£20 million available through Energy Catalyst Round 9

Energy Catalyst Round 9 is open for applications! Organisations can apply for a share of £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.

Scope

To be in scope for Energy Catalyst Round 9, your project must:

  • Focus on improving energy access in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions.
  • Have a technology or business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon.
  • Consider the role of gender equality and social inclusion.
Eligibility

This competition is split into three strands:

  1. Early-stage – Projects must last between 3 and 12 months and have total costs between £50k and £300k.
  2. Mid-stage – Projects must last between 6 and 24 months and have total costs between £50k and £1.5m.
  3. Late-stage – Projects must last between 6 and 36 months and have total costs between £50k and £5m.

To be eligible for funding for mid and late stage projects, at least some of the research and development, testing or demonstration activities must be conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions. In addition, all projects must:

  • Start by 1st April 2023 and end by 31st March 2026.
  • Intend to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or the Indo-Pacific.
  • Include a UK-registered administrative lead. If you are an international organisation, you must partner with a UK administrative lead.
  • Involve at least one SME from anywhere in the world.
More information

This competition is open from 18th May until 10th August. For more information, visit the competition page or register to attend the online briefing event on 25th May.

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing innovation funding and can help you develop a competitive application! If you would like to explore an application, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


Key changes to Innovate UK Smart Grants

This blog post provides an overview of the recent changes to Innovate UK’s Smart Grants competition.

What is Innovate UK Smart Grants?

Smart is Innovate UK’s open grant funding programme. It provides funding for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. The competition typically runs quarterly, with up to £25 million available per round. The next deadline is 27th July 2022.

What are the changes?

According to Innovate UK, the changes reflect how important it is that the project has economic benefits and potential for successful commercialisation, growth and exports. The key takeaways are as follows:

  • There will be an increased focus on ‘game-changing’ innovation, as shown in Question 2.
  • Projects will not be funded if the technology is available or used in another sector.
  • There is a greater requirement to show how the proposal will lead to a significant return on investment for the UK taxpayer.
  • Applicants must explain why they need Smart funding to succeed (over other routes of investment).
  • Projects will not be funded if other Innovate UK funding support is available and deemed more appropriate.
  • Applicants must demonstrate their capability to deliver the project in the required timeframe.

Innovate UK has updated the application form in line with these points. There are now seven questions to answer, which you can find on the competition page.

What next?

Before starting an application, you should carefully read the competition scope, eligibility criteria, and application questions. You may also find it useful to watch the competition briefing event.

In addition, Innovate UK recently revealed that around 50% of all Smart Grant applications aren’t right for funding! As a result, they have released a five-question checklist for prospective applicants to consider.

How can RedKnight help?

RedKnight can help you prepare a competitive application. Not only will this save you time, with grant applications taking an average of 6-10 weeks to complete in-house, but it will also increase your chances of success! You can view a selection of our case studies here. In addition, we can provide application reviews and support with resubmissions.

If you are looking for support with an Innovate UK Smart Grant application, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


UK Shared Prosperity Fund allocates £585 million to Wales

Wales will receive £585 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) launched earlier this month. Here, we provide a short summary of the new Fund and what it means for Wales.

What is the UKSPF?

The UKSPF is a government-allocated fund set up to help spread opportunity and level up the country. The Fund aims to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK. To achieve this, it has three investment priorities: communities and place; supporting local business; and people and skills.

The UKSPF will provide £2.6 billion of funding between 2022 and 2025, with this figure reaching £1.5 billion per year by March 2025. This includes £1.58 billion for England, £212 million for Scotland, £585 million for Wales and £127 million for Northern Ireland.

Why is the UKSPF being introduced?

The UKSPF is part of the Levelling Up agenda and replaces money previously allocated to communities through EU Structural Funds. According to the UK Government, it will be less bureaucratic and give more control to locally elected leaders. There will also be no requirement for match funding.

How will the UKSPF be delivered?

