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Energy catalyst round 7: Early, Mid and Late stages

Overview:

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £22million across three strands to help provide clean, affordable and secure energy in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or both.

Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) will invest up to £22m. This is in innovation projects as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Transforming Energy Access (TEA) programme.

The aim of this competition is to support highly innovative, market-focused energy solutions in any technology or sector.

Projects must encourage the development of products and services that help countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or both regions access secure, low cost and low carbon energy. They must be targeted at people, public services and local enterprises who are unable to afford or access existing solutions, or who lack the time or expertise to successfully use those solutions.

Proposals must also address all three elements of the energy ‘trilemma’:

  1. Cost
  2. Emissions
  3. Security of supply and energy access

There are three options to apply into this competition. These are referred to as strands and will be run in parallel. The strands are dependent on the stage your project is at:

  1. Early stage for feasibility studies
  2. Mid-stage for industrial research
  3. Late stage for experimental development

Open Date:

17/06/2019

Close Date:

18/09/2019

The Energy Catalyst is open to any energy technology from any sector. However, to be in scope for round 7 your project must address the following areas of the energy trilemma:

  1. Clean
  2. Affordable
  3. Security of supply and energy access

Your project must aim to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households and enterprises in Sub-Saharan-Africa or South Asia. It must do this by supporting the development, testing and/or scale up of innovative technologies and business models. It is open to both on-grid and off-grid solutions but will be aimed at delivering Global Goal 7: ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

See the ‘Countries’ tab to view the list of eligible countries.

Your application must take into account gender equality and social inclusion issues. You must:

  • Identify the main beneficiaries
  • Describe how you will mitigate any negative effects
  • Provide a plan of how to address both gender and social inclusion during the life of your project
  • Explain how your project will encourage equality

Your project could focus on, for example:

  • Making new solutions more affordable
  • Integrating technologies in new systems or business models to help unlock finance and deployment
  • Developing technologies or partnership business models that address other barriers to deployment, such as skills required to develop or maintain technologies
  • Unlocking underserved market segments that existing solutions are not reaching at scale, such as rural areas, frontier markets or specific energy end-users

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 small business
  • Up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • Up to 25% if you are a large business

Grant awards to international partners will be at the same percentage as equivalent UK organisations.

To be in scope, your project must target one or more of the following countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Ethiopia
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

South Asia:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Early Stage

To be eligible for funding you can be from any country, and must be a:

  • Business
  • Research technology organisation (RTO)
  • Academic organisation
  • Charity
  • Or public sector organisation

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £50,000 and £300,000.

Your project:

  • Must intend to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or both
  • Must include a UK-based administrative lead
  • Must involve at least one SME, from anywhere in the world

Mid Stage

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £50,000 and £1.5million.

Your project:

  • Must intend to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or both
  • Must involve at least one partner with a legal entity in one of the focus countries in Africa and South Asia, this could include in country offices
  • Must include a UK-based administrative lead
  • Must involve at least one SME, from anywhere in the world

Late Stage

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £50,000 and £5million

Your project:

  • Must intend to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or both
  • Must involve at least one partner with a legal entity in one of the focus countries in Africa and South Asia, this could include in country offices
  • Must include a UK-based administrative lead
  • Involve at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME) from anywhere in the world

Lead applicants

The administrative lead:

  • Must be based in the UK
  • Will be the recipient of the award and will distribute funding to the international partners (hub and spoke model)
  • Must be an SME, academic organisation or RTO
  • Will manage and be accountable for the finances of the project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award
  • Must claim funding through this competition

The technical lead:

  • Can be from anywhere in the world
  • Will lead on the development of the scope, work packages within the project and other work from a technical perspective
  • Can be an SME, academic or RTO
  • Must claim funding through this competition

UK-based SMEs, academics or RTOs can be both the administrative and technical lead.

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

You must be able to demonstrate that there is a clear economic and societal benefit to one or more of the targeted countries. This is because the funding forms part of the UK government’s official development assistance budget (ODA).

If projects are judged to be non-compliant with ODA, Innovate UK will not submit the application for assessment.

Capital usage

Expenditure on capital usage is eligible for funding. All materials must be directly related to and essential to the goals of the project.

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK reserve the right to use a portfolio approach. This is to make sure that the strategic criteria described in the competition brief is met for all projects considered to be above the quality threshold. This will be as a result of independent expert assessment. This may include balancing by technology areas, geographic region, and stage of project.

Research organisations

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.

Innovate UK are not funding:

  • Innovations unlikely to contribute significantly to energy affordability, security and reduced carbon emissions
  • Innovations that do not improve energy access in either sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia
  • Projects that do not address all areas of the energy ‘trilemma’: cost, emissions and security of supply
  • Projects that do not take into account and plan to manage gender equality and social inclusion issues

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.