Overview

The aim of this competition is to present a portfolio of demonstrator projects. Your project must showcase close-to-market solutions that go beyond the current state-of-the-art and deliver a more circular economy for plastic packaging.

Scope

Your project must deliver on the following SSPP Challenge objectives:

  1. Unlock a significant overall increase in research and innovation (R&I) spend spend (government and industry).
  2. Deliver R&I to support more sustainable plastic packaging in line with the UK Plastics Pact targets.
  3. Increase UK plastic packaging supply chain collaboration.

You must explain how you are innovating to contribute to the UK meeting one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets:

  1. 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  2. 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
  3. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
  4. Take actions to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models.

Your proposal must take a systems perspective, use a lifecycle approach and consider the environment impacts.

The methodology and models applied to the project should be validated and endorsed by a national and/or international agency, such as the Environment Agency in the UK or the European Environment Agency in Europe.

Your proposal must focus on plastic packaging as the primary application but also include one or more of the following 4 innovation themes.

Materials innovation, for example:

  • new, recyclable polymer materials
  • biopolymers
  • improving ‘compatibilisation’ (making it easier to use more recycled content)
  • alternatives to plastics for packaging applications (such as mycelium materials to replace expanded polystyrene) where plastic is the only current option

Design innovation, for example:

  • design for recyclability
  • design for reuse
  • making food delivery and other delivery packaging more recyclable
  • marking and identification technologies to make sorting easier

Technology and process innovation, for example:

  • reuse processes such as cleaning
  • collection
  • sorting and separation
  • mechanical recycling
  • chemical recycling
  • anaerobic digestion (AD) or composting of compostable packaging

Business model innovation, for example:

  • reusable packaging systems such as refill
  • zero packaging business models and systems
  • consumer or business behavioural change

Eligibility

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions cannot lead.

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter its costs in the Innovation Funding Service

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

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

Innovate UK have allocated up to £12 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Organisations that are 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 be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

Projects in this competition will be experimental development.

You can receive up to 25% of total eligible project costs for your experimental development project. The maximum percentage an individual partner can receive is dependent on the size of organisation as follows:

  • 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

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £2 million and £48 million.

Your project must start by 1 April 2021 and end by 31 March 2024. It can last between 12 and 36 months.

The research organisations in your consortium undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding projects which:

  • do not have plastic packaging as the primary focus
  • encourage or facilitate the export of plastic packaging while still classified as a waste
  • use or manufacture either a liquid fuel or a solid fuel, such as refuse-derived fuel or solid-recovered fuel, as the primary product

Interested in applying for this competition?