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ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: Business-led R&D

Overview:

UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7million for R&D projects with the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastic Pact targets. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £7million from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme in innovation projects.

These projects must have the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastics Pact targets in the long term, and address widely known problems related to plastic packaging for consumer products.

Your proposal must:

  • Improve the sustainability of the plastic packaging supply chain
  • Make a significant contribution towards delivering the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
  • Utilise at-scale innovation in design, technology, processes, business models, supply chains or data for plastic packaging
  • Embed a whole systems approach to plastic packaging sustainability, considering environmental, economic, and social factors

This competition will award grants from £200,000 to £4million per project.

Open Date:

18/05/2021

Close Date:

8/09/2021

This competition will fund ambitious R&D projects with the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastic Pact targets and address widely known problems related to plastic packaging for consumer products.

Your project must primarily address one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets.

The benefits of your new approach must be quantified in terms of the Pact targets and by comparison to the current system or dominant solutions.

Any environmental impacts must be described and justified.

Innovate UK want to fund a portfolio of projects, addressing the four UK Plastics Pact targets, across a variety of technologies and markets.

This competition is funded by the ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Fund (SSPP), the Challenge Director reserves the right to make the final decision on whether a project will receive funding.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • The minimising or reduction of plastic packaging
  • Packaging suitable for reuse, refill and online delivery
  • Sustainable solutions for film and flexibles
  • Food grade recycled polypropylene and polyethylene
  • Behaviour change leading to less packaging waste or higher recycling rates
  • Solutions which address the UK Plastics Pact target for problematic or unnecessary single use plastic packaging items

This list is not intended to be exhaustive; Innovate UK are particularly interested in ambitious projects.

Your project must:

  • Claim a grant between £200,000 and £4million
  • Start in early 2022
  • End by 31 March 2025
  • Last between 12 and 36 months

To lead a project or work alone, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.


Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research 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

If a collaboration, 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 partners 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

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. Innovate UK 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.

An academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research organisation, or RTO 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.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see the general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. Innovate UK are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

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 £7million to fund innovation projects in this competition. The competition will award grants from £200,000 to £4million per project.

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

This competition awards funding up to the grant limit.

To ensure the granted limit is not exceeded by your application, you may need to reduce the amount you request to below the usual limits.

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

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

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.

Capital equipment costs

The purchase of capital equipment is not an eligible project cost for projects undertaking Industrial Research.

However, applications for Experimental Development projects undertaking a large-scale commercial demonstration of an idea can include the purchase of capital equipment costs as an eligible project cost.

The inclusion of capital equipment costs is optional, not a requirement. Applications that include capital costs will be assessed in the same way as those that do not.

You must include a breakdown of any capital equipment costs for your project.

Projects must be able to demonstrate that their innovative concept will lead to improved packaging recycling or re-use, compared to existing re-use and recycling concepts of the same capacity. These include types which may otherwise be constructed without the grant, should an existing competitive concept exist.

Applications can include capital usage as an eligible project cost for capital equipment that you already own or new equipment where you do not wish to claim capital purchase.

Your total grant funding for capital equipment costs must not exceed:

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

Any capital equipment funded by the grant disposed of during the project term, must be reported to Innovate UK. Any revenue generated by the disposal will be offset against the project costs.

Innovate UK are not funding projects which:

  • Are detrimental to the environment compared with existing solutions
  • Encourage or facilitate the export of plastic packaging whilst still classified as waste
  • Are primarily concerned with the production of any kind of fuel or direct energy generation from plastic waste
  • Develop materials or packaging which will not have commercially available and viable UK recycling (or appropriate organic waste treatment) infrastructure in place by 2025
  • Relate to the recycling of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polystyrene, including expanded polystyrene (EPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS)
  • Do not focus on packaging for consumer products
  • Are dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • Are dependent on domestic inputs usage– for example, if it was insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product

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.