Competitions

There are many competitions and awards open to businesses in Essex with some great prizes to be won, ranging from cash prizes to coaching and advice. Competitions and awards are a great way to increase your credibility, access marketing and benchmarking your business. Please take a look at the information below to find out what competitions and awards your business can access.

  • £20 Million Hydrogen Supply Competition for Energy Business Innovators

    The government has announced a £20 million boost for businesses embracing the potential for a future UK hydrogen economy. Hydrogen fuel is a safe and low-carbon alternative for energy in buildings, industry and transport, however, it is currently extremely costly to produce and transport. This is the latest clean technology to receive government funding, as a result of the Clean Growth Strategy. The £20 million Hydrogen Supply Programme will look to significantly reduce the high cost of producing large volumes of low carbon hydrogen, so that the technology can become a competitive, clean energy supply of the future. The competition aims to accelerate the development of a lower cost low carbon bulk hydrogen supply (with a focus on UK production). This will be achieved through two phases:

    1. Developing several hydrogen process engineering designs, alongside a supply / production plan, which details the development steps needed for each process.
    2. A development phase which will demonstrate key components or further develop the design of the new hydrogen production process.

    Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, said: “Clean, green and safe, hydrogen has an exciting role to play powering the UK but needs to be cheaper and more widely available to live up to its potential. [This] £20 million funding boost, part of our modern Industrial Strategy, will help to address these challenges so that we can sustain the exciting momentum building in our low carbon hydrogen economy, creating high-value jobs up and down the country. “Clean Growth is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy and creates huge opportunities for the UK, securing our place as global leaders in this field.” If you are interested in applying to the programme, please email industry.innovation@beis.gov.uk. Schedule Date/duration Phase 1 complete, Phase 2 open for applications May 2019 Phase 2 projects start June 2019 Projects complete Before 31 March 2021 If you are interested in applying to the programme, please read the Hydrogen Supply Programme guide HERE

  • Horizon 2020: Industrial Leadership - Dedicated SME Instrument 2019 Deadlines

    Horizon 2020 is the EU’s research and innovation programme for 2014 to 2020. The aim of the SME Instrument is to attract more SMEs to Horizon 2020, to provide support to a wider range of innovation activities and to help increase the economic impact of project results by its company-focused and market-driven approach. The SME Instrument supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and bring to market new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth. The SME Instrument is for innovators with ground-breaking concepts that could shape new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide. Competition for SME Instrument support is high and very selective. Only the highest quality proposals will receive funding following a thorough evaluation by multinational panels of technology, business and finance experts. Selected companies receive funding and are offered business coaching to scale up their innovation idea, and can also receive mentoring. They are helped in networking with other SME Instrument clients, with other companies of all sizes, and with potential co-investors and follow-up investors across Europe. SME Instrument clients will gain visibility and increase their chances of success in European and international markets. For-profit SMEs – including young companies and start-ups from any sector – are eligible. They must be established in an EU Member State or a Horizon 2020 associated country. There are no set topics, although negative impacts on climate and the environment should be avoided. The SME Instrument provides full-cycle business innovation support. It has three phases, includes a coaching and mentoring service, and applications will be accepted throughout 2019 for Phase 1 and Phase 2:

    • Phase 1: Feasibility study. Funding is a lump sum of €50,000 Projects should last around six months
    • Phase 2: From concept to market. Grant funding is provided (funding rate 70%) of between €500,000 and €2.5 million. Projects should normally take 12 to 24 months to complete, but could be longer in exceptional and well-justified cases.
    • Phase 3: Commercialisation. Additional EU support extended via a range of business support services offered on the EIC Community Platform, open to SMEs benefiting from the different EIC calls for proposals.

    Deadlines in 2019 for Phase 1 proposals are: 13 February 2019; 7 May 2019; 5 September 2019; and 6 November 2019. Deadlines in 2019 for Phase 2 proposals are: 9 January 2019; 3 April 2019; 5 June 2019; and 9 October 2019.  

