Energy Catalyst Round 5


The Department for International Development (DFID), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to invest up to £13 million in innovation projects to address the global need for clean, affordable and secure energy.

The aim of the Energy Catalyst competition is to support highly innovative, market-focused energy solutions in any technology or sector or international market.

Proposals must address all 3 elements of the energy trilemma:

  • cost
  • emissions
  • security of supply

The competition is open to any UK organisation and may also include international partners. You should apply into the stream most closely aligned with your project. Universities and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to apply. Research organisations may lead early-stage feasibility projects.

There are 3 options to apply into this competition. These are referred to as streams and will be run in parallel. The streams are dependent on the stage your project is at:

  • early stage
  • mid-stage
  • late stage

You should choose the stream that broadly reflects the technical and commercial readiness of your project.

Early-stage competition stream:  These are technical feasibility projects. Projects can last up to 1 year, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £300,000. Research organisations may lead early-stage projects, in partnership with at least one UK business. UK SMEs can lead early-stage projects with or without partners.

Mid-stage competition stream:  These are industrial research projects. Projects can last up to 3 years, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £1.5 million. Mid-stage projects must be collaborative and led by a UK business.

Late-stage competition stream:  These are experimental development projects. Projects can last up to 3 years, with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £10 million. Late-stage projects must be collaborative and led by a UK business.

All projects must include at least one UK business. We expect most projects to start on 1 January 2018.

Competition Scope:

The Energy Catalyst competition supports innovators addressing business opportunities created by the global need for clean, affordable and secure energy. Proposals must address all 3 elements of this energy trilemma: cost, emissions, and security of supply.

The aim of the competition is to accelerate the commercialisation of the very best of UK energy innovation.  Applicants must have a clear understanding of their specific business opportunity and the route to growth, even at the earliest stages of research and development.  Applications may involve any technology, come from any sector and address any business opportunity.

Within this broad scope, co-funders have different priorities.  DFID will fund research and innovation that has relevance to the energy trilemma in developing countries. DFID’s priority is affordable and reliable access to clean energy for poor households, communities and enterprises in rural, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This does not exclude engagement with markets or partners in other regions and countries. DFID encourages the involvement of international partners where they will strengthen the project outcome.  BEIS may prioritise funding of projects with higher technology and commercial readiness, relevant to the UK energy system.  EPSRC will target its funding at universities (whether partners or leads) undertaking work of scientific excellence within EPSRC’s energy remit area.  Funding may be prioritised towards technologies and sectors for which alternative sources of public funding are not available.  Funding may also be prioritised to innovations and organisations with a track record of success.

Key Dates:

Competition opens Monday 24 April 2017
Briefing event for applicants Online webinar available to view on registering
Brokerage events London 26 April 2017
Birmingham 3 May 2017
Glasgow 9 May 2017
Registration deadline Midday Wednesday 21 June 2017
Application deadline Midday Wednesday 28 June 2017
Results notification September 2017
Expected project start 1 January 2018
Interested in this Challenge?
Please fill in the form below to find out more about this and other Innovation Challenges.

Our work is only possible with the support of our local and national partners, including Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the North East LEP, Northumbrian WaterNorth East BIC, and Reece Innovation with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Huge thanks go to all our partners.