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) to invest up to £10 million in innovation projects. This funding is part of the Ayrton Fund.
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 Indo-Pacific regions. Creating a just and inclusive energy transition, and extending the benefits of clean energy to all to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) 7 and 13.
Your proposal must focus on:
This competition is split into 3 strands:
It is your responsibility to ensure you submit your application to the correct strand for your project. You will not be able to transfer your application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.
Innovate UK runs many different competitions, and each will have different eligibility and scope requirements. The guidance in this competition brief will always supersede any other guidance. If you are unsure or have any questions, please contact our Customer Support Service who will assist you further.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
Your project must:
Your project can also involve any organisation 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 and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.
If your project’s total costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.
If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.
There are two types of leads in the energy catalyst programme, an administrative lead, who will complete 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. 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 and any other technical work.
The technology lead:
UK registered organisations can be both the administrative and technology lead if the criteria is met for both types of leads.
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following:
Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the administrative 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.
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.
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, this can include in-country offices.
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.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the world and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
Number of Applications
All eligible organisations can lead or collaborate on any number of applications.
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 extending the benefits of clean energy to all to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) 7 and 13.
To be in scope for Energy Catalyst round 10 your project must address both energy access and clean energy.
1. Energy access
Your project must aim to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households, enterprises and social institutions in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan -Africa, the Indo-Pacific region, or South Asia. 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:
Your project must target one or more of the following eligible countries:
Indo-Pacific (ODA eligible ASEAN):
Indo-Pacific (Pacific Islands):
While projects can focus on any ODA eligible country, we are particularly keen to receive projects which focus on the Indo-Pacific region.
2. Clean Energy
Your technology or business model must create clean energy which is:
While any technology which meets the above criteria is in scope, priority will be given to the following Ayrton Challenge priority areas:
Innovate UK and The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), have allocated funding for projects specifically aimed at replacing diesel and petrol generators with sustainable alternatives, ideally integrating several of the technologies above.
Over 50% of your project must focus on energy access and energy innovation to be in scope. This is determined from your project costing and work packages.
If your project falls out of scope, you must provide justification by email to email@example.com at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.
We want to fund a variety of projects across the three stages of the competition, different technologies, markets, technological maturities, geographical regions and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.
This is to make sure that the strategic criteria for the competition brief is met by successful projects considered to be above the quality threshold. This will be as a result of independent expert assessment.