  • Innovators' Seed Corn Fund - 2019 Round Open

    The Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund is provided by the Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association (GIMA). GIMA established the fund to help support the drive for innovation within the UK gardening industry. GIMA is keen to encourage new entrants to the industry and has put together a package of support to enable them to navigate the industry. The aim is to support the launch of innovative, never before seen products for the gardening market. The winner will receive a grant of £6,000 to fund the following:

    • Free exhibition space at GLEE, the UK’s leading garden retail trade show to the value of £2,000.
    • Support with design, development, manufacturing or marketing costs – £3,000.
    • Business consultancy with an industry expert – £1,000.
    • Half page advert in the GIMA New Product Digest publication.
    • GIMA membership for one year.
    • ACID (Anti Copying in Design) membership for one year.
    • Free promotion around the GLEE trade show.

    The grant is open to anyone, whether they have set up in business or not. This could include designers, inventors, small businesses or start-ups. Products can be in varying stages of development and readiness for market. The next deadline for receipt of applications is 16 August 2019. For all enquiries contact: Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association (GIMA) The White House High Street Brasted Kent TN16 1JE

    Tel: 01959 564947
    Fax: 01959 565885
    E-mail: Contact Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association (GIMA)
  • EuropaBio Most Innovative Biotech SME Award – 2019 Award Open

    EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, is inviting SMEs to apply for the tenth edition of its Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award – a unique annual initiative recognising biotech innovation and its contribution to society in Europe. The Most Innovative Biotech Award is made to recognise the SME that has best demonstrated innovation and forward business planning to create innovative solutions to address societal or environmental needs. The main award, presented in three categories, is a cash prize of €10,000, plus two years membership to EuropaBio. Three runners-up will also receive two years free membership of EuropaBio. Depending on their field of activity, SMEs may apply in one of three categories for 2019:

    • Healthcare.
    • Agriculture.
    • Industrial biotech.

    Two companies will be shortlisted in each category by a Jury of biotech and SME experts, with the winners celebrated during a landmark event held later in the year. The deadline for applications is 15 September 2019. Submissions are made via an online application process on the Award website. An offline version for internal preparation before online submission is also available. https://www.europabio.org/ E: c.robijns@europabio.org

  • 2019 AR Emerging Architecture (AREA) Awards Launched with £10,000 for New Architects

    The AR Emerging Architecture Awards offer up-and-coming architects an industry award and recognition to help them build a successful career in the architecture industry. The awards support young architects and designers at a key stage in their career, promoting their best work to a worldwide audience. This year, the provider will recognise excellence in an overall body of work. Entrants are asked to submit a small portfolio rather than a single completed building. Shortlisted projects will be featured in a special edition of the Architectural Review (AR) and all finalists will be presenting their work to a judging panel in Amsterdam this November to win the £10,000 prize. Architects based anywhere in the world may apply. Projects must be built, and the age limit for entrants is 45. The entry deadline for the 2019 AREA Awards is 30 August 2019. Applicants should contact Diana.Zieba@emap.com For more information please visit the website: www.emergingarchitecture.architectural-review.com

  • Detailed Designs of Smart, Local Energy Systems Competition

    The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (IUK) has announced details of a new competition to invest in revolutionary designs for local energy systems which can deliver cleaner, cheaper energy services and create more prosperous and resilient communities across the UK. The Detailed Designs of Smart, Local Energy Systems Competition is part of a wider Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) programme called Prospering from the Energy Revolution (PFER). It aims to create a pipeline of highly innovative, ambitious and investable local energy system designs that will be ready to roll out across the UK in the 2020s. IUK has allocated up to £30 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Applicants can claim up to £3 million in grant funding. A project’s total eligible costs must be between £2 million and £20 million. IUK is looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. Proposals must be focused on a specific, named, UK location. The locality must be at least the size of a town but the ambition is to fund ground-breaking local energy systems projects up to city or region scale (or equivalent industrial, rural or other area in terms of energy capacity). All projects must be collaborative and applicants must carry out their project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK. To lead a project the applicant must be a UK-based business, research and technology organisation (RTO), Catapult, university/higher education institution or a local authority or similar body. To collaborate with the lead applicant, the organisations must be a UK-based business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or RTO. IUK expects collaborations to include at least one SME, one RTO or public sector organisation and representatives from the energy, information and communication technologies sectors. The deadline for applications is midday on 7 August 2019. Applicants are encouraged to read the general guidance for applicants to help their chances of submitting a quality application. Those requiring more information should contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email support@innovateuk.ukri.org  

  • UK and USA: innovation in global composites markets

    Under the UK Research and Innovation Funding for International Collaboration (FIC) the UK and USA are running a joint grant funding competition. The competition will focus on collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects, which should result in a new product, industrial process or service. Projects must be innovative, involve a technological risk and target large global markets. We welcome proposals from UK organisations who can collaborate with existing US partners in the field of composites manufacturing. US projects are being run by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and their industrial partners. These projects are already funded. Successful UK applicants are funded solely by UKRI FIC through Innovate UK.

