Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) Round 4 Challenges

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is an Ofgem programme managed in partnership with Innovate UK. Its purpose is to support energy network innovation that will help achieve Net Zero rapidly and at lowest cost; deliver real net benefits to energy network users and consumers; and help the UK to become a 'Silicon Valley' of energy. The next round of SIF is being launched next week, with 4 new targeted innovation challenges.

Innovators will be invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI), outlining their idea to address the challenges. The EoI stage will give Innovate UK an opportunity to engage innovators in developing ideas before submission into the Call for Ideas; opening on Innovate UK’s Innovation Funding Service portal on 1st May 2024.

Successful ideas will have an opportunity to pitch their idea to the energy networks. Networks will then invite the most suitable pitches to partner with them to develop their idea further, with the aim of applying to the Discovery phase of Round 4.

Innovate UK will be hosting two introductory webinars to give a more in-depth view of the new challenges and explain next steps on how to get involved in this exciting new round of the SIF:

  • Thursday 7 March @ 11:00 am
  • Friday 15 March @ 9:00 am

You can register your attendance for the Round 4 Challenges Launch Webinars to ensure you are informed of the new challenges.

EIC Summit and R&I Week

The European Innovation Council Summit 2024, will take place on 18th and 19th March as part of the Research & Innovation week.

Celebrating the 40-year journey through the Research and Innovation Framework Programmes, the R&I Week 2024 will debate the future of R&I and shape the contribution to EU political priorities, in particular the EU Tech Sovereignty and Competitiveness.

Tuesday 19th March will be fully dedicated to EIC beneficiaries with workshops covering diverse issues for researchers and entrepreneurs, such as intellectual property rights, investments, or scaling up your company. Discover the full programme and list of speakers.

The R&I week also includes the Belgian Presidency event on Innovative Procurement, taking over from the EIC Summit on the late afternoon of 19 March and continuing until the afternoon of 20 March. After that, it’s the start of the Research and Innovation Days providing a full R&I related programme, closing at the end of 21st March.

To register, click here.

UK Research and Innovation's Leap into Open Access: Empowering Knowledge Sharing

In a landmark move, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) ushers in a new era of academic openness. From January 2024, its comprehensive open access policy extends to monographs, book chapters, and edited collections, revolutionising the dissemination of scholarly work. This paradigm shift in knowledge sharing aligns with the growing global mandate for open access, marking a significant evolution in academic publishing.

Building on its 2022 policy for peer-reviewed research articles, UKRI now includes a broader range of academic outputs under its open access umbrella. The policy ensures that research funded by UKRI, a critical financier in the UK's academic landscape, is freely accessible to everyone. This democratisation of knowledge aims to accelerate scientific discovery and innovation by removing traditional barriers to information access.

The policy is a response to the scholarly community's call for more equitable access to research findings. It reflects a fundamental change in how research is shared, promoting transparency and collaboration across disciplines. The inclusion of monographs and book chapters is particularly notable, as these forms of academic outputs have historically been less accessible due to cost and distribution limitations.

The implications of this policy are far-reaching. For academics, it represents an opportunity to increase the visibility and impact of their work. Students, educators, and researchers worldwide stand to benefit from unrestricted access to a wider array of scholarly materials. This could particularly benefit those in developing countries, where access to academic literature is often limited. For the private sector, it will enable translation of research into innovative products, processes, and services to aid economic growth and job creation.

The response from the academic community has been largely positive, with many viewing it as a progressive step towards a more inclusive and collaborative research environment. However, there are also concerns about how this transition will be funded and managed, particularly regarding the financial implications for researchers and publishers.

UKRI's expansion of its open access policy marks a pivotal moment in academic publishing. By embracing open access, UKRI is not just enhancing the visibility of UK research but also contributing to a global movement towards a more accessible and equitable knowledge economy. While challenges remain, particularly in implementation and sustainability, the potential benefits of this policy for the global research community are immense. As this policy takes effect, it paves the way for a future where knowledge is a shared and accessible resource, fostering innovation and understanding across borders.

DASA has launched a new Themed Competition: Analysing and Understanding Audiences

A new Themed Competition titled "Analysing and Understanding Audiences" has been initiated by DASA, supported by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The competition aims to provide up to £1 million in funding for innovative concepts to analyse and comprehend audiences.

