles, domestic appliances and other applications are creating a massive need for next-generation power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD).

For the UK to be able to design, develop and manufacture these products, we need to have skilled people across all levels.

The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Driving the Electric Revolution is an investment of £80 million. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. The challenge aims to create world leading supply chains in the UK and expertise for the manufacture of power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) across multiple sectors.

This is part of a larger effort across many technologies and sectors to catalyse the government’s green industrial revolution in transport, energy, and industrial sectors, aligned to the ten-point plan.

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.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email 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.

Need help with this service? Contact us