    Project size

    UK-led projects can have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £1 million with a maximum grant of up to £300,000 for UK applicants.

    Dates

    29 May 2019                        Competition opens 6 June 2019                          Online briefing event 21 August 2019 12:00pm   Competition closes 11 October 2019                    Applicants notified 18 October 2019                   Feedback If you need more information, please visit website , email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357.

  • Artificial intelligence-supported early fracture diagnosis: SBRI competition

    This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Opportunity North East and NHS Scotland. Successful applicants will receive 100% funding and have access to advice from NHS Grampian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), the University of Aberdeen, the Canon Medical Research Europe and the funders. The overall programme will be delivered in 2 phases. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2. NHS Scotland and Opportunity North East (ONE) are investing up to £240,000, including VAT, in innovative data analytics technology. The aim is to improve front-line clinical decision making and patient management in unscheduled care facilities. The solution will improve clinical workflow and safety by optimising clinical decision making and management pathways. It must use artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning algorithms to interpret data from upper limb (wrist or hand) and lower limb (ankle or foot) radiographs and linked text-based reports. Accurate determination of the presence or absence of a fracture in these areas has the potential to significantly improve patient care. Phase 1 research and development contracts will be focused on feasibility studies. Phase 2 contracts will be prototype development and testing. Phases The competition has 2 phases. Up to £100,000, including VAT, is allocated for phase 1 and up to £140,000, including VAT, for phase 2. To apply:

    • register online using the green button
    • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
    • consider attending one of the briefing events listed in ‘Dates
    • complete and upload your online application to our secure server

    We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential. A selected panel of experts will assess the quality your application. Please use Microsoft Word for the application form or it will be ineligible. Dates 20 May 2019                            Competition opens 27 June 2019                            Briefing event.  Sign up by 21 June 24 July 2019 12:00pm           Registration closes 31 July 2019 12:00pm           Competition closes 4 October 2019                        Feedback and phase 1 contracts awarded.

  • Commercialising quantum technology: large collaborative projects round 1

    UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £27 million to collaborate on developing quantum products and services. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

    The aim of the competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK through the investment of up to £27 million in innovation projects. Projects should focus on one or more of the following technical challenges:

    • connectivity
    • situational awareness
    • computing

    The projects must exploit second generation quantum techniques. Projects must demonstrate how the technology can be brought to market (as hardware, software or a service) in the UK and how it fulfils an end user need. Projects must include the development, manufacture (if applicable) and application of the technology. Applications are expected from consortia led by a business but in exceptional circumstances applications from consortia led by research and technology organisations (RTOs) will be considered.

    Eligibility

    To be eligible for funding you must be either:

    • a UK based business of any size
    • academic institution
    • charity
    • public sector organisation or
    • research and technology organisation (RTO)

    How to apply:

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.

    This competition is funded through the Quantum Commercialisation programme of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and builds on the pioneer ‘Commercialising quantum devices: innovation R&D’ competition launched in April 2018. It forms part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. Competition opens: Monday 5 August 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 30 October 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Commercialising quantum technology: feasibility and industrial research projects round 1

    UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £6 million for quantum technology innovation projects funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

    This competition is funded through the Quantum Commercialisation programme of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and builds on the pioneer ‘Commercialising quantum devices: innovation R&D’ competition launched in April 2018. It forms part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. The aim of the competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK. This is achieved through the investment of up to £6 million in innovation projects which address one or more of the following technical challenges:

    • connectivity
    • situational awareness
    • computing

    Projects must:

    • exploit second generation quantum techniques
    • demonstrate how the technology will contribute towards the commercialisation of quantum technologies in or from the UK

    Applications can be single or collaborative and must be led by a business. All applications must include a micro, small or medium sized enterprise(SME).

