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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-guidance-for-agri-tech-catalyst-round-8-agriculture-and-food-systems-innovation/competition-guidance-for-agri-tech-catalyst-round-8-agriculture-and-food-systems-innovation
1. Dates and deadlines
|Competition opens||1 April 2019|
|Online brokerage events||5 April 2019|
|Online briefing event||9 April 2019|
|Birmingham briefing event||22 March 2019|
|Final date for registration||29 May 2019|
|Submission of the full application||5 June 2019|
|Decision to applicants||2 August 2019|
Please read the full competition scope before you make your application.
2. International collaboration options
Round 8 of the Agri-tech Catalyst is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). All projects must include a partner from an eligible African country. The tables below indicate which partnership combinations are eligible for each category of research.
Other organisations, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs), are also eligible in addition to the core partnership between businesses and/or research organisations. They can be added to any of the eligible combinations below.
Innovate UK acknowledges that the legal categories for institutions differ in other countries. If you wish to partner with an organisation that does not fit into the categories listed above, email email@example.com at least 10 days before the competition registration deadline.
Early stage feasibility studies and mid stage industrial research
|UK||UK||Developing country||Developing country|
Late stage experimental development
3. Competition process
For this competition, Innovate UK will use a portfolio approach. This is to make sure that the strategic criteria described in the competition brief are met for all projects considered to be above the quality threshold. This will be as a result of independent expert assessment.
Submitted applications will be reviewed to make sure that they are in scope for the competition. Applications in scope are assessed by up to 5 external assessors who are experts in the area of innovation identified in your application. Assessors score applications consistently and in line with scoring matrices, and provide written feedback for each marked question.
A report is compiled to rank all applications by score. All applications are evaluated according to the standard assessment process, full details of which are available in the general guidance for applicants
Applications that score over the quality threshold will be funded to ensure a portfolio of projects that:
- are high quality
- reflect a range of sectors, as described in the scope of early, mid and late stage awards that fit the funding available
- target opportunities across a range of challenges relevant to DFID priorities in the agriculture and food systems sectors
- demonstrate sufficient innovation, potential return on investment and degree of technical risk
- demonstrate value for money, include the potential impact of the project relative to its cost, and the cost of other projects under consideration
- have potential to deliver benefits that outweigh the cost of due diligence and monitoring,
The UK administrative lead applicant will be notified of the funding decision .
3.1 How to apply
Before you apply into an Innovate UK competition, it is important to understand the whole application process. The information contained in this guidance is specific to this competition. In addition, please read our general guidance for applicants to help you submit a good application. It will give generalised information on:
- funding rules
- project costs
- state aid
- how to submit your document-based application
- categories of research and development
- participation in a project
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.
Once you have received your unique username and password, you can sign in to the secure website to access the finance forms for this competition.
Only finance forms named ’Project Finance Form.xls’ are accepted into this competition. Previous versions of the project finance form will be ineligible. When you register for the competition you will have access to our secure site. You will be able to download the finance form from the public area of this site.
It is important that appendices conform to the guidance for this specific competition. Appendices which do not follow the guidance will result in ineligible applications that will not be sent for assessment.
Submit your documents
You or your UK administrative lead partner must submit:
- your application form with your unique application number for this competition
- project appendices as PDF documents, labelled with your application number
- project finance forms for every non-academic partner in your project, including non-UK partners
- Je-S submission PDF output document for every academic partner in your project, if any
Once the competition submission deadline is reached, your application is sent for assessment.
We will notify the UK administrative lead partner of the outcome of your application on the date stated in the timeline.
We will give feedback to successful and unsuccessful applicants approximately 4 weeks after you have been notified of the decision. The UK administrative lead partner can access the feedback by signing into the secure website where you uploaded your application documents. It is the responsibility of the UK administrative lead to communicate the feedback with the rest of the consortium. No additional feedback can be provided and there will be no further discussion on the application.
The application form
This section explains the structure of the application form and offers guidance on what to answer in each question.
The structure is as follows:
- application details
- summary of proposed project
- public description of the project
- gateway question: scope
- section 1: the business proposition, including ODA eligibility and GEA compliance (4 questions)
- section 2: project details (4 questions)
- section 3: funding and added value (2 questions)
- 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 your responsibility to ensure that you do not upload a blank or incomplete application form.
- only use the application form provided as it contains specific information including a unique reference number for your project
- complete each field and submit a fully completed form as incomplete forms will be rejected
- not alter or convert the application form or it as a different version of Microsoft Word
- restrict your responses in each of the fields to the space provided.
- not change the typeface, font size and colour
- not include illustrations and graphics.
- check your completed application form in print layout as any text that can’t be seen in this view or when the form is printed will not be assessed
- not overwrite the light grey shaded fields, which are completed automatically from other information entered on the form, such as the total columns of a table
|Competition name||This field will show the full name of the Innovate UK 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 5 or 6 digit number after the dash).|
|Project title||Enter the full title of the project.|
|Theme||Please select from the dropdown list.|
|Research category||Please select from the dropdown list.|
|Project timescales||Enter the estimated start date and its planned duration. These are indicative at this stage and are not guaranteed.|
|Administrative lead organisation name||Enter the full registered name of the administrative lead organisation for the project. Please note that the lead organisation will be the main point of contact between Innovate UK and the project team.|
|Administrative lead organisation contact details||Enter the full name, postcode, email address and telephone number of the main point of contact between Innovate UK and the project.|
|Technical lead||Enter the full registered name and address of the technical lead organisation for the project.|
Summary of proposed project (not scored)
Please provide a short summary of the content and objectives of the project including what is innovative about it.