In England, Scotland and Wales, local governments will be responsible for developing an investment plan for approval by the UK government, and for delivery of the Fund’s interventions thereafter. However, the UK government will retain oversight of the Fund in Northern Ireland.

Welsh Government reaction

The UK Government say that the scheme fulfils a promise to match previous EU funding. But according to Welsh Government estimates, Wales would have received EU Structural funding worth at least £375 million per year had the UK remained in the EU. Instead, Wales will receive a total of £585 million from the Shared Prosperity Fund over the next three years – around £195 million a year. This has led First Minister Mark Drakeford to accuse the UK Government of ‘levelling down’ Wales through the new Fund.

You can read more about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund here.


SBRI Rail Demonstrations: First of a Kind 2022

Organisations can apply for a share of £7.6 million to deliver 'First of a Kind' rail demonstrations . This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funded by the Department for Transport. It is part of a larger initiative to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily integrated into the railway system.

First of a Kind 2022 has three themes:

1. Low emissions and a greener railway

Projects must address reduced carbon emissions and the impact of the railway on the environment. Up to £60,000 is available per phase 1 project. In phase 2, three successful phase 1 applicants will receive up to £740,000 to develop a prototype and undertake field testing.

2. Rail freight

Projects must focus on one of the specific themes listed on the competition page. A total of £2.4m is available for Theme 2 projects. Contracts will be up to £400,000 for projects lasting no longer than 12 months.

3. Cost efficiency and performance priorities for a reliable railway

Projects must focus on one of the priorities listed on the competition page. A total of £2.5m is available for Theme 3 projects. Contracts will be between £150,000 and £250,000 for projects lasting no longer than six months.

Eligibility

Applicants are welcome from all sectors. The lead applicant must be an organisation of any size, and they can work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors. Projects must involve each of the following:

  • An owner of railway assets
  • An experienced railway organisation
  • A rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer

They must also include a potential integration partner and have a letter of support from a potential railway customer organisation.

More Information

First of a Kind 2022 is open for applications from 20th April until 8th June. For more information, register to attend the competition briefing event taking place in Birmingham on 5th May. The event will also be available to watch online.

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing innovation funding and can help you develop a competitive application! Please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


Innovate UK Smart Grants: April 2022

Child with jet pack reaching for the sky - Smart Grants innovation concept A new round of Smart Grants is open for applications! Up to £25m is available for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.

Innovate UK has changed some of the application questions for this round of Smart Grants. You can read the updated application form here.

Scope

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy. All ideas must be genuinely new and novel, not just disruptive within their sector. To be in scope, your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a game-changing, innovative, and disruptive idea that will lead to new products, processes or services
  • an idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • clear potential to positively impact the UK’s position, productivity and competitiveness within the global economy
  • a clear, evidence-based business plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • why Smart funding is the right potential funding for your project, and the journey you have already been on to reach the point of application
  • a team with the necessary skills and expertise to deliver the project successfully and on time, and to achieve rapid commercialisation
  • awareness of all the main risks the project will face with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, including the funding of post-project activities
Eligibility

Your application must include at least one SME; they can be the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner. The project must start no later than 1st January 2023 and end no later than 31st December 2025. Your project must also follow specific rules based on its duration:

  1. Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  2. Projects with durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £2 million. In contrast to shorter projects, they must be collaborative.

This competition is open from 25th April until 27th July. For more information, please visit the competition page or attend the online briefing event on 3rd May 2022. If you need help putting together a competitive proposal, please contact us today.

You may also be interested in our Innovate UK application guide – subscribe to RedKnight’s monthly newsletter today to receive a free copy direct to your inbox!


Funding available from the Farming Innovation Programme

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched two new competitions under the Farming Innovation Programme. Funding will help England’s farmers and growers to become more productive, environmentally sustainable, and more resilient to the global food security challenges of the future.

1. Farming Innovation Programme - Large R&D Partnership Projects

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £8m for collaborative projects that address major on-farm or immediate post-farmgate challenges or opportunities. Solutions must significantly improve productivity, sustainability and environmental impact, progression towards net zero emissions, and resilience.

