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ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Demonstrators – EoI

Overview:

UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £16million for bold and ambitious demonstrator projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £16million from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme to support projects that demonstrate innovation at a commercial scale.

The aim of this competition is to address widely known problems in relation to plastic packaging for consumer products. Your proposal must include significant industry investment.

This is stage 1 of a two-stage competition. The stages are:

  1. Expression of interest (this stage): evaluated by the SSPP team and independent assessment by Innovate UK. There is no funding in this stage.
  2. Full stage application. This will be by invitation only to applicants who are successful in the EoI stage through the Innovation Funding Service and will include independent assessment by Innovate UK, with an independent Environmental Impact Assessment and, if relevant, an Engineering Assessment.

Innovate UK expects to invest in up to three practical demonstrators at the full stage competition.

Your project must demonstrate an idea at commercial scale which:

  • Improves the sustainability of the plastic packaging supply chain
  • Helps deliver the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
  • Utilises innovation in design, technology, processes, business models, supply chains or data for plastic packaging
  • Embeds a whole-systems approach to plastic packaging sustainability, considering environmental, economic, and social factors

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process.

Innovate UK want to fund large-scale commercial demonstration projects. You must request a grant of no less than £1million and no more than £12million for your project, subject to subsidy control.

Open Date:

10/02/2021

Close Date:

24/03/2021

The aim of this competition is to support business-led projects that demonstrate innovation at commercial scale to address problems in relation to plastic packaging for consumer products.

Innovate UK aim to fund a portfolio of projects addressing the four UK Plastics Pact targets, across a variety of:

  • Technologies
  • Markets

Your project must demonstrate a holistic approach, including the likely environmental impacts to:

  • Humans
  • Wildlife and
  • The broader environment

Your project must demonstrate an idea at commercial scale which:

  • Improves the sustainability of the plastic packaging supply chain
  • Helps deliver the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
  • Utilises innovation in design, technology, processes, business models, supply chains or data for plastic packaging
  • Embeds a whole-systems approach to plastic packaging sustainability, considering environmental, economic and social factors

You must quantify the benefits of the new approach compared to the system your project intends to replace or improve.

You must explain how you are innovating to address one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets. The benefits of the new approach must be quantified in terms of the Pact targets. Any environmental impacts must be described and justified.

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 pass the EoI stage.

Specific themes

Innovate UK are particularly interested in projects which address the UK Plastic Pact targets by demonstrating at scale:

  • Minimised or reduced plastic packaging
  • Refillable packaging and systems
  • Sustainable solutions for film and flexibles
  • Food grade recycled polypropylene and polyethylene
  • Behaviour change leading to less packaging waste or higher recycling rates
  • Solutions for problematic or unnecessary single use plastic packaging items

Your project must:

  • Request a minimum grant of £1million
  • Request a maximum grant of £12million
  • Start by 1 February 2022
  • End by 31 January 2025
  • Last between 12 and 36 months

To lead a project, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size
  • Collaborate with other 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

Academic institutions cannot lead a project.

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 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 and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK. If an overseas subcontractor is selected, a case must be made as to why no UK-based subcontractor can be used including a detailed rationale, evidence of UK companies that have been approached and reasons why they were unable to do so.

Innovate UK expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. A cheaper cost is not deemed as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

When a business leads on an application it can collaborate in a further two applications.

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

RTOs and academic institutions can collaborate in 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)

Subsidy control

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 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 our 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. Innovate UK will ask 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 £16million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Innovate UK will award grants between £1million and £12million. Because they are looking to encourage large scale projects, there is no maximum limit for your total eligible project costs.

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 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.

Innovate UK may consider the purchase of capital equipment as an eligible project cost in large-scale commercial demonstration projects that go beyond the state of the art. This must lead to better or more efficient recycling or re-use activities compared to a conventional process.

For this EoI stage, if you include the purchase of relevant capital equipment, you must provide a rationale for your decision.

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 will not give subsidies to projects that:

  • Are detrimental to the environment compared with current dominant solutions
  • Encourage or facilitate the export of plastic packaging whilst still classified as waste
  • Will primarily produce any kind of fuel or direct energy generation from plastic waste
  • Develop materials or packaging which do not have commercially available and viable UK recycling, or appropriate organic waste treatment infrastructure in place by 2025
  • Relate to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polystyrene, including expanded polystyrene (EPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS)
  • 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 we 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.