    Eligibility

    State aid

    Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

    Your project

    Your project’s total eligible costs must be below £500,000 or £50,000 for market research projects. They must last between 6 and 18 months. Projects must start on or before April 2020. If your project’s total eligible costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

    Lead organisation

    To lead a project you must:

    • be a UK based business of any size
    • involve at least one SME
    • carry out its project work in the UK
    • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

    Research organisations cannot lead or work alone.

    Project partners

    To collaborate your organisation must:

    • be a UK based business, academic institution, charity, 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
    • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
    • enter your costs as part of the application

    In a collaborative project, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding. 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. You should make sure that your participation does not prevent any intellectual property (IP) generated by the project from being exploited in the UK.

    Multiple applications

    Any one business can lead up to 3 applications but all applicants can partner in any number of applications.

    Resubmissions

    You can use a resubmission to apply for this competition. A resubmission is a proposal Innovate UK judges as not materially different from one you’ve submitted before. It can be updated based on the assessors’ feedback. If you submit a new proposal this time you will be able to use it in no more than one future competition that allows resubmissions.

    How to apply:

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. The application is split into 3 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.
    3. Finances

    Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academic institutions will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance. Competition opens: Monday 5 August 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 30 October 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.  

  • August expression of interest: ATI Programme

    The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, formerly UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme, provides funding to industrial research and capital projects to encourage innovation in UK civil aerospace.

    The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme represents a £3.9 billion joint government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace.

    This programme is co-ordinated and managed by:

    • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
    • Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation
    • the Aerospace Technology Institute

    We work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects to meet the objectives of the Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Raising Ambition.

    This is an expression of interest competition. There are 3 stages and the whole process takes at least 6 months.

    1. Expression of interest (EOI): opens monthly and is reviewed by ATI only.
    2. Full stage application (FSA): invite only, if successful in the expression of interest stage, with proposal development on the Innovation Funding Service by applicants. Independent assessment by Innovate UK, value for money (VfM) and policy review by BEIS, and strategic assessment by ATI.
    3. Final approvals by BEIS and contracting through Innovate UK.

    More information is on the ATI website.

    How to apply:

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. You should also read specific information about this programme before you start your application. When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

    As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

    • collecting the information for your application
    • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

    You will be able to invite:

    • colleagues to make contributions
    • other organisations to collaborate with you

    The application is split into 2 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.

    Competition opens: Monday 5 August 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 21 August 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you want help to find a project partner, email info@ati.org.uk. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Analysis for innovators round 5: phase 1 expression of interest (de minimis)

    UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million to address measurement and analysis problems with one or more analysis partner organisations.

    The aim of this competition is to match the best UK experts and cutting-edge facilities with companies that have analysis or measurement problems. Your application must describe the problem and estimate the value to your company of solving it. Successful applicants at this expression of interest (EoI) phase will be invited to brokerage sessions with relevant analysis for innovators (A4I) partners, arranged by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). These will focus on approaches to solve the applicant’s problem. This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition with de minimis state aid funding. Phase 1 is an expression of interest. Phase 2 is dependent on the success of phase 1. Successful applicants in phase 1 are invited to work with A4I funding partners to suggest joint projects to develop solutions for phase 2. There is a similar A4I competition running under article 25 of state aid which awards eligible project costs between £25,000 and £300,000 for longer projects between 3 and 12 months.

    Eligibility

    In this competition funding will be made to the partners as a de minimis grant. At the second full application stage, the applicant must complete the de minimis declaration.

    Your project

    Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £25,000 and £50,000. Projects must end by 31 March 2021. They can last up to 3 months.

    Lead organisation

    To lead a project your organisation must:

    • be a UK based business of any size
    • be prepared to work with and discuss your problem with one or more Analysis for Innovators (A4I) funding and brokerage partners
    • carry out its project work in the UK

    Any one business can apply into the first stage with up to 2 applications.

    Resubmissions

    You can use a resubmission to apply for this competition. A resubmission is a proposal Innovate UK judges as not materially different from one you’ve submitted before. It can be updated based on the assessors’ feedback. If you submit a new proposal this time you will be able to use it in no more than one future competition that allows resubmissions.

