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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/5g-testbed-and-trials-programme-phase-1-competition-guidance/5g-testbed-and-trials-programme-phase-1-competition-guidance
1. Dates and deadlines
|Competition opens||23 October 2017|
|Briefing events||30 October 2017 in London|
|31 October 2017 in Manchester|
|1 November 2017 in Glasgow|
|Registration closes||6 December 2017|
|Competition closes||13 December 2017|
|Shortlist applicants notified||9 February 2018|
|Successful applicants notified||8 March 2018|
|Grant claim period||1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019|
This competition guidance is to complement the general guidance for applicants. There are specific elements unique to this competition that will be highlighted below.
There is up to £25 million of funding available from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme in this competition.
DCMS will provide grant funding of between £2 million and £5 million to projects. Projects must complete all grant funded activities by 31 March 2019. Non-grant funded activities can continue beyond this date.
DCMS may make additional grant funding available to projects at a later date subject to satisfactory delivery.
We will consider a larger scale project with a larger grant funding requirement and extended delivery period, but you must contact us through customer support services or 0300 321 4357 to discuss this at least 10 days before the registration deadline. You will still be required to complete substantive delivery elements within financial year 2018/19.
Please read our funding rules guidance for more information on the different categories of funding and the rules around our state aid framework. This guidance contains general information relating to this competition and the processes Innovate UK will use to deliver it. Please note that the grant funding rates for businesses are different from those in the general guidance and are set out below.
For experimental development involving collaboration, the maximum grant allowed towards your eligible project costs under state aid rules if you are an organisation receiving direct grant funding from DCMS is:
- up to 60% if you are a small business
- up to 50% if you are a medium-sized business
- up to 40% if you are a large business
Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.
To discover what cost are eligible please see the standard definition of eligible costs.
The project lead is responsible for ensuring that any other key project partners also work with the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, managed by DCMS, and also with the forthcoming 5G Innovation Network. The programme is described in the government’s 5G strategy and the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme prospectus.
All projects must sign up to a programme participation agreement with DCMS as part of the application process. This participation agreement will include details on the monitoring and evaluation activity you expect to carry out. A draft of the programme participation agreement will be emailed to registered applicants from November 2017.
We encourage your consortium to collaborate with other projects funded by the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, and to work on issues identified by DCMS as priority areas. You should collaborate with other consortiums and form joint working groups to address these priorities. These activities will be funded by each consortium allocating a minimum of 3% of the project grant.
The project lead, key project partners and project partners will be required to sign a collaboration agreement between themselves before any claim to DCMS for grant funding for the project.
3. Requirements and eligibility
- you may be eligible to receive different rates of funding. This depends on the type and size of your organisation
- submissions using the incorrect application form will not be considered eligible
- submissions with incomplete or missing finance forms will not be considered eligible
- all submission documents must be submitted in the correct file format as explained in this document. Any document in an incorrect format will result in the entire application not being sent for assessment
- all projects must be carried out in the UK
- all projects should be industry led or have a strong industry component
- non-UK organisations may participate but will not receive grant funding
- to be considered collaborative, at least 2 organisations must be requesting grant funding from DCMS. The lead organisation must request the grant
- total subcontracting cost is limited to 30% of the total project costs
- only UK-based organisations are eligible to receive funding from DCMS
- no single partner can receive more than 70% of the total eligible project costs
- at least 70% of total eligible project costs should be incurred by private sector business organisations
- we expect that grants will be paid to the project lead and distributed to key project partners as will be set out in your collaboration agreement
- for all research organisations and public sector organisations the total level of project participation is set at a maximum of 30% of total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research or public sector organisation, this maximum will be shared between them
- public sector organisations who are key project partners will be expected to consider contributing to the project. This can be in the form of contributions in kind (such as making public sector assets available for use as part of the project) or the direct funding of infrastructure, equipment or services for the project. This will be taken into account in the assessment process
- this competition has no minimum threshold for funding contributions but local funding contributions will be important where public sector organisations are involved. These would include Local Enterprise Partnerships (not public sector), local authorities or other public bodies themselves. This will be taken into account in the assessment process
- we would not discourage a public sector organisation from being a project partner. However, they must take on a specific role in project delivery where they are not providing additional contributions
You should specify the following roles in your proposal, as applicable:
|Project lead (and key project partner)||For most projects we expect that this will be a business organisation.
