News story

£500,000 nuclear boost for new fund supporting innovative energy projects

NDA is contributing £500k to £1.5 million initiative to encourage smaller businesses to find new ways of solving some of the energy industry’s technical challenges.

Energy Game Changer Funding
Energy Game Changer Funding

Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer fund, announced last year, now stands at £2 million including NDA’s contribution. It will be distributed to innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) outside the energy sector.

The fund aims to encourage new entrants into all sectors of the energy industry, including oil, gas and nuclear, but the NDA is particularly interested in technologies that could be applied to decommissioning challenges.

Innovate UK is the government’s innovation-driving agency, working across all industrial sectors. NDA has been collaborating with Innovate UK over the last few years to stimulate and encourage innovative ideas that could be deployed to address challenges on our sites.

Allocation of funding will take place through a competitive process led by Innovate UK, with SMEs welcome to submit stand-alone project ideas or working collaboratively with partner organisations of any size.

Melanie Brownridge, Head of Technology, said:

The UK is home to a number of world-leading companies in a wide range of cutting-edge fields such as robotics and computer gaming. We want to harness this dynamic and creative thinking in order to address some of the long-term challenges the nuclear decommissioning industry faces.

Innovative solutions can mean that our decommissioning work is achieved more safely, sooner, and at a lower cost for the taxpayer. “We want to stimulate the development and adoption of novel and emerging and as alternatives to established technologies to improve the way we do things.

We believe that game-changing technologies can solve a number of existing problems, either by the development of completely new ideas or through technology transfer from other sectors. Could we, for example, adopt virtual reality techniques from the computer game industry to help us work remotely in hazardous environments?

We would like to encourage those people who are currently working elsewhere, in industries such as defence, aerospace, automotive and telecommunications, to grasp this opportunity to consider how their techniques can be applied to our important field of work.

Further information

  • this competition opens on 28 March 2016, and the deadline for registration is at noon on 4 May 2016
  • projects must be led by an SME whose main business lies outside the energy sector. They can work alone or collaboratively with partners of any size from any sector.
Applications are particularly encouraged from businesses engaged in, but not limited to: Technology transfer proposals from other sectors are also welcome, such as:
inspection defence
ICT aerospace
digital automotive
sensors telecommunications
virtual reality forensics
gaming medical
robotics space
autonomous systems creative industries
advanced materials  

Energy Game Changer projects are expected to:

  • last 6 to 12 months
  • range in size from total costs of £25,000 to £100,000

Available funding

The call is worth £2 million with the percentage of project costs received dependent upon the size of the organisation.

Key dates

  • competition opens: 28 March 2016
  • briefing event: 6 April 2016
  • registration deadline: noon 4 May 2016
  • deadline for video submissions: noon 11 May 2016
  • deadline for invited written proposals: noon 7 July 2016
  • pitch sessions: 5–7 September 2016

Brokering events have also been arranged. These will provide an opportunity to:

  • hear more about the challenges
  • network with sector experts
  • meet potential partners

Potential applicants can attend one of these events:

There will also be a briefing event for potential applicants in London on 6 April 2016.

NDA will support these events through representatives from our SLCs attending to provide potential end-user perspectives.

For supporting documents and to register for events see: Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer funding competition

Published 28 January 2016