    How to apply:

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. De minimis In the full competition stage after the brokerage session, you must provide evidence you are eligible for de minimis aid. Each partner must complete the de minimis declaration we will email to you, declaring any de minimis public funding or benefit you have received in the past 3 years. Email the completed form to competitionenquiries@innovateuk.ukri.org with the subject line: De minimis declaration. It is your responsibility to ensure your declaration is accurate and complete. If your application is successful at this first phase you will be invited to attend sessions with one or more A4I partner organisations. The invitations will be sent by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). The application is split into 2 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.

    Competition opens: Monday 29 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 4 September 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you want help with this specific competition, email nigel.rix@ktn-uk.org at the Knowledge Transfer Network in the first instance. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Driving the electric revolution: accelerated supply chain development, strand 1

    Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £19 million across 2 strands in innovation projects to support the creation, development and scale up of supply chains in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) in the UK. This is the first competition as part of a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund: Driving the Electric Revolution.

    The aim is to support the transition towards a low carbon future in transport, energy and industry. This competition will fund business-led projects that enable electrification through the development of UK supply chains for PEMD.

    Your proposal should clearly state how your project will develop PEMD supply chains in the UK. This can be by filling gaps in current UK based supply of PEMD components or scaling up existing supply chains through innovation.

    This competition is split into 2 strands.

    1. Strand 1: projects with total eligible project costs between £1 million and £3 million.
    2. Strand 2: projects with total project costs between £250,000 and £1 million.

    Eligibility

    To lead a project your organisation must:

    • be a UK registered business of any size
    • collaborate with others

    Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance. Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £1 million and £3 million. Your project’s total eligible costs must be at least 50% match funded. We are particularly interested in including projects that provide greater than 50% match funding in our portfolio. This will enable the challenge to reach its overall spend profile target. In addition to the match funding, projects must also state in their bids how much follow on investment is expected in the 24 months following project completion and how this will be reported to Innovate UK. We are only looking to fund projects that can start rapidly. Projects must start within 3 months of notification. They can last up to 12 months.

    How to apply:

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. The application is split into 3 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.
    3. Finances.

    Your project will be independently assessed and scored by 5 expert reviewers at both the written and interview stages. A panel comprising of senior UKRI officials and independent experts will review the scores and recommendations of the interview panel. Successful projects will be selected from those applications that score above an agreed quality threshold to ensure that the strategic outcomes of the challenge are best achieved.

    The panel will take the following into consideration:

    • how the projects contribute to the overall targets for the challenge, including achieving the levels of match funding provided by industry
    • the spread of projects across the 7 sectors outlined in the scope
    • ensuring a spread of projects that address a range of gaps in the UK’s PEMD supply chain
    If your written application is successful you will be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation.

    Competition opens: Monday 29 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 25 September 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy. If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.  

  • Driving the electric revolution: accelerated supply chain development, strand 2

    Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £19 million across 2 strands in innovation projects to support the creation, development and scale up of supply chains in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) in the UK. This is the first competition as part of a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund: Driving the Electric Revolution.

    The aim is to support the transition towards a low carbon future in transport, energy and industry. This competition will fund business-led projects that enable electrification through the development of UK supply chains for PEMD.

    Your proposal should clearly state how your project will develop PEMD supply chains in the UK. This can be by filling gaps in current UK based supply of PEMD components or scaling up existing supply chains through innovation.

    This competition is split into 2 strands.

    1. Strand 1: projects with total eligible project costs between £1 million and £3 million.
    2. Strand 2: projects with total project costs between £250,000 and £1 million.

    Eligibility

    To lead a project your organisation must:

    • be a UK registered business of any size
    • collaborate with others

    Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £250,000 and £1 million. Your projects total eligible costs must be at least 50% match funded. We are particularly interested in including projects that provide greater than 50% match funding in our portfolio. This will enable the challenge to reach its overall spend profile target. In addition to the match funding, projects must also state in their bids how much follow on investment is expected in the 24 months following project completion and how this will be reported to Innovate UK. We are only looking to fund projects that can start rapidly. Projects must start within 3 months of notification. They can last up to 12 months.

    How to apply:

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. The application is split into 3 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.
    3. Finances.

    Your project will be independently assessed and scored by 5 expert reviewers. A panel comprising of senior UKRI officials and independent experts will review the scores and recommendations of the interview panel. Successful projects will be selected from those applications that score above an agreed quality threshold to ensure that the strategic outcomes of the challenge are best achieved.

    The panel will take the following into consideration:

    • how the projects contribute to the overall targets for the challenge including achieving the levels of match funding provided by industry
    • the spread of projects across the 7 sectors outlined in the scope
    • ensuring a spread of projects that address a range of gaps in the UK’s PEMD supply chain

    Competition opens: Monday 29 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 25 September 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    The Driving the Energy Revolution Challenge was launched in July 2019 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy. If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Unloc Enterprise Challenge

    The Unloc Enterprise Challenge brought to you by Verizon is now in its 2nd year. Unloc is a social enterprise on a mission to empower young people to be innovative change makers. We strive to encourage entrepreneurial thinking amongst 16-25 year olds and promote alternative career pathways. With the support of our partner Verizon, we believe this competition provides a valuable platform that gives young people the chance to promote their creative business ideas. The Unloc Enterprise Challenge is an online entrepreneurship competition looking for people aged 16-25 with fresh, new and innovative technology led business ideas. We are reaching out to a Pan-European audience in our search for a great new start-up business.

    The Prize!

    Applicants will compete to win the overall prize at the London grand final: ● £10,000/€11,000* of funding for their start-up business ● A mentorship package to accelerate their idea ● Finalist runners up will also receive £1,000/€1,100* of funding for their start-up business

    Competition Criteria

    Applications will be judged on three key factors:

    Rules & Eligibility

    Applications will only be accepted from:

    • Individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 years on the 1st January 2020
    • Residents and/or citizens of a mainland European country

    Business proposals must meet the following criteria:

    • Be legal in all mainland European countries
    • Be either a pre-start (not yet trading); or not have been trading for more than 3 years and have an annual turnover of less than £100,000 on 1st January 2020
    • Not have the purpose of political lobbying
    • Be the applicant’s own idea and not infringe on the copyright, patent or intellectual property of others
    • Immediate family members of the judging panel are not eligible to apply

    How to Apply

    Record a short video of yourself. The video needs to be a minimum of 60 seconds and a maximum of 90 seconds – remember to explain how your idea meets the three criteria! Go to www.unlocenterprisechallenge.com and hit the apply button. Fill out the application form and submit your video. Then sit tight and wait to hear from the judges: finalists are announced on the 25th November.

    The Unloc Enterprise Challenge Timeline

    1st August: Online competition launch 15th November: Online competition deadline 25th November: Finalists announced January: Grand Final in London

  • Analysis for innovators round 5: phase 1 expression of interest

    UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million to address measurement and analysis problems with one or more analysis partner organisations.

    The aim of this competition is to match the best UK experts and cutting-edge facilities with companies that have analysis or measurement problems. Your application must describe the problem and estimate the value to your company of solving it. Successful applicants at this expression of interest (EoI) phase will be invited to brokerage sessions with relevant analysis for innovators (A4I) partners, arranged by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). These will focus on approaches to solve the applicant’s problem. This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition. Phase 1 is an expression of interest. Phase 2 is dependent on the success of phase 1. Successful applicants in phase 1 are invited to work with A4I funding partners to suggest joint projects to develop solutions for phase 2. There is a similar A4I competition running under de minimis state aid funding which awards eligible project costs between £25,000 and £50,000 for smaller projects up to 3 months.

    Eligibility

    Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance. Your project Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £25,000 and £300,000. Projects must end by 31 March 2021. They can last between 3 and 12 months. Lead organisation To lead a project your organisation must:

    • be a UK based business of any size
    • be prepared to work with and discuss your problem with one or more Analysis for Innovators (A4I) funding partners
    • carry out its project work in the UK

    Multiple applications Any one business can apply into the first stage with up to 2 applications.

    How to apply

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start. The application is split into 2 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.

    If your application is successful at this first phase you will be invited to attend sessions with one or more A4I partner organisations. The invitations will be sent by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

    KTN will arrange the initial confidential brokerage sessions between successful applicants and scientists from relevant A4I brokerage partner organisations. Follow-on sessions will include working on any joint project proposals to submit to phase 2 of this competition.
     

    Competition opens: Monday 29 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 4 September 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you want help with this specific competition, email nigel.rix@ktn-uk.org at the Knowledge Transfer Network in the first instance. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.  