For some projects it may be more appropriate for a public sector organisation to be the lead organisation. We will expect this organisation to make a significant funding contribution to the project.
The proposal should make it clear why the project lead is the most appropriate organisation to lead the project.
|Key project partners||These will include all organisations which will receive grant funding from DCMS and any other public sector source.
In addition, any other organisation which the consortium regards as critical to the delivery of the project but which is not receiving grant funding from DCMS or any other public sector source.
|Project partners||These are any other organisations not receiving grant funding from DCMS or any other public sector source and which will undertake important activities during project delivery.
These organisations may be involved in the project governance as appropriate.
|Project participants||These are any other organisations not receiving grant funding from DCMS or any other public sector source.
These organisations may be identified at proposal stage, or could be added to the project at a later date.
4. Competition process
For this competition, DCMS will use a portfolio approach. This is to make sure that all projects considered to be above the quality threshold meet the strategic criteria described in the competition brief.
The competition process will follow these steps:
- submitted applications will be reviewed to make sure that they are eligible for the competition
- only applications that meet the eligibility requirements of the competition will be sent for assessment
- applications will be assessed by up to 5 assessors who are experts in the innovation area identified in your application
- assessors will score applications consistently and in line with scoring matrices. They will provide written feedback for each marked question
- applications will be ranked in descending order. Applications which score over a quality threshold will be reviewed against DCMS’s strategy, to make sure that there is an appropriate balance of projects in this phase of the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme
- this competition will be run in 2 stages. Stage 1 will be run by Innovate UK. Stage 2 will be run by DCMS and will include face-to-face interviews with the applicants that meet the quality threshold
- the lead applicant will be notified of the funding decision
- all eligible and in scope applications will receive assessor feedback
5. How to apply
You will receive an email acknowledgement of your registration followed by a second email up to 48 hours later. The second email will contain a username and password for our secure upload facility along with a unique application number and form.
Application: Once you have received your unique username and password, you can sign in to the secure website. You are then able to access the finance form for this competition from the public download area.
Finance form: Only finance forms named Project Finance Form.xls will be accepted into this competition. Previous versions of the project finance form will be ineligible.
Submit your documents: You or your lead partner must submit to your FTP site:
- your application form with your unique application number for this competition (mandatory)
- project finance forms for every non-academic partner (including the lead organisation) in your project (mandatory)
- a Je-S submission pdf output document, confirming a ‘with council’ status for every academic partner in your project, if any (mandatory)
- project appendices as pdf documents, labelled correctly as per the appendices guidance in section 10
Assessment: Once the eligibility checks have been completed, all eligible applications are sent out for assessment.
Notification: We will notify the lead applicant if the application is ineligible and not sent for assessment with an explanation as to why.
Feedback: Feedback will be provided to all applications that have been assessed. The lead applicant can access and download the feedback by signing in to the secure FTP site where you uploaded your application documents. It is the responsibility of the lead to communicate the feedback with the rest of the consortium, if applicable. No additional feedback can be provided and there will be no further discussion on the application.
Shortlisted applicants: Shortlisted applicants will be provided with a list of questions and requests for further information that must be supplied in advance of the interview.
Interview: DCMS will tell the lead applicant when their interview will be.
6. The application form
This section explains the structure of the application form and offers guidance on what information to provide in answer to each question.
The structure is as follows:
- application details
- summary of proposed project
- public description of the project
- scope question
- section 1: The vision (business case)
- question 1: What is the proposed 5G Testbed?
- question 2: Describe the challenges and use cases you expect to address and the trials that you expect to conduct in the testbed.
