Funding is available for businesses in the UK to explore commercial models for a circular economy of goods in which resources are kept in productive use for longer.
Total funding of up to £800,000 is available. Innovate UK expects to provide funding of between £25,000 and £50,000 to individual projects.
The percentage of costs that will be paid varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and the type of organisation involved. Universities and research organisations, including research and technology organisations and Catapults, and social enterprises are eligible as partners but their portion of the total project costs will be capped at 30%.
Funding for initial studies will be followed by a second competition for collaborative R&D funding for a small number of pilot projects.
Innovate UK is the UK government agency tasked with funding, supporting and connecting innovative businesses to accelerate sustainable economic growth.
Innovate UK are looking to invest in projects that explore commercial models for a circular economy of goods in which resources are kept in productive use for longer following primary production – ideally at the same value/use.
The circular economy represents a substantial opportunity for business. Researchers at McKinsey & Company estimate that significant adoption of circular business models worldwide could save as much as $520-630 billion a year.
The agency is looking to support feasibility studies into the business case for retaining value in durable goods through reuse, remanufacture or leasing/maintenance. Projects should explore the right business model that maximises retained value for the products and that ensures profitability of products and services can be maintained through the re-use of resources. It is expected that projects will be made up of new collaborations that could establish a value network based on the principles of a circular economy, and that feasibility studies will explore how the business models for each part of the network will operate successfully. Projects should plan a pilot project to test this and demonstrate how it can become part of normal business.
General routes to recycling material components are out of the scope under which funding can be provided.
It is expected that applications for projects will come from new collaborations that could establish a value network based on the principles of a circular economy, and that feasibility studies will explore how the business models for each part of the network will operate successfully.
Feasibility studies (mainly pre-industrial research projects) must be collaborative and business-led. Consortia should include a business that has the relationship with the final customer and can enable return of products. Universities and research organisations, including research and technology organisations and Catapults, and social enterprises are eligible as partners. Projects should last for six months.
Successful applicants will be required to contribute a certain amount of match funding; contact the provider for more information on this.
Studies within Innovate UK’s Great Recovery project have demonstrated the value of bringing design expertise into circular economy projects, therefore, the incorporation of design elements into projects is encouraged. The output from projects should be a business case for the proposed model and a project plan for a pilot of the new value network.
Applicants should clearly describe where revenue generation and growth could occur in the UK as a result of the innovation and its exploitation. The benefits of the new approach should be quantified as far as possible, and any assumptions regarding market size and environmental impacts described and justified.
The deadline for registration to the competition was 8 April 2015. The final deadline for full applications was 15 April 2015. Details of any future rounds will be reported should they become available.
Frequency: Not specified.
Link to guidelines:
In order to apply, interested parties must first register through the competition page on the Innovate UK website. Registration will open when the competition opens and will close a week before the deadline for applications.