Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund

Key Features

Launched in November 2023, the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund will make over £1.3million available to organisations to develop clean energy agricultural technologies and appliances. Funding is being provided by UK aid via the Transforming Energy Access platform, and the IKEA Foundation.

Programme:     UK aid

Award:     Share of up to £1.3 million

Opens: 15th Nov 2023

Closes: 17th Jan 2024

! This scheme is now closed


Efficiency for Access invites organisations to apply for the fourth call of the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund. Applying for this grant will involve registering your organisation and then completing an application form that provides a comprehensive breakdown of your R&D project. Full due diligence will be conducted on successful applicants, which may involve an interview and site visit. The successful applicants will then be notified and the project milestones and funding agreements will be finalised. The key dates involved are specified further below.

Launching in November 2023, the Efficiency for Access Research and Development (R&D) Fund, with support from the IKEA Foundation and UK aid (from the UK government via the Transforming Energy Access platform), will provide over £1.3million to organisations under the Efficiency for Access R&D Fund’s fourth call. Since 2018 the fund has provided over £5million of grant funding, supporting 38 R&D projects to accelerate innovation and address important barriers to access in the off- and weak grid appliances sector. Further information on these projects can be found here.

Under this call, support will be provided to develop agricultural technologies, sometimes known as agritechnologies, that are high performing, energy efficient appliances. These appliance technologies will increase post-harvest resilience and productivity, supporting post-harvest management including harvesting, handling, storage, processing, and transportation, within food systems in horticulture, dairy, fishing and livestock.


To be in scope for this call, R&D projects must:

  1. Develop or improve an innovative electrical appliance for use in off- and/or weak grid settings; AND
  2. Improve post-harvest resilience and productivity of food systems, while reducing their environmental impact. Improved resilience and productivity can be achieved in any of the following ways: ensuring and increasing incomes, expanding access to markets, reducing waste and loss, and improving the operations, service and maintenance of essential equipment within one or more value chains of a food system.

Examples of eligible R&D projects could include, but are not limited to, the development of high performing, energy efficient appliance technologies (agri-technologies) for use in off- and/or weak-grid settings, digital or software solutions enabling agri-technologies, systems and models that:

  • Extend the shelf life of food (for example, through cold storage, ice production or drying)
  • Process food (for example, by milling, pressing or threshing)
  • Sustainably transport food (i.e. e-mobility or temperature-controlled logistics)
  • Improve the performance, maintenance or timely service of critical equipment within scope

Projects will need to demonstrate strong affordability, inclusivity, and sustainability considerations in their design, including circularity factors such resource efficiency and environmental factors such as using low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants. Efficiency for Access has published research in these areas to inform your proposed project. We also encourage projects that incorporate or adopt regenerative agriculture approaches, Efficiency for Access has published case studies that highlights how agri-technologies can be incorporated into value chains.

Technology applied to food systems pre-harvest, such as irrigation, or tilling, will be out of scope for this call. Aquaculture is in scope.


The minimum eligibility criteria are:

  • Applicants must be a legally registered and physically established business, academic organisation, non-profit, public sector organisation, or research and technology organisation based in any country in the world. Applicants for funding may also form partnerships (such as between academics and businesses, or between entrepreneurs and established businesses). However, the lead partner will assume responsibility for the project and will be the recipient of the grant funding.
  • Your application must demonstrate outcomes linked to both the programme’s overall objective (of accelerating the availability, affordability, efficiency and performance of a range of Low Energy Inclusive Appliances particularly suited to developing country contexts) and the R&D scope for this call (as detailed in the Scope section).
  • Applicants must demonstrate sufficient match funding for project costs (as outlined in the Funding section).
  • Applicants must demonstrate a track record in research and innovation, and/or provide strong evidence of your capacity to successfully implement the R&D project.
  • Applicants must be compliant with fundamental in-country and international human rights, labour standards, and environmental management laws. Applicants must not be involved in any act of terrorism or support terrorist activities.
  • Applicants must allow regular due diligence.

Funding Costs

Grants are available from £50,000 to £300,000. Over £1.3 million in funding has been made available for this call.

If your proposed project is focused beyond production innovation, such as testing or scaling a new business model, or testing existing products in different geographies or sectors, then you should apply to the Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) programme call for applications.

The proportion of funding you are eligible to receive for your project costs is dependent on the size of your organisation, as defined in the table below. If you apply as a partnership, the organisation size refers to that of the lead partner, who will assume responsibility for the project and be the recipient of the grant funding. At least 50% of the staff budget must be allocated to the lead partner, i.e. staff costs allocated for all other partners and sub-contractors must be less than 50% of the total staff costs. In addition, more than 50% of purchases for capital equipment and other costs must be made by the lead partner.

You will need to provide a budget detailing your project costs in your application form, which will include the amount of grant funding you require and the amount of match funding you will provide for each project milestone. Please note that value for money is one of the main categories by which your application will be scored. Additionally, VAT will only be reimbursed where you can demonstrate that you cannot reclaim it, so all costs must exclude reclaimable VAT.

When specifying personnel costs in your budget, a maximum overhead rate of 25% may be claimed as project costs. Please be aware, however, that we may ask for evidence of how your overhead rate has been calculated, so please ensure you are able to provide this on request. Additionally, if you are claiming an overhead rate of 25%, you may not charge separately for items that would normally be included in overheads, such as general office costs, etc.

For further information on this funding call, please see guidance notes here

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.