Driving the Electric Revolution: Supply Chains for Net Zero

Key Features

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

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £22 million

Opens: 8th Mar 2021

Closes: 30th Jun 2021

! This scheme is now closed


ISCF will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £22 million 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.


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 Innovate UK mean low volume, high value. By volume supply chain Innovate UK mean high volume, high efficiency.

Up to £22 million 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 £5 million 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. To discuss the scope please email support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 days before the close date of this competition.

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £22 million 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.


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 £5 million

If your project’s duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes.

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 3 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.

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 in question 4 for 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.


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 focussed around batteries
  • projects dependent on export performance
  • projects dependent on domestic inputs usage