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Driving the Electric Revolution: Supply Chains for Net Zero


UK-registered businesses of any size can apply for a share of up to £22million for research into supply chain development for power electronics, electric machines and drives.

ISCF will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £22million in innovation projects. These will be to support the government’s green industrial revolution in transport, energy and industrial sectors.

The aim of this competition is to facilitate the UK’s niche and volume supply chain and manufacturing capability growth in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD).

Your proposal must help the UK to achieve the objectives of the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge and have a significant impact on the PEMD supply chain in the UK to support the UK’s drive towards net zero.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £500,000 and £5million.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim of this competition is to address key research and development opportunities in the UK power electronics, machines, and drives (PEMD) supply chain to support the UK’s drive towards net zero. This is to facilitate UK niche and volume supply chain and manufacturing capability growth in PEMD.

By niche supply chain we mean low volume, high value. By volume supply chain we mean high volume, high efficiency.

Up to £22million will be invested in business-led, supply chain focused, innovation projects that enable future improvements in:

  • Productivity
  • Capacity
  • Quality
  • Efficiency

Projects must:

  • Start by 1 February 2022
  • Be industry led
  • Be collaborative

Your project outputs should ideally have potential for cross-sector impact. Your outputs must:

  • Show a demonstrable benefit to a UK PEMD supply chain
  • Be exploitable through future activities
  • Demonstrate a credible return on investment

Innovate UK want to see a range of project sizes and durations from £500,000 to £5million and from 18 months to 36 months duration.

Innovate UK want to fund a portfolio of projects across multiple sectors.

The Challenge Director reserves the right to make sure that the portfolio of successful projects will have the greatest positive impact to the UK’s PEMD supply chain.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on the following areas:

Manufacturing process development, such as:

  • Innovations and approaches to improve manufacturing productivity
  • Implementation of an innovative new tool into a process line
  • Automation of a specific process
  • Reconfiguring a process line in an innovative way to improve productivity or flexibility

Design for manufacture, such as:

  • Designing, redesigning, prototyping a product where the focus is on how you manufacture it more efficiently and cost effectively
  • Specification of a manufacturing process
  • Virtual process development (VPD) including improvements in modelling and simulation software
  • Developments which enable products to be manufactured with recycling taken into consideration

Innovative end-of-line testing and product validation processes:

  • Scale-up and/or automation of testing and validation processes, with an aim of increasing productivity
  • Supply chain improvements

Circular economy, including:

  • Scale-up of processes for the recycling and recovery of materials from end-of-life PEMD products
  • Lifecycle and embedded carbon analysis with a view of process improvement
  • Waste reduction and process energy efficiency improvements

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Other PEMD supply chain improvements may be in scope.

Your project must:

  • Have started by 1 February 2022
  • End by 31 January 2025
  • Last between 18 and 36 months
  • Have total eligible costs between £500,000 and £5million

To lead a project, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size
  • Collaborate with other UK registered businesses, RTOs, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Research organisations cannot lead projects.

The make-up of your project team must include at least three layers of an existing or new supply chain. When choosing supply chain partners for the project team, you must make sure that supply side and demand side are both represented.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

Your project can include other collaborators that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

Innovate UK expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. They will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further two applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to three applications.

A research organisation cannot lead but can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and state aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. Innovate UK will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

European Commission State aid

You must apply under European Commission State aid rules if you are an applicant who is conducting activities that will affect trade of goods and/or electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU as envisaged by Article 10 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

In certain limited circumstances, the European Commission State aid rules may also apply if you are an organisation located in England, Wales, or Scotland and conduct activities that affect the trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU. For further information, please see section 7 of the BEIS technical guidance.

For further information see the general guidance on state aid and BEIS guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

For applicants subject to the European Commission State aid rules, applicants will be required to prove that they were not an “Undertaking in Difficulty” on the date of 31 December 2019 but became a UID between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2021. You will be asked for evidence of this.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, please take independent legal advice.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean Innovate UK need to change the terms of this competition, they will tell you as soon as possible.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £22million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • Up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • Up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research organisations can claim 100% of their total eligible project costs.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Innovate UK are not funding:

  • Fundamental research, feasibility studies or proof of concept projects
  • Projects that are not collaborative
  • Projects that are not industry led
  • Projects that focus on product development which do not focus on design for manufacture and supply chain development
  • Projects that do not develop capability that will enhance UK PEMD supply chains
  • Projects that do not demonstrate a credible return on investment
  • Projects focused around batteries
  • Projects dependent on export performance
  • Projects dependent on domestic inputs usage

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.