This competition, managed by DASA on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), aims to solicit proposals that can enhance the UK Defence's capacity in the area of "Analysing and Understanding Audiences." The emphasis is on pinpointing inventive tools, techniques, and methodologies that could assist in selecting, analysing, and comprehending audiences. 


Areas of particular interest include: 

  • Audience Segmentation 
  • Behavioural Insight Assessment 
  • Narrative Assessment 
  • Information Environment Assessment (IEA) 
  • Human Environment Assessment 
  • Network Analysis 
  • Channel Analysis 
  • Information Packs 
  • Assessment Metrics 


Key Dates and Funding: 

Up to £1m is available to fund multiple proposals. 

The deadline to submit a proposal is midday 30 May 2023. 


Dial in sessions: 30 March 2023 and 4 April 2023 

A series of 15 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions. 

Register for 30 March 2023 

Register for 4 April 2023 


More Information:  

For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today. 

Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme 2023

Join the 2023 Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme by applying now. Innovate UK KTN is seeking to choose a maximum of 15 SMEs for the programme with the aim of expediting their investment process. 

If your small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) is involved in the battery industry and you aim to accelerate your investment efforts, we encourage you to apply. The Investment Readiness Programme will assist you in refining your pitch to investors, gaining a better understanding of funding opportunities, preparing your investment materials, and delivering a compelling commercial story with greater confidence. 

Innovate UK KTN will spearhead the programme with support from the Faraday Battery Challenge, in addition to expert guidance from Mountside Ventures and Stronger Stories. Regular interactions with investors will be part of the programme, allowing you to navigate the fundraising process, build connections, and initiate your journey. 

The chosen SMEs will participate in a 12-week workshop programme led by Innovate UK KTN and facilitated by professionals and investors, including one-on-one mentoring sessions. By the end of the programme, you will have crafted an investor pitch, refined your proposition, and gained a comprehensive understanding of your financials and future plans. 

The programme will culminate in a live showcase event where the cohort will present to an audience of investors with an interest in the battery sector. 



  • UK based SMEs
  • Organisations active in battery technologies for transport and energy storage.  
  • Organisations across the battery value chain (including cell materials and components, cells, modules and packs, recycling & enabling technologies) 
  • The programme is open to new participants only. If you have participated in the Faraday Battery Challenge Investment Readiness Programme 2021 and 2022 you will not be eligible to re-apply. 


How to submit your application:  

Step 1: Click on 'Submit Pitch Here' below  

Step 2: Create a new account* by clicking on 'Need to create an account?'  

Step 3: You can now start your application by clicking on the 'Submit Pitch Here' button  

*this will enable you to save your application before you submit, revisit to modify your application before the deadline, and check the status of your application 


Proposed timetable 

  • Deadline for applications: 5pm, 21st April 2023 
  • Application review and selection: 24th April 2023 
  • Cohort “get to know you”: w/c 1 May *(virtual) 
  • Workshop on Narrative and Storytelling: w/c 8th of May (live) 
  • Workshop on Funding Options and Strategy: w/c 15th of May (virtual) 
  • Pitch practice session: w/c 29th May (live) 
  • Panel to select companies to pitch at Showcase: w/c 7th of June (virtual) 
  • Showcase of selected companies to UK investors: w/c 10th July (live) 


*The dates are subject to change. Additional sessions will be added to address the cohort’s needs; participation in these will be optional. Mentoring support will also be available throughout the programme. 


More Information:  

For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today. 

UK-South Korea Collaborative R&D Round 2

Up to £2 million will be invested in innovation projects through a collaboration between Innovate UK, which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) and Korean Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP). 

This competition is designed to finance collaborative research and development (R&D) projects led by businesses, with a focus on industrial research. Its objective is to support innovative proposals that are jointly developed between the UK and South Korea. 

At least one partner from the UK and one from South Korea must be included in the proposal. Organizations based in the UK must apply to and receive funding from Innovate UK. 

