Funding to support technology innovations that address challenges in the energy sector, specifically low carbon, security of supply and affordability (the 'energy trilemma').
Up to £13 million is available for the fifth round of the Catalyst, to be split between early, mid and late stage awards.
The three competition streams have different project size and duration requirements as follows:
- Early stage: projects are expected to last up to one year with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £300,000.
- Mid stage: projects are expected to last up to three years, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £1.5 million.
- Late stage: projects are expected to last up to three years, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £10 million.
The Energy Catalyst has been established by Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The Department for International Development (DFID) joined as a co-funder of the Energy Catalyst in 2016. DFID’s funding will support innovation that is relevant to the needs of developing countries. In particular, this will help transform energy access for communities in sub-Saharan countries.
Innovate UK is offering businesses and universities a share of up to £13 million to develop innovative solutions to global energy challenges.
According to Innovate UK, technology innovation is needed to solve the global energy sector ‘trilemma’ of low carbon; security of supply; and affordability. These challenges, which are creating global market opportunities, are enabling innovative UK businesses to develop world-leading solutions to these challenges.
The Energy Catalyst funding competition supports innovative solutions in any technology or sector area. The aim of the competition is to speed up the best of UK innovation at all development stages. It helps businesses progress their innovations to commercial readiness.
The proposed solutions can focus on any part of the energy trilemma. Through the fourth round of the competition, there are three awards, each open to businesses, universities and research organisations:
- Early-stage award - technical feasibility
These awards fund projects that explore and test the technical potential of an innovative idea or concept. They do this through technical feasibility studies. The aim is to find out if a pre-industrial concept is ready for further technology development.
- Mid-stage awards - technology development
These will fund projects that take innovative ideas through to the technology development stage. They do this by carrying out industrial research and development. This can include laboratory studies and component or system development and testing. It can also include verification and evaluation in simulated environments.
- Late-stage awards - pre-commercial technology validation
Late-stage awards prove and assess the capability and performance of innovative technologies. They do this through pre-commercial technology validation. This can include prototype and pilot testing and field trials. This takes place at the component and system levels in realistic operating environments.
Funding is not available for:
- Innovations unlikely to contribute significantly to energy affordability, security and reduced carbon emissions.
- Incremental innovations unlikely to significantly contribute to UK economic and business growth.
- Projects that cover only one or two aspects of the energy trilemma.
Any UK organisation may participate in Energy Catalyst Competition projects. The three competition streams have different eligibility requirements as follows:
- Early stage: interested parties can apply for and lead an early stage project if they are a UK research organisation working in partnership with any UK business, a UK small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) working alone, or a UK SME working in partnership with any other organisation.
- Mid and late stage: interested parties can apply for and lead a mid or late stage project if they are a UK business working in partnership with any other UK organisation.
Each partner in a project can receive funding towards their project costs. The funding is a percentage of the total eligible project costs and varies, depending on the type of organisation and the type of research.
Businesses can receive up to 70% of the eligible project costs. The level of total research organisation participation is set at a maximum of 30% of total eligible project costs (or up to 50% for early stage projects). If a consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum must be shared between them. Research organisation funding will be up to 100% of total eligible costs (academics receive all 80% fEC).
Innovations could include, for example:
- New technologies.
- Enhancement or alternative applications of existing technologies.
- Development of components, sub-systems or systems.
- Integrated whole-system approaches.
- Enabling technologies for the energy system.
The following key dates apply to this scheme:
- Competition open: 24 April 2017
- Brokerage events: April-May 2017
- Registration deadline: 12 noon, 21 June 2017
- Application deadline (for registered applicants only): 12 noon, 28 June 2017
- Decision to applicants: September 2017
Applicants must first register with IUK via the website prior to making a full application.
Those who have registered will receive an email acknowledgement of the registration followed by a second email (up to 48 hours later) which will contain a username and password for IUK's secure upload facility along with a unique application number and form.
Once the username and password has been obtained the applicant can sign into the secure website to access the finance forms for this competition. The lead partner should submit the application form, project appendices (as PDF documents) labelled with the application number, partner finance forms for every non-academic partner in the project and Je-S submission PDF output document for every academic partner in the project.
Further advice and assistance with submitting an application may be sought directly from Innovate UK.