- question 3: How will the testbed and trials contribute to society and/or the local economy
- question 4: How will the testbed and trials support the development of a 5G ecosystem in the UK
- section 2: Delivery of the vision (project details)
- question 5: What project governance structure will be used to ensure project delivery to time cost and quality
- question 6: How will the project be structured
- question 7: What are the risks to project success? What is the project’s risk management strategy
- question 8: Describe your approach to a sustainable testbed
- section 3: Funding and added value
- question 9: How robust is the financial proposal for the project?
- question 10: How does financial support from DCMS and financial contributors add value?
- other funding from public sector bodies
- finance summary table
Please make sure that you upload the final version of your application by the deadline. It is the lead organisation’s responsibility to ensure that you do not upload a blank or incomplete application.
You should follow these steps:
- you can only use the application form provided. It contains specific information including a unique reference number for your project
- the application form contains specific fields. It is important that you complete each field and submit a fully completed form. Incomplete forms will be considered ineligible and won’t be sent for assessment
- the application form must not be altered, converted or saved as a different version of Microsoft Word
- the space provided in each field of the form is fixed. You must restrict your responses in each of the fields to the space provided. The typeface, font size and colour are predetermined and cannot be changed. Illustrations, graphics and hyperlinks cannot be included in the application form
- the light grey shaded fields are completed automatically from other information entered on the form, such as the total columns of a table. These cannot be overwritten
- you should be able to see your total answer to the question when looking at the application form in print view. Any text that cannot be seen in this view or when the form is printed will not be assessed
|Competition name||This field will show the full name of the DCMS competition to which the form applies. You do not need to enter anything here.|
|Document ID||This field is completed automatically.|
|Applicant number||This field is completed automatically and is the reference that you should use on all correspondence (this is the 6 digit number after the dash).|
|Project title||Enter the full title of the project.|
|Theme||Please select from the drop down list.|
|Research category||Please select from the drop down list.|
|Project timescales||Enter the estimated start date and its planned duration. These are indicative at this stage and are not guaranteed.|
|(Lead) organisation name||Enter the full registered name of the (lead) organisation for the project. If you are not in a consortium application, these will be your organisation details.
Please note that the lead organisation will be the main point of contact between Innovate UK and the project team.
|(Lead) organisation contact details||Enter the full name, postcode, email address and telephone number of the main point of contact between Innovate UK/DCMS and the project.|
6.1 Summary of proposed project (not scored)
Provide a short summary of the content and SMART (specific,measureable, achievable,realistic,timed) objectives of your project, including what delivery of this project will contribute to the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.
This summary is mandatory but not scored. It provides an introduction to your proposal for the benefit of DCMS staff, Innovate UK staff, government staff and assessors only. It will not be made visible to the public. It should cover, in brief:
- the vision of what will be delivered at the end of the project, including the business need or market opportunity to be targeted
- the approach to be taken and how this will ensure an on time, cost and quality delivery
- the difference the project will make to the competitiveness and productivity of the partners involved
6.2 Public description of the project (not scored)
To comply with government practice on openness and transparency of public funded activities, DCMS has to publish information relating to funded projects. Please provide a short description of your proposal in a way that will be understandable to the general public. Do not include any commercially confidential information, for example, intellectual property or patent details.
6.3 Question: Scope
How does this application align with the specific competition scope?
- all applications must align with the specific competition scope criteria as described in the competition brief
- to demonstrate alignment, you need to show that a clear majority of the project’s objectives and activities are aligned with this competition
7. Competition questions
7.1 Section 1: The vision (business case) (48%)
Question 1: What is the proposed 5G testbed? (12%)
- describe the testbed facilities you intend to deliver as part of the project, both in terms of the products or services available for 5G Trials and, if any, other non-5G Trials
- describe the testbed’s major features, set out its advantages, attractions for trials and identify any innovative aspects of the testbed
- describe the system architecture and major components of the testbed
- describe the radio access technology that will be supported by the testbed, and its capabilities
- describe how the testbed will build on any existing infrastructure or centres of excellence and what benefits this will offer, for example cost or time saved in delivery by using existing infrastructure or operating models
- describe how the testbed and associated facilities will be customer friendly for trial organisations
Question 2: Describe the challenges and use cases you expect to address and the trials you expect to conduct in the testbed (12%)
- describe the use cases that grant funded trials and any other planned Trials with funding from other sources will address
- describe the industry sectors that the testbed is intended to support, and the particular challenges that could be met using 5G capabilities, and identify the innovative aspects of the Trials
- describe any innovative aspects that your project will demonstrate in testbeds and or trials
- how close to market are the applications or services supporting the use cases that you will be addressing, and how are they differentiated from those currently available?
- what expertise or domain knowledge does your consortium have that will allow it to deliver the trials successfully?
- describe potential additional use cases that the testbed could cover
Question 3: How will the testbed and trials contribute to society and/or the local economy? (12%)
Describe how the project will provide wider benefits, such as:
- developing and exploring new business models and applications and potential benefits to businesses
- collaborating with DCMS to identify technical and commercial barriers to 5G deployment
- supporting the development of the local economy, including the growth of local businesses, particularly SMEs
- helping to establish your location as an attractive place for additional companies to invest in areas relevant to your vision
- enabling improvements in local infrastructure. This could include, for example, synergies with other local projects including any potential projects under the DCMS Local Full Fibre Networks Programme, and other activities aimed at improving local connectivity
Question 4: How will the testbed and trials support the development of a 5G ecosystem in the UK? (12%)
- describe how the project will contribute to developing the UK’s capabilities in the emerging 5G environment, and particularly in the space where the telecoms industry meets industry sectors which are relevant to your proposal. This should demonstrate a good understanding of relevant industry sector requirements
- describe how your proposal will contribute to the development of a 5G research, development and innovation ecosystem in the UK
- describe how you will ensure a strong link between the proposed project, wider programme participants and the forthcoming 5G Innovation Network
- describe your approach to the identification and dissemination of lessons learned and project outcomes
- describe what the trials could contribute to best practice in relevant industry sectors
7.2 Section 2: Delivery of the vision (project details) (32%)
Question 5: What project governance structure will be used to ensure project delivery to time, cost and quality? (6%)
- describe your proposed project management process
- describe how your consortium will deliver this project. How will the organisations achieve more working together than if they were working individually?
- explain why the project lead is best placed to undertake this role. Industry led projects are preferred unless there is a strong justification otherwise
- describe the project governance structure that will be used
- detail the commitments and responsibilities of each project partner
- describe which legal entities will own any assets which are paid for by grant funding
- define which participant will be responsible for the management and operation of the testbed, and why they have the right skills and capabilities to deliver this
Question 6: How will the project be structured? (6%)
Identify the main work packages including resource, capital and management requirements.These should be clearly linked to the costs detailed in question 9.
- for each work package describe the purpose, objectives, methodology, deliverables, milestones and resources involved
- provide a clear project plan that links to deliverables and milestones. The project plan should be sufficient in comparison to the complexity of the project at this proposal stage. For example, is there enough detail to understand the tasks involved and the resources required? The timing of deliverables and milestones should be realistic
Question 7: What are the risks to project success? What is the project’s risk management strategy? (10%)
- identify the main risks and uncertainties of the project and provide a risk analysis for the project content and approach. Include any cost, timing, technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks as well as other uncertainties (for example ethical issues) associated with the project. Rate the main risks as high/medium/low (H/M/L)
- state how the project will mitigate these main risks. You should tackle all significant and relevant risks and their mitigation
- describe the track record of relevant project partners in undertaking and exploiting the results of similar projects. Highlight your ability to deliver the proposal on time, to cost and at a sufficient level of quality
- identify any internal and external dependencies, support or engagement that is required. Indicate what is agreed at time of submission, and what is still to be agreed, for example any legal agreements or consents that need to be put in place to enable the works to be undertaken (including land agreements, planning and highway consents, construction contracts, utility agreements and wayleaves)
- demonstrate access to frequency spectrum: the proposal should describe which frequency bands are intended to be used (if any), and how the project will obtain authorisation for their use