  • Innovate UK Smart Grants: July 2019

    Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.
    Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing, innovative or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation. All proposals must be business focused. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy. Whilst we welcome projects that overlap with the grand challenge areas this is not a requirement, as we are also keen to support projects in other areas. We may share application details with other public sector co-funders if this is appropriate. We may consider eligible project costs over £2 million (but not exceeding £3 million), subject to the process set out under ‘Eligibility’.

    Eligibility

    To lead a project your organisation must:

    • be a UK based business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
    • carry out your research and development (R&D) project activity in the UK
    • intend to commercially exploit the project results from the UK
    • be, or collaborate with, at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

    How to apply

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.
    The application is split into 3 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.
    3. Finances.

    Competition opens: Thursday 25 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 16 October 2019

    Extra help

    We held an online briefing event for applicants on 30 July 2019. Watch the recording to learn more about the competition and how to apply. If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Manufacturing made smarter: round 1 (fast start)

    Up to £30 million is available for projects to transform the productivity and agility of UK manufacturing. Projects must have the potential for rapid impact.

    The Industry Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) will invest up to £30 million in projects that focus on the use of industrial digital technologies (IDTs) to transform the productivity and agility of UK manufacturing. The challenge will support innovation and deployment of IDTs across industry sectors via cross-sector collaboration and learning. We welcome a variety of project types, from feasibility studies to large innovation and/or demonstrator projects. Projects must be able to achieve rapid technology development and deployment. We will use a portfolio approach to achieve a balance between the 4 challenge themes, industrial sectors, project types and company sizes. All projects must be ready to start on or before 1 December 2019, with a defined consortium agreement, agreed industry match funding and a project plan. Projects must be business led and collaborative, with all consortia involving at least one SME. Projects led by SMEs are encouraged.

    Eligibility

    Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

    Your project

    Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £250,000 and £10 million. If your project’s total eligible costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. Projects must be collaborative and involve an SME. You must start your project on or before 1 December 2019 and end by 31 October 2021. They can last between 6 months and 2 years

    How to apply

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.
    The application is split into 3 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.
    3. Finances.

    Competition opens: Wednesday 24 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 28 August 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Key technology components for local energy systems

    Organisations can apply for a share of up to £3 million to develop technology components that help improve the efficiency of local energy systems.
     
    UK Research and Innovation will invest up to £3 million in important technology components that can enhance the efficiency of local energy systems. These should deliver cleaner, cheaper energy services and create more prosperous and resilient communities across the UK.
    We are looking for specific innovations that are listed in more detail in our ‘specific themes’ section. Your project must align with the overall objectives of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge. You are also expected to share data with the Energy Systems Catapult’s Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS) and the Energy Revolution Research Consortium, EnergyRev. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge.

    Eligibility

    Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

    To be eligible for funding you must be a UK:

    • business of any size
    • research and technology organisation (RTO)
    • academic organisation
    • charity
    • or public sector organisation

    Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000. It must:

    You must carry out your project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

    How to apply

    You must read the general guidance for applicants before you start.
    The application is split into 3 sections:

    1. Project details.
    2. Application questions.
    3. Finances.

    Competition opens: Monday 22 July 2019 Competition closes: Wednesday 9 October 2019 12:00pm

    Extra help

    If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network. If you need more information, please visit website email us at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

  • Impacting Business by Design

    Impacting Business by Design – University-based Product design and development support to accelerate and de-risk your innovation activities.

    Impacting Business by Design is a new design support programme that aims to accelerate and de-risk the innovation activities of start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs by helping them harness the potential of design to increase product innovation success. Businesses seeking support will be able to work directly with the professional design and development teams based within each of the three partner universities delivering this Research England funded programme; Brunel, De Montfort and Nottingham Trent.

    Access to specialised academic expertise

    As well as product design expertise, participants would be helped to access support drawn from each partner university’s academic communities. This expertise covers a variety of subjects such as; advanced manufacturing, materials science, engineering, electronics, med-tech, clean technology and artificial intelligence, cyber security and many others.

    Funding Support is available

    Recognising that product innovation is inherently risky, the programme also makes available funding support to both resource and de-risk their use of design during the project. Design work is always undertaken at market rates however, our de-risking mechanism takes the form of a ‘deferred advance’ scheme that sees product design fees incurred by participants during the project being repaid only when the new product when launched, has generated significant revenues. For the right company, this is an important benefit in cash-flow terms.

    Who can apply?

