News story

Global access to reliable energy: apply for funding

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million to help bring clean, affordable and secure energy to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Wind turbines in Africa

Wind turbines in Africa.

Innovate UK has up to £10 million to invest in innovative, market-focused energy technologies through the Energy Catalyst funding programme.

Round 6 of the Energy Catalyst will support energy innovations across all technologies, sectors and international markets to help address the global need for reliable energy.

The Energy Catalyst is run by Innovate UK and co-funded by partners including the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Bringing energy to poorly served regions

Reliable sources of energy are crucial to human wellbeing but 1.1 billion people have no access to electricity. While progress has been made in both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, 14% of the world’s population is still without access, rising to 84% in rural areas.

The new funding is for projects that meet the needs of the people, businesses and services in these regions.

Tackling the ‘Energy Trilemma’

Organisations applying for funding will need to address the World Energy Council’s ‘Energy Trilemma’ and its 3 pillars:

  • cost – reducing prices to make energy accessible to everyone
  • emissions – generating cleaner energy with lower emissions to protect the environment
  • security of supply – putting reliable infrastructure in place to keep energy flowing without disruption or shortage

Funding for different stages of development

The competition offers 3 strands for projects in different stages of development; early stage, mid-stage and late stage.

Funding for early-stage projects is designed for feasibility studies exploring the technical potential of an idea. The mid-stage strand is aimed at research and development, while the late stage strand will deal with projects that are ready to proceed with prototyping and pilot testing.

To apply for mid-stage or late-stage funding some of the research, testing or demonstration must be carried out in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia by either a UK or international partner.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for funding for any of the 3 strands you must:

  • be a business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • apply as part of a collaboration with a UK organisation if you’re based in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia
  • plan to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in these regions
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 20 August 2018 and the deadline for applications is midday on 14 November 2018
  • successful applicants will be contacted on 25 January 2019
  • early stage projects can have total costs of £50,000 to £300,000 and last from 6 to 12 months
  • for mid-stage projects costs can be £50,000 to £1.5 million lasting 12 to 24 months
  • for late stage projects costs can be £50,000 to £3 million lasting 12 to 30 months
  • projects must start by 1 April 2019 and end by 30 Sept 2021
Published 9 August 2018