Question 8: Describe your approach to a sustainable testbed (10%)
- describe your approach to maintaining the availability of the testbed after the grant funding period. This could include:
- plans for attracting other trials from initial trial organisations involved in the project or additional trial organisations. This may include 5G and non-5G trials
- potential opportunities for and sources of additional funding outside of those identified in this proposal, over and above any future opportunities for funding from this DCMS programme
- if you plan for the testbed to be an open testbed how it will operate on an appropriate open access basis for organisations to conduct trials. If it is not appropriate for it to be open, please explain why
- indicate how the testbed could be further developed, scaled or improved beyond the timeframe or outside of the scope of this project. Detail any follow-on projects or future improvement opportunities currently envisaged
- describe the project partners’ approach to securing follow-on funding or activities for trials to lead towards commercial success
7.3 Section 3: Funding and added value (20%)
Question 9: How robust is the financial proposal for the project? (10%)
- detail the estimated project cost for each work package. Make clear the level of contribution from each project participant and the level of grant funding requested from DCMS. A summary of this information should be provided in the financial summary table in the application form
- describe the contributions in kind from each project participant
- identify the amount of DCMS grant and other funding you will set aside for working with other participants in the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme and with the forthcoming 5G Innovation Network. A minimum of 3% of grant funding is required
- provide a cost breakdown of forecast expenditure on the project. Identify costs for the testbed and funded trials separately. Explain how the costs have been calculated
- detail the spend profile by month, linking it to milestones and deliverables as needed. This should be fully consistent with the dates you have specified in the project plan
- describe what network and any other infrastructure will be used in the project (if any), and how it will be sourced
- confirm that the grant amount requested includes any irrecoverable VAT, all fees and charges, and appropriate allowance has been made for any price inflation during the project period
- confirm that all grant funding claims do not extend beyond 31 March 2019
Assessors need to be confident the project can be delivered to the stated cost. They will consider:
- the total amount of grant funding requested from DCMS
- whether there is an appropriate level of contributions from public sector organisations who are key project partners
- whether there is a significant contribution from any public sector organisation who is the lead project partner
Question 10: How does financial support from DCMS and financial contributors add value? (10%)
- describe what a successful outcome for the project would look like by the end of 2018/19, and by any later date where non-DCMS funding is committed
- detail how the funding you require will allow you to undertake the project in terms of time to market and any other relevant factors
- tell us whether the project could go ahead in any form without government funding, and if so, what difference would government funding make? Explain why this contribution would be beneficial to the project partners involved in the project, as well as the UK taxpayer (in terms of economic, social, environmental and other impacts) and how will you monitor the impact (you will be expected to work with the programme team on the monitoring and evaluation of benefits)
- describe any direct follow-on funding from project partners. This should include any post-project research and development, further trialling and capital spend commitments by the project partners
- describe any additional areas of added value not set out elsewhere in your proposal
- confirm that you have checked your proposal is consistent with state aid requirements
- confirm that you understand that grants will be claimed quarterly in arrears
7.4 Other funding from public sector bodies
If you have included one or more entries in column 7 of the finance summary table (on the following page), please provide:
- the names of the bodies
- the name of the programme or scheme from which the funds are provided
- the fund amounts
8. Finance summary
This table lists the total eligible project costs by organisation. Please note that only certain project costs are eligible for grant funding under UK state aid rules. See our project costs guidance for information on eligible project costs and how to complete the project finance form.