    The programme welcomes applications from businesses with active plans to invest in product innovation to address an identified market opportunity.

    You are eligible for Impacting Business by Design if you:

    • Are an SME; start-up, scale-up or established, that has not previously worked with professional product designers. • Have an innovation challenge or opportunity requiring design and development expertise not available within your own organisation. • Have a coherent plan however, light touch, to commercialise your innovation. • Are keen to work collaboratively with a university and can support the product development activity within your own organisation. • Are committed to gaining new knowledge of design to ultimately grow organisational capability in design to drive future innovation, and long-term growth.

    Next steps

    The combination of professional design support and specialised academic expertise plus the financial de-risking mechanism built into the programme, offers a unique opportunity for participating businesses to harness the expertise of the UK university sector to support their product innovation goals in a very pragmatic way. To find out more, or to discuss your innovation challenges and opportunities, contact Principal Project Manager, Ian Ferris – ian.ferris@brunel.ac.uk  

  • Global Business Innovation Programme to Boston, USA

    Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP), delivered by Enterprise Europe Network, is looking for innovative UK SMEs in the graphene sector.

    The programme will focus on graphene uses and technology within the electronics, composites and energy sectors. It aims to connect delegates with entrepreneurs, industry leaders, academia and government in the USA.

    Successful applicants will be supported through a structured programme and benefit from a six day visit to Boston, USA.

    During the visit delegates will attend leading research centres and Universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Innovation Institute, iMatSci Innovation Showcase, and The Fall Materials Research Society (MRS) Conference. The programme also includes visits to local and global organisations interested in innovative graphene-enabled devices and technologies, with the aim of creating and promoting opportunities for partnering and collaboration.

    Delegates will receive bespoke 1-2-1 support from Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) advisers to help them exploit the opportunity before, during and after the visit, as part of the full programme.

    WHY BOSTON?

    The USA is a significant market for emerging advanced materials, of which, graphene plays a prominent role. Boston is renowned for its abundance of research institutes, universities, and has a healthy network of innovative start-up companies and entrepreneurs allowing for networking and collaboration opportunities.

    It is also home to world-class companies using world-class innovation facilities. The MRS Conference and iMatSci Innovation Showcase offer prime opportunities to network with a local and global audience, and be informed of the latest graphene and material research and applications.

    KEY PROGRAMME DATES

    Closing date for full application: Monday 30th September 2019, 12:00pm

    Briefing event: Wednesday 6th November 2019

    Visit: Sunday 1st December – Friday 6th December 2019 (inclusive)

    Post-visit event: Wednesday 5th February 2020

    BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAMME

    • Pre-visit advice and support providing market information about how to do business in Boston and the USA, protecting your intellectual property, training on pitching to promote your value proposition, and in-market briefings whilst in Boston.
    • Attendance to the global iMatSci Innovation Showcase and the Materials Research Society (MRS) conference to share information around cutting edge technologies and research. The conference features leading global research associations and provides a platform for technology leaders to demonstrate the practical applications of their innovative, materials-based technologies.
    • Access to the graphene sector and the opportunity to meet key companies and research organisations.
    • Your business profile in the official visit brochure which will be distributed in Boston.
    • Networking opportunities and organised meetings with local and global companies. Post visit workshop and tailored support to develop a market exploitation strategy.

    THE COST

    Innovate UK will fund flights, five nights’ accommodation, in-market travel, conference fees, and meals for successful applicants. Only one representative from each company will be permitted. On acceptance to the programme a commitment fee of £500 will be obtained from each delegate which will be refunded on completion of the full programme and agreed action plan. Non-completion of the programme after formal acceptance may result in forfeiting some or all of the fee.

    ELIGIBILITY

    To participate in this programme your business must be an SME and established in the UK. You must be available to attend activities on all key programme dates, and work with an assigned EEN adviser for the full duration of the programme. This is a competitive process. If your application is successful you will be notified on the 11th October 2019.

    HOW TO APPLY

    Register My Interest and follow the link in the Eventbrite email to complete the full online application form. The closing date for receipt of applications is 12:00pm on Monday 30 September. This is a competitive process and you will be notified of the outcome on Friday 11 October 2019.

    Please note that the online application form must be completed in one session and cannot be saved. Click here to preview the questions.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    Please contact Bradley Rowley: b.rowley@eeneast.org.uk