Overview

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) invests up to £30 million, 3 times a year, in collaborative research and development (R&D) projects. These are pre-production match-funded projects. In this round APC is investing £30 million.

The aim of this competition is to seek proposals for collaborative R&D projects. These should demonstrate the development of on-vehicle technologies (including material, product and manufacturing processes) for on or off-road vehicles.

The project must focus on or relate to one or more of the following strategic technology themes. You must determine which technology or technologies best represent your project:

  • alternative propulsion systems
  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
  • thermal propulsion systems that deliver substantial improvements

Scope

Your project must either:

  • accelerate the development of technologies capable of low and zero tailpipe emissions
  • or demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions leading to air quality improvements

Your proposal must clearly align with the UK’s Industrial Strategy and must clearly demonstrate how high value R&D will take place in the UK as a result of this funding.

APC is particularly looking for projects that support the UK’s long-term supply chain, associated capabilities and growth aspirations. This includes improving productivity and competitiveness in the design, build and manufacture of vehicles that are capable of low and zero tailpipe emissions.

Including:

  • motors
  • batteries
  • power electronics
  • hybridisation
  • alternative propulsion systems

Your project must support the growth of these technologies, creating more jobs and capability throughout the UK supply chain.

Your application must demonstrate a positive impact on the UK economy. This can include projects that will make a major investment in:

  • creating new supply chains supporting the transition to electrification and zero emission vehicles
  • adding resilience to existing supply chains under a variety of circumstances (where applicable) such as low, medium, high production, niche, off highway, commercial or volume passenger vehicles
  • the delivery of a UK centric high value manufacturing and sourcing footprint
  • lowering the overall cost of goods sold to customers
  • joining together (simplifying) less productive or mature elements of existing UK supply chain, leading to business efficiencies and reducing uncertainty and risk
  • attracting companies not traditionally delivering products, services or skills in automotive into the sector
  • risk screening and due diligence to identify risks in the proposed supply chain developments
  • improving the manufacturing readiness level (MRL) of your technology

Your project can either focus directly on improving the MRL, or it can create manufacturing processes or supply chain enhancements that will lead to an improved MRL.

APC will consider projects focussed on reducing carbon dioxide or improving air quality from advanced internal combustion engines, especially those using clean fuels. Projects focusing solely on clean fuels are out of scope.

Eligibility

To lead a project you must:

  • have an active registered business base in the UK
  • be a grant recipient
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • include, as part of your consortium, a vehicle manufacturer or tier 1 supplier who supplies parts directly to an original equipment manufacturer
  • collaborate with others
  • carry out the work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions or research organisations cannot lead projects.

To collaborate with the lead your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • work in collaboration with other businesses or research organisations

Non-UK based companies and research organisations are eligible to apply for funding if they:

  • set up an active UK registered business base before they start their project, where the funded work will be carried out
  • provide evidence that they intend to expand their R&D activity in the UK after the project

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Funding Costs

APC have allocated up to £30 million to match-fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be 50% match funded and between £5 million and £40 million.

Projects can last between 18 and 42 months.

Organisations primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (known as selective advantage) as part of the project must ensure their request for funding does not exceed the limits defined below. This includes organisations that typically act non-economically but for the purpose of this project will undertake commercial or economic activity.

The total grant request in your application cannot exceed 50% of the total eligible project costs, of which:

  • at least 70% must be incurred by commercial organisations
  • a maximum of 30% is available to research organisations undertaking non-economic activity, and if there is more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this amount will be shared between them

You must request the minimum amount of funding needed for your project.

The percentage of costs you can claim varies depending on:

  • type of research you are carrying out
  • type of organisations involved
  • outcome of a value for money (VfM) economic assessment carried out by the department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Interested in applying for this competition?