The Strategic Innovation Fund will invest £450 million in energy network innovation from 2021 to 2026. It is a new funding mechanism for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) and will be delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Funding is available for projects that will benefit consumers and help the UK transition to net zero. The competition consists of the following four Innovation Challenge areas:

  • Whole system integration
  • Data and digitalisation
  • Heat
  • Zero emission transport

This is the Discovery phase, which is the first of three planned phases for this competition: 1) Discovery, 2) Alpha, 3) Beta. In the Discovery Phase, projects must last two months and have total eligible costs up to £150,000. Successful applicants will be invited to apply for the Alpha phase.


To lead a project, you must:

  • be a licenced gas distribution network, transmission network operator, or electricity system operator
  • partner with at least one other energy network licensee holding a different category of network licence, for example a gas transporter, electricity system operator, electricity transmission, electricity distribution or other energy network licenced company
  • collaborate with researchers or private sector organisations with technical capabilities in data and digital technologies
  • work with relevant data owners and processors
  • work with at least one other organisation as your subcontractor

Subcontractors can include a variety of third party innovators such as start-ups, SMEs, suppliers, academics, independent researchers, disruptors, and other energy network companies.

More Information

The Strategic Innovation Fund will be supported by two briefing events. Firstly, a launch event will take place on 7th September for organisations that want to participate in the programme. Secondly, there will be a briefing for licensed gas distribution networks, transmission network operators, and electricity system operators on 8th September. In other words, this event is for organisations that are eligible to lead applications.

This competition is open until 17th November 2021. For more information and to apply, please visit the Innovation Funding Service. Alternatively, contact RedKnight today if you would like to discuss a potential application.