The lead organisation must be a UK registered business of any size. In addition, projects must:

  • have total costs between £3m and £5m
  • be collaborative, involving at least one SME and one research organisation
  • last up to 48 months, starting by 1st February 2023 and ending by 31st January 2027
  • carry out all project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in England
  • have a minimum of 50% of any grant requested by farmers, growers or foresters allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England

Apply before 11am on Wednesday 29th June.

2. Farming Futures R&D Fund: Climate smart farming – EoI

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of £12.5m to develop ambitious new solutions for reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate. Solutions should significantly improve productivity, sustainability and environmental impact, progression towards net zero emissions, and resilience.

The lead organisation must be a UK-registered business of any size, academic institution or research and technology organisation. Projects must also:

  • have total eligible costs between £3 million and £6 million
  • be collaborative
  • address the specific requirements of the Defra key priorities for reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate
  • last between 24 and 48 months, starting by 1st April 2023 and ending by 31st March 2027
  • carry out all project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in England
  • have a minimum of 50% of any grant awarded to farmers, growers or foresters allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England

Expressions of interest must be submitted before 18th May. Successful applicants at this stage will be invited to apply for funding at stage 2 of the competition.

Planning to apply? RedKnight has a strong track record of securing innovation funding and can help you develop a competitive application! Please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


What happens after you submit an Innovate UK application?

You’ve just submitted your Innovate UK application and breathed a sigh of relief that weeks of hard work are finally complete. But what happens next? Here is everything you need to know, including details of the assessment process and how Innovate UK selects applications for funding.

The assessment process

After the deadline, applications that meet the competition scope and eligibility criteria will be assessed by up to five assessors. They will score each section of your application and provide written feedback based on their interpretation of your project idea.

Innovate UK assessors are experts from both business and academia. They base their assessment solely on the information provided and remain anonymous throughout the entire process. Learn more about the assessment process here.

The moderation process

Innovate UK carries out three steps to moderate the assessors’ scores:

  • Firstly, they check for any outliers in the scoring. They may remove any scores that seem unjustified or unsupported by the assessors’ comments.
  • Then, Innovate UK will look at the assessors’ answers to the final recommendation questions to determine whether an application is in scope and worthy of funding. Successful applications must receive a majority vote from the assessors on both questions.
  • Finally, Innovate UK checks the minimum quality threshold to ensure that only the most innovative applications receive funding. This is typically a score of 70% or above.

Once the moderation process is complete, Innovate UK will rank applications in a list from highest to lowest.

Allocation of funds

Innovate UK takes two approaches to allocate funding:

  1. Top Down – funds are allocated from the top down until the competition budget is reached.
  2. Portfolio – they select applications to suit a specific spend profile for a competition.

Then, Innovate UK's funders panel will receive the list of successful applications for approval. They will review the recommendations in line with the competition scope. Learn more about how applications are selected for funding here.

What happens next?

Innovate UK will notify applicants of the outcome of their application. All applicants will also receive assessor feedback. It may contain conflicting comments as it is based on the assessors’ individual interpretations. However, there is no right of appeal against the feedback provided and you cannot address this with Innovate UK or the individual assessors.

How can RedKnight help?

If you don’t get the news you are hoping for, RedKnight can help you prepare a competitive resubmission ahead of the next deadline. Please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


£4 million available for UK and Canadian net zero transportation projects

UK registered businesses and Canadian SMEs can apply for a share of £4 million to collaborate on joint R&D projects that enable the transition to net zero transportation. They must demonstrate high potential for commercialisation, address a technological challenge and target large global markets.

Scope

All projects must focus on innovations that enable the transition to net zero for the automotive, rail, or maritime sectors. They must focus on at least one of the following themes:

  1. Low and zero emission propulsion
  2. Advanced sustainable materials and manufacturing
  3. Highly disruptive technologies
  4. Assistive technologies and control systems

Funding is available for industrial research projects and experimental development projects.

