Energy Catalyst Round 9

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.
Funding Details
When

Registration Opens

18/05/2022

Registration Closes

10/08/2022

Award

Early stage: project costs of £50k-£300k, can be up to 70% funded Mid stage: £50k-£1.5m, can be up to 70% funded Late stage: £50k-£5m, can be up to 45% funded

Organisation

BEIS
FCDO
Innovate UK

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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 Indo-Pacific regions. This will create 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’.

Your proposal must:

  1. focus on improving energy access in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions
  2. have a technology or business model which is affordable, reliable and low carbon
  3. consider the role of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI)

This competition is split into 3 strands:

Energy Catalyst Round 9 – Early Stage
Energy Catalyst Round 9 – Mid Stage
Energy Catalyst Round 9 – Late Stage

All projects must:

  • intend to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or the Indo-Pacific
  • include a UK registered administrative lead
  • if you are an international organisation, partner with a UK administrative lead
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) from anywhere in the world
  • start by 1 April 2023

Early stage projects:

  • must have total costs between £50,000 and £300,000 (up to 70% of costs can be covered depending on business size)
  • can last 3-12 months

Mid stage projects:

  • must have total costs between £50,000 and £1.5 million (up to 70% of costs can be covered depending on business size)
  • can last 6-24 months
  • 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) in addition to the UK registered administrative lead

Late stage projects:

  • must have total costs between £50,000 and £5 million (up to 45% of costs can be covered depending on business size)
  • can last 6-36 months
  • 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) in addition to the UK registered administrative lead

Your project can also involve organisations from any country (this applies to all 3 strands).

Eligible organisations

There are two types of leads in energy catalyst, an administrative lead, who will start the application, and a technology lead. The administrative lead must be registered in the UK.

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 can be from anywhere in the world, and can be an SME, RTO or academic institution.

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(s), your organisation must be one of: business of any size, academic institution, charity, not for profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) or research and technology organisation (RTO).

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.

We strongly encourage the inclusion of international partners (business or other), where relevant to the project.

Scope

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:

  • creating new energy access in unserved regions
  • improving existing access to provide a more reliable service

(See the competition pages linked below for a list of eligible countries.)

2.Clean Energy

Your technology or business model must create clean energy which is affordable, reliable, and 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:

  • identify the main beneficiaries
  • describe how you will mitigate any negative effects
  • provide a plan of how to address both gender and social inclusion during the life of your project
  • explain how your project will encourage equality

 

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:

  • next generation solar technologies and business models
  • smart green grids, including mini and main grid related technologies
  • energy storage, including batteries and mechanical storage
  • low carbon hydrogen
  • modern cooking
  • low energy inclusive appliances
  • leave no one behind, specifically technologies and business models
  • targeting poor or marginalised groups or fragile contexts
  • sustainable cooling

An online briefing was held on 25th May: click here to watch the recording.

Jonathan Abra

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Jonathan Abra

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