Innovate UK will not provide any funding to the South Korean partner. Rather, South Korean partners must apply for and receive funding from either KIAT or KETEP, depending on the focus sector of the project: 


  • advanced manufacturing and materials 
  • artificial intelligence 
  • future mobility (including battery technologies) 


  • energy storage system 
  • Hydrogen 

Your project must: 

  • have a maximum grant funding request of no more than £500,000 
  • start by 1 November 2023 
  • end by 30 October 2026 
  • last between 24 and 36 months 

Your project must demonstrate: 

  • a clear game changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services 
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses and documents market potential and needs 
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines 
  • good value for money which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy or national productivity
  • the benefits of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where intellectual property (IP) can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within 2 to 3 years of project completion 


Competition closes: Wednesday 7 June 2023 11:00am 

Applicants notified: 14 August 2023 


More Information:   

The applications are open until 3 May 2023 11:00am. For more information and registration, please check here.  

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK Smart Grants and can help you develop a competitive application! If you would like help putting together a competitive proposal, please contact us today. 

Horizon Europe guarantee: application and grant offer statistics

On behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is delivering the statistic for 'Horizon Europe guarantee'. 

This data is updated each month and includes the total number of: 

  • verified applications submitted to UKRI, and the total grant value requested in these applications 
  • grant offer letters issued to applicants, and the value of the grant offers issued. 

The data is also divided according to the method used by UKRI to apply for the guarantee funds. 


Number of applications and grant offers made through the Horizon Europe guarantee up to 28 February 2023. 

Guarantee grant type  Applications submitted and verified  Value of grants requested in verified applications  Grant offer letters issued  Value of grant offers issued 
Collaborative Horizon Europe guarantee grants (hosted on Innovation Funding Service)  1,387  £614.0 million  1,206  £500.9 million 
European Research Council guarantee grants  211  £304.4 million  210  £301.6 million 
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions guarantee grants  359  £82.1 million  347  £80.3 million 
Total  1,957  £1,000.5 million  1,763  £882.8 million



Apply for Horizon Europe guarantee funding 

Although the UK is in the process of associating with the programme, the "Horizon Europe guarantee" scheme offers funds to academics and innovators who are unable to get their Horizon Europe grant. UKRI is distributing the cash through its grant mechanisms. 

To be eligible you must: 

  • be based in the UK 
  • have been successful at applying for a Horizon Europe grant with final submission deadlines on or before 30 June 2023 
  • have been included on the initial grant proposal as a ‘beneficiary’ with an assigned budget 

Before you submit your application for "multi-beneficiary funds," the coordinator and the European Commission must have signed your grant agreement.  

For "mono-beneficiary grants," the Commission's financing offer must have been withdrawn, or you must send a letter saying that the "grant agreement preparation" process with the Commission has been terminated. 


Follow the specific guidance for your type of grant here: UKRI guidance for the Horizon Europe guarantee scheme. 

Source: UK Research and Innovation 

DASA launches two new Innovation Focus Areas

In order to achieve strategic goals, the Defence Artificial Intelligence Centre (DAIC) will enhance the capability of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to use artificial intelligence (AI) effectively. A new Innovation Focus Area (IFA), Artificial Intelligence for Defence, is being launched by Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Defence AI Centre (DAIC). A purpose of this IFA is to invite proposals for innovative research projects aiming to implement AI within Defence and/or to overcome common barriers to implementing AI. This IFA seeks to use a variety of AI advances, including autonomous logistics, machine-speed decision-making, and human-machine teaming for military purposes, to significantly advance defence. 


Applying AI to address defence challenges: 

The UK's aim to adapt and utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI) at pace and scale for defence advantage is outlined in the Defence AI Strategy (DAIS). This IFA gives innovators the chance to recommend AI projects to defence in an effort to bring the best ideas from a diverse range of innovators. By using AI application to address defense challenges, the UK and its allies will be capable to maintain an advantage in defence and security.  Defence is willing to utilize the efficiency gains that AI is delivering to a variety of other industries. Examples of intended outcomes from AI include changes in: 

  • the quality and timeliness of intelligence data available to military commanders 
  • the effectiveness in planning and conducting operations 
  • reducing the risk to life of armed forces personnel through the use of uncrewed, autonomous platforms 
  • automating routine tasks to free defence personnel up to do higher value activities 
  • achieving better value for the taxpayer by making the business of defence more efficient 


DASA and DAIC are interested in funding proposals that bring significant benefits to defence through the use of AI. 