|Provide the full names of the lead organisation, followed by other organisations in the project consortium (organisation names as noted in Companies House).|
Organisation registration number
|Organisations should provide the Company Registration Number (as noted in Companies House). Universities/HEIs should enter their RC number/charitable status/legal entity registration number.|
|Select your enterprise category. SME definition is based on the EU definition
Medium sized: Headcount less than 250: Turnover less than 50 million euros or balance sheet total less than 43 million euros
Small: Headcount less than 50: Turnover less than 10 million euros or balance sheet total less than 10 million euros
Micro: Headcount less than 10: Turnover less than 2 million euros or balance sheet total less than 2 million euros
Postcode of where majority of work will be done
|Provide the postcode where the majority of work will take place for each organisation participating in the project.|
Contribution to the project by each organisation (£)
|List the total contribution to be made to the project by each organisation. Where a university is claiming grant funding, the contribution should be £0.|
Funding sought from DCMS
|Enter the funding sought from DCMS for each contributing organisation for this competition.|
Other funding from public sector bodies
|Include any funding applied for separately for the project from any other public sector bodies and not as part of this competition. Funding from other public sector bodies might include other applications to research councils, other government departments, devolved administrations, other public sector organisations and some charities. The purpose of this column is to provide DCMS with information on the total public funding for the project.|
|The total cost of the project for each contributor. This is the sum of columns 5, 6 and 7 and will be entered automatically.|
|The total of each column will be entered automatically.|
Please ensure that you click out of each cell after entering your figures.
9. Finance form
Each non-research organisation in your project must provide a project finance form using the template project finance form, which is available on the FTP site. This must be submitted in Microsoft Excel format with the application form by the lead applicant. Each finance form provides a detailed breakdown on each organisation’s total eligible project costs. Please ensure that all total figures listed in your finance summary table match those stated in the ‘form status’ tab within the project finance form.
10. Project appendices
You can only include appendices in support of your responses to the application questions. Submission of any additional appendices/documentation not described in this document will not be sent for assessment. Applications submitted with incorrect appendices, with regard to content or naming convention, will be ineligible and not sent for assessment.
You can submit:
- appendices A: up to 10 A4 pages to support your answer to questions 1 to 4
- appendices B: up to 10 A4 pages to support your answer to questions 5 to 8
- appendices C: up to one A4 page for each key project partner and half an A4 page for each other organisation in the project
- appendices D: up to 2 A4 pages to support your answer to question 9. Specifically, this should be used to detail the spend profile (cost and grant) by month, linked to milestones and deliverables as needed
In order that assessors can open and read the appendices, each appendix must:
- conform to the maximum length specifications stated for each
- be submitted in pdf
- be legible at 100% zoom/magnification
- display prominently the last 6 digits of your ‘application number’ as in the filename of the application form, for example. ‘AppendixA-(123456)’
Please do not submit appendices longer than the specified lengths. Assessors are instructed to only read appendices to the lengths specified in the guidance.
10.1 Appendices information for applicants
Some testbeds might want to use existing 5G test network capability and the programme is interested to learn more about this.
In such cases, the following information will be required at the phase 2 interview stage of the assessment:
- identify who will provide 5G test network capabilities to your testbed. If not yet agreed, what is your plan for confirming test network provision to meet your needs?
- please describe the 5G test network provision these partners will provide, including as appropriate:
- core network capabilities such as network slicing, software defined networking, network function virtualisation and cloud computing capabilities
- radio access network capabilities such as enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine type communications, and ultra-reliable and low latency communications
- please include any other relevant information about this test network capability
11. University test networks
In 2017/18 the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme is collaborating with the 5GUK project, announced in July 2017.
5GUK is a collaborative project between the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey (which is the project leader), King’s College London and University of Bristol. The project will develop, test and demonstrate the next generation of 5G technology and will develop a unique national asset made up of 3 interconnected 5G ‘test islands’ or groupings. It is anticipated that these test islands will be capable of supporting:
- 5G new radio to help enable enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine type communication, and ultra reliable and low latency communication
- legacy infrastructure (such as 4G, WiFi, fibre access)
- network slicing, using software defined network techniques
- different capabilities across the network, using network functions virtualisation
- interconnection and end-to-end autonomic orchestration of services across the 3 islands
- heterogeneous user requirements
- cloud and edge computing capabilities
5GUK will be usable by subsequent testbeds and trials. Consortiums may wish to use the test network capabilities which will be made available by the 5GUK project. If so, they should discuss this directly with the universities, including any costs for use. Contact details for the 3 universities are available from customer support services at Innovate UK by emailing email@example.com or calling 0300 321 4357.
Consortiums can also seek to access test network capabilities available elsewhere. These should be 5G or pre-5G test networks that allow the testing of some aspects of 5G capabilities.