This is a roundup of relevant funding calls for the energy sector. The details of open funding calls are below, along with links to the relevant information pages. Last updated 18th November 2020.

See our Covid-19 funding round-up for all Covid-related funding calls.


KTN-iX opportunities for robotics in wind turbines

The innovation Exchange (iX), delivered in partnership with ORE Catapult and the Knowledge Transfer Network, is supporting GE to identify innovative solutions to two innovation challenges. Applicants are required to develop a semi or fully autonomous device that is capable to perform the inspection and bolt replacement of the pole shoe connection, or to develop a full field condition monitoring device for the blade internal structure that can continuously monitor during turbine operation (thus picking up failures which are only visible during operation, such as kissing bonds) to direct an automated / robotic detailed inspection.

Follow the links for details:
Generator Bolt Inspection and Tightening
Full Field Condition Monitoring of a Blade Internal Structure

Both opportunities are open for registrations until 11th Jan 2021.


Locating faults in onshore aluminium cables

SSE Renewables has launched a challenge on KTN’s Innovation Exchange to identify transferable solutions to its cable monitoring needs. The winning business(es) will be given a commercial opportunity to deliver their solution, and receive support from SSE Renewables, KTN, Catapults and the wider Innovate UK network. Closes 30th November 2020. Find out more.


Iberdrola Start-up Challenge: Power Electronics

Multi-national energy company Iberdrola have launched a new Startup Challenge, in search of competitive and innovative solutions, based on power electronics, to optimize medium and low voltage networks, improving their flexibility in different load scenarios.

The solutions sent must meet the following needs:

  • Improve the efficiency and reliability of power electronic devices.
  • In particular, power electronic devices that are economically competitive in the market.
  • Integrate these power electronic devices as part of new solutions/services to support a net zero energy network.
  • Solutions that can effectively improve the power quality of distribution network.
  • Ensure the control & communications associated to avoid and defer conventional reinforcement, to ultimately achieve tangible savings for the network business.

Challenge registration closes 31st December 2020. The successful bidder(s) will receive the full cost of their project, technical support, and potential for commercial scale-up and investment in the company. Find out more.


Innovation continuity loans November 2020 – three strands

Innovate UK is offering up to £210 million in loans to small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing, completing or following on an innovation project. Loans are for organisations that find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three parallel strands for innovation continuity loans:

  • Strand 1: for applicants who are continuing and completing a live project with an Innovate UK award
  • Strand 2: for applicants who have a new project that follows on from a project with an Innovate UK award that was completed in the last 36 months
  • Strand 3: applicants who are continuing, completing or following on from innovation activity that has not been supported by an Innovate UK award in the last 36 months. This strand is open to new applicants to Innovate UK, and also to some applicants who are already recipients of Innovate UK funding.

Registration closes 13th January 2021. Click here for details.


SBRI Greenhouse Gas Removals Innovation Competition – Phase 1 (Design Study)

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is looking to invest up to £70m in Direct Air Capture and other potential Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies that could be deployed in the UK. This competition is to support the development of technologies that are not yet commercial rather than supporting technologies that are already mature. Therefore, the technologies to be developed must be at a technology readiness level (TRL) between 4 and 7 at the start of the project. The ultimate objective is to trial the technologies at pilot scale.

£75,000 to £250,000 is available for each project in phase 1. Only phase 1 companies will be eligible for phase 2.

Click here for more details. Closes 5th February 2021.


Innovate UK Smart Grants: November 2020

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. Your application must include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). They can be the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner.

Projects with a duration of:

  • 6 to 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  • 19 to 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.

Projects can be at different levels of technological maturity, up to but not including commercialisation.

An online briefing event will be held on 4th December: details will appear here when available.

Click here for more details. Closing date: 20th January 2021.


Faraday Battery Challenge

The ISCF Faraday Battery Challenge will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £10 million in innovation projects across the Feasibility Study and R&D strands of the Faraday Battery Challenge. These will be to support innovation in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the propulsion of electric vehicles.

There are 2 strands to this competition:

feasibility studies, accelerating battery technology development, project cost £300k-£1.5m – click here for details of the feasibility study strand;

innovation R&D, building on the outputs of previous activity to accelerate towards commercialisation, project cost £100k-£1m – click here for details of the R&D strand.

Projects for both strands must last between 3 and 12 months and plan to end by 31 March 2022. Applications for both strands close on 9th December 2020.


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period closes January 2021 (after this the next round will be available immediately, so don’t rush your application unnecessarily).

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Read more

Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

These have the same funding deadlines as KTPs – click here for full details.

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