Eligibility

The lead organisation must be a UK registered business of any size or a Canadian registered SME. However, all consortia must include at least one grant claiming UK registered SME and one eligible Canadian registered SME.

In addition, all projects must:

  • Have a grant funding request of no more than £300,000 allocated to UK organisations
  • Have a grant funding request of no more than CA$500,000 allocated to each eligible Canadian SME
  • Start by 1st January 2023 and end by 31st December 2024
  • Last between 12 and 24 months

You can read the full eligibility criteria here.

More Information

This competition opens on 4th April and closes at 5pm UK time on 29th June 2022. Canadian applicants must register and submit an Expression of Interest before submitting an application.

For more information, please visit the competition page or attend the online briefing event on 7th April. You might also be interested in the matchmaking event taking place on 25th April.

How can RedKnight help?

RedKnight has extensive experience of developing bids for transnational innovation projects. To find out more about how we can help, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


Biomedical Catalyst 2022 Round 1: Industry-led R&D

The Biomedical Catalyst will return later this month! In Round 1, UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £15 million to develop innovative health or healthcare-focused products, technologies and processes.

Scope

Projects can focus on any health or healthcare challenge. They can include a range of activities, such as:

  • experimental evaluation (at laboratory scale)
  • use of in vitro and in vivo models to evaluate proof of concept or safety
  • exploring potential production mechanisms
  • prototyping
  • product development planning
  • intellectual property protection
  • a demonstration of clinical utility and effectiveness
  • a demonstration of safety and efficacy (including phase 1 and 2 clinical trials)
  • regulatory planning

As this is the Industry-led R&D stream of the Biomedical Catalyst programme, applicants must also demonstrate existing evidence of commercial and technical feasibility.

Eligibility

All projects must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • have total project costs between £150,000 and £4 million, not exceeding a grant request of £2 million
  • have at least 50% of the total project costs shared by the SMEs, if collaborative
  • start before 1 December 2022 and end before 30 November 2025
  • last between 6 months and 36 months
  • carry out all project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project or work alone, your organisation must be a UK registered SME. You can work in collaboration with other organisations, including businesses of any size, academic institutions, charities, not-for-profits, public sector organisations, or research and technology organisations. They must also be registered in the UK.

More Information

Round 1 of the Biomedical Catalyst is open from 28th March until 25th May. For more information, please visit the competition page or join the online briefing event on 5th April.

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing funding for life science companies. If you would like to discuss working together, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.


£4.7m available for innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application

Innovate UK is working with the National Physical Laboratory to invest up to £4.7 million in business-led innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application. The key areas for development are resilience; distribution; trust, assurance and security; and integration and processing of signals.

The competition has three aims:

  1. Support and enable business-led innovation across the UK supply chain in resilient time, frequency and synchronisation (TFS) for the development of products, services and end-user applications.
  2. Develop a TFS ecosystem and capability for relevant industries and critical national infrastructure.
  3. Disrupt and create new markets, both in the UK and globally, to improve the provision of TFS.
Strand 1: Demonstrator

This strand is for projects undertaking late-stage industrial research or experimental developmental projects. Strand 1 projects must:

  • have total costs between £70,000 and £1 million
  • start by 1 November 2022 and end by 31 March 2024
  • last between 9 and 18 months

In addition, projects must be led by a UK-registered business. They can work in collaboration with other UK registered businesses, research and technology organisations, academic institutions, public sector organisations, charities or not for profits.

Strand 2: Feasibility

This strand is for projects undertaking early-stage feasibility studies. Strand 2 projects must:

  • have total costs between £50,000 and £250,000
  • start by 1 November 2022 and end by 31 October 2023
  • last between 6 and 12 months

In addition, projects must be led by a UK-registered business. They can work in collaboration with other UK registered businesses, research and technology organisations, academic institutions, public sector organisations, charities or not for profits.

More Information

Innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application is open from 14th March until 1st June. More information is available on the competition pages (Strand 1 and Strand 2), where you can also register to attend the briefing event on 25th March.

If you are looking for bid writing support, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.