This summer, Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) will invest up to £20m in innovation projects as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Programme. These must encourage products and services that will help countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia access secure, low cost and low carbon energy.

Webcast recording and slides are now available

Find the slides here.


The aim of the Energy Catalyst Programme will be to support highly innovative, market-focused energy solutions in any technology or sector or international market. Projects should meet the needs of poor households, businesses and services in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia and should focus on demonstrating innovative products and services targeted at those people unable to afford or access existing solutions, or who lack the time or expertise to successfully use those solutions.

Previous rounds have required proposals to address all 3 elements of the energy ‘trilemma’:

  • cost
  • emissions
  • security of supply and energy access

Based on previous rounds, the competition is likely to include three distinct funding strands:

  • early stage for feasibility studies
  • mid-stage for industrial research
  • late stage for experimental development

Previous rounds have been open to both UK and international organisations, including:

  • business
  • research technology organisation (RTO )
  • academic organisation
  • charity
  • public sector organisation