  • autonomous logistics and any research with the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of the logistics chain or increase availability 
  • exploiting operational data, e.g., to support intelligence analysis, or to protect the force. This could require using open-source data or classified data from any source, including sensors; if the exploitation of the innovation is likely to use classified data, your proposal would benefit from considering how this could be achieved (please note that no classified data will be provided) 
  • human-machine teaming for military effect (including the use of autonomous systems within the force, and the coordination of multiple crewed / autonomous systems) 
  • machine-speed decision making (e.g., to support operational planning and command and control) 
  • increasing efficiency, or how defence manages and supports its people and its systems 


Read the full IFA and submit a proposal. 

Source: Defence and Security Accelerator, www.gov.uk 

Has the UK-Horizon Europe Association reached a breakthrough?

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says, the moment the Protocol agreement is approved, negotiations on the UK rejoining the science research programme can start. 

In an effort to resolve the problems affecting post-Brexit trade and regulations in Northern Ireland, the president of the European Commission and Rishi Sunak have reached a "in principle" agreement to revise the protocol.  

Additionally, Ms. von der Leyen claimed that approval of the Windsor Framework would make it possible for the UK to rejoin the €95.5 billion (£84.1 billion) Horizon programme. "This Windsor Framework is fantastic news for scientists and researchers in the European Union and in the UK," she told a press conference in Windsor. 

Academics, lobbyists, and politicians are urging the two sides to complete affiliation as quickly as possible after 18 months of uncertainty as it appears that the main barrier to the UK joining Horizon Europe has been removed. 

According to MEP Christian Ehler, a rapporteur for Horizon Europe in the European Parliament, the Windsor framework was a significant development in the relationship between the EU and the UK. “If a large majority in Westminster supports this agreement, the UK will once again be a trustworthy partner for the EU, and we must immediately complete the UK's association with Horizon Europe”, he said. 

The UK government has consistently pledged that researchers and firms will get at least as much money from the EU initiative during the 2021–27 EU budget term if the UK is permanently excluded from Horizon Europe. In accordance with the TCA (Trade and Cooperation Agreement) , the UK would be permitted to take part in the Copernicus earth and space observation initiative in exchange for making an annual financing contribution of about €2 billion. 



Sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture: CR&D

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £12 million for this competition. The funding is intended to support projects that can demonstrate how the use of biomanufacture based products can reduce waste and carbon emissions, as well as improve the efficiency of the production process. Ultimately, the goal is to create more sustainable products that have a positive environmental impact. 

The goal of this challenge is to create and implement innovative, disruptive, sustainable biomanufacturing by 2050. enhancing the UK's ability to compete globally by encouraging cooperative research and development (CR&D) across various industries and sectors. 

Businesses and researchers will be able to collaborate on projects to create more innovative and sustainable bio-based products, biotechnology processes, and products. 


Your project must: 

  • have total costs between £300,000 and £1 million 
  • start by 1 October 2023 
  • end by 30 September 2025 
  • last between 12 and 24 months 
  • be collaborative 
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK 
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK 


In accordance with current restrictions, Russian, Belarusian, or Myanmar organisation cannot serve as the lead, partner, or subcontractor in any procurement, commercial, business development, or supply chain activity funded by this competition. All Russian, Belarusian, and Myanmar goods and services fall under this category. 


Your proposal must support organisations in biomanufacturing in the future to be: 

  • net zero and resource efficient 
  • resilient and responsive 
  • technologically advanced and digital 


Your project must address the challenge of developing innovations in sustainable biomanufacturing processes like: 

  • increasing the use of bio-based feedstocks 
  • using biotechnology for alternative bio-based chemical replacements including low carbon polymers and, liquid and gaseous fuels for transport, heating and renewable energy 
  • enhancing the sustainability profile of biotechnology processes 
  • innovative use and re-use of renewable feedstocks 
  • biotechnology-based manufacture processes for sustainable and circular products with whole systems approach 
  • consideration of broader life cycle thinking 


Competition opens: Tuesday 7 March 2023 

Competition closes: Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:00am 


More Information:  

The applications are open until Wednesday 3 May 2023 11:00am. For more information and registration, please check here. 

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing Innovate UK funding! If you would like help in putting together a competitive proposal, contact us today.