Organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.
Programme: Innovate UK
Award: Share of up to £20 million
Opens: 18th May 2022
Closes: 10th Aug 2022
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the Ayrton Fund to invest up to £20 million in innovation projects.
The aim of this competition is to accelerate the innovations needed to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region. Creating a just and inclusive energy transition and extend the benefits of clean energy to all to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) 7 ‘end energy poverty’ and 13 ‘climate action’.
To be in scope for Energy Catalyst round 9, your project must address all three of the following areas:
1. Energy access
Improving energy access in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region.
Your project must aim to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households, enterprises and social institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region. It must do this by supporting the development, testing or scale up of innovative technologies or business models.
A clear social or economic benefit in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific Region is required.
This can include:
2. Clean Energy
Your technology or business model must create clean energy which is:
3. Low carbon.
3. Gender equality and social inclusion (GESI)
Your application must take into account gender equality and social inclusion issues. You must demonstrate all of the following in your response and logic model:
Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funding
FCDO is providing up to £10 million of funding in this competition. Although FCDO is willing to consider funding any technology which meets the above criteria, including solution integrations across multiple technology areas, they are prioritising projects focused in the following Ayrton Challenge areas:
Innovate UK reserve the right to use a portfolio approach to fund a variety of projects across the strands of the competition, different technologies, markets, technological maturities, geographic regions and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.
Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:
Your project must:
Your project can also involve organisations from any country.
You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.
There are two types of leads in energy catalyst, an administrative lead, who will start the application and a technology lead.
An administrative lead is there to act as the recipient of the award and will distribute funding to all other partners. This is known as a ‘hub and spoke’ model when there is an international partner in the consortium. The administrative lead will manage and be accountable for the finances of the project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award.
The administrative lead must:
A technology lead will lead on the development of the scope, work packages within the project and other work from a technical perspective.
The technology lead:
UK registered organisations can be both the administrative and technical lead if the criteria is met for both types of leads.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following:
You must involve at least one partner with a legal entity in one of the focus countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region, this could include in-country offices
Innovate UK strongly encourage the inclusion of international partners (business or other), where relevant to the project.
Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project.
There needs to be at least two grant claiming participants who are working on the project. This can include the administrative lead if they are doing technical work outside of the project administrative responsibilities.
Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
All eligible organisations can lead or collaborate on any number of applications.
You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.
Up to £20 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.
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 but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.
For Mid Stage industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
Official development assistance budget
You must be able to demonstrate that there is a clear economic and social benefit to one or more of the targeted countries. This is because the funding forms part of the UK government’s official development assistance budget (ODA).
If projects are judged to be non-compliant with ODA, Innovate UK will not submit the application for assessment.
Expenditure on capital is eligible for funding. All materials must be directly related to and essential to the goals of the project.
Energy Catalyst is funded by the official development assistant (ODA) budget. If you plan to leave capital equipment in the ODA eligible country you can, in principle, fully depreciate the costs.
Assets can be transferred but before Innovate UK can agree to this, you must provide evidence that:
This evidence should take the form of an end of life plan.
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.
Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:
Energy Catalyst Accelerator Programme (ECAP): Minimal Financial Assistance
The technical leads of successful Energy Catalyst applications will be enrolled in the Energy Catalyst Accelerator. One to one support for this programme will be provided through minimal financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a 3-year rolling financial period.
You will be contacted if you are successful and will be provided instruction on how to obtain this support.
Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.