This summary is not scored, but provides an introduction to your proposal for the benefit of Innovate UK and DFID staff and assessors only. It will not be used for any public dissemination. It should cover, in brief:
- Development need or challenge. The development opportunity, business need, technological challenge or market opportunity to be addressed
- Approach and innovation. The approach to be taken and how this will improve on current state-of-the-art
- Outcomes. The difference the project will make to the competitiveness and productivity of the partners involved
Public description of the project (not scored)
To comply with government practice on openness and transparency of public-funded activities, Innovate UK 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. Funding is not provided to successful projects without this.
Gateway 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 relevant competition brief.
To demonstrate alignment, you need to show that a clear majority of the project’s objectives and activities are aligned with the specific competition.
4. Competition questions
All questions apply to all project partners and are scored out of 10 marks. Please answer using Arial font size 10.
Section 1: The business proposition
Question 1: What is the business opportunity that this project addresses?
Outline the business opportunity and what the project team needs to do to successfully address it within the preferred timeframe and cost.
Describe the nature of the international development challenge or issues facing you and/or your potential customers. How will the intended outputs of the project respond to these challenges and issues?
Question 2: What is the size of the market opportunity that this project might open up?
Describe the size of the market opportunities that this project might open up, including details of:
- the current nature of the specific market or markets at which the project is targeted, including whether it is characterised by price competition among commoditised suppliers or dominated by a single leading firm
- the dynamics of the market, including measuring its current size, and actual and predicted growth rates
- the projected market share for the project outcome, with justification in the light of any potential competitors
- the potential to add value to the economy of the developing country partner and/or the UK or European Economic Area (EEA)
Describe and clearly measure the return on investment that the project could achieve. Provide relevant source data references.
Where possible provide evidence for your statements about the target market for project outcomes. Outline your strategy for developing market share.
For highly innovative projects (see question 6) where the market may be unexplored, explain:
- what the route to market could or might be
- what its size might be
- how the project will explore the market potential
Question 3: How will the results of the project be exploited and disseminated?
List or describe the potential exploitable outputs of the project such as:
- products or services
Then describe how these outputs will be exploited including, where applicable:
- the route to market
- protection of intellectual property rights
- reconfiguration of the value system
- changes to business models and business processes
- other methods of exploitation and protection
- how they will deliver international development impact.
Where helpful to the exchange of best practice, and not damaging to commercial interests, the results from this work should be made public on a voluntary basis. A plan for the distribution of generic outputs from the funded project should be included.
Research organisations involved in a project and funded for undertaking non-economic activity should provide evidence in their answer of plans to distribute their project outputs over a reasonable timescale. The requirement for dissemination of research results is to secure wider benefit from the higher level of public support given to research organisations. For further information, please see the Innovate UK funding rules.
Question 4: Why is the project eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding and how is it compliant with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014?
To be eligible for DFID funding, applicants must clearly explain and give evidence for why and how their project fits within scope for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the Gender Equality Act (GEA).
What outcome or impact is the project expected to deliver for poor people in the target country, and over what timescale?
Proposals will be considered out of scope if they do not:
- show how they aim to ensure sustainable development, and thereby contribute to a reduction in poverty, or
- have the potential to improve the welfare of people in a developing country, including considering the impact on gender issues
You must explain how the project will, or has the potential to, deliver outcomes and impact in agriculture and food systems in Africa. How will it particularly help the poorest members of society, including women, girls and other disadvantaged groups? Explain what those benefits are and who will benefit. You should be clear about what will you do to ensure that there is a clear route to impact development after the project has ended.
Describe the benefits to the target country and project partners, and make a clear distinction between the two. Note that that for a project to be ODA eligible, the primary objective and outcome of the project must be to deliver impact in the target developing country. Benefits to the UK and UK partners must be secondary in nature.
You must upload an appendix (appendix Q4) to support this question. You must use a maximum of 2 sides of A4, in PDF format.
If assessors and funders consider that your project is not compliant with the ODA and GEA criteria, it cannot be funded. Generic statements such as “this project will deliver benefits for women because they make up 60% of farm workers” are not sufficient. You must clearly indicate how you will ensure impacts are delivered for target groups.
Section 2: Project details
Question 5: What technical approach will be adopted and how will the project be managed?
Provide an overview of the technical approach including the main objectives of the work. Describe the main areas of work together with their resource and management requirements. State who will be the technical lead and why they are suitable.
In evaluating this the assessors will consider whether:
- the technical approach and methodology are appropriate to the needs of the project
- the innovative steps are achievable through the proposed approach
- the project plan is sufficient for the complexity of the project, including whether there is detail to understand the tasks involved and the resources required
- the main milestones are realistic
- it demonstrates sufficient resource commitment and capability to undertake the project
- clear management reporting lines are identified
Describe rival technologies and alternative research and development (R&D) strategies and describe why your proposed approach will offer a better outcome.
You must submit a project plan that includes a chronological schedule of project activities presented in graphical form (such as a Gantt chart on one page). Clearly indicate the estimated time required for the completion of each main task in addition to milestones. Identify specific participant assignments for each task in the project plan even if this information was provided elsewhere. Task assignments for subcontractors and consultants must be separately identified and described with location of work.
The project plan must also include a work breakdown structure (WBS) detailing the planned time commitment for each task, covering the same project duration (see example in Table 1).
Table 1: Example work breakdown structure and estimated effort
|Task||Title||Task description||Start date||End date||Effort days|
You must include a project plan or Gantt chart in an appendix (Appendix Q5) in PDF format and up to 2 A4 pages long to support your answer.
If you are successful and offered funding, you will be required to submit a more detailed project plan that will be used to monitor project progress.
Question 6: What is innovative about this project?
Identify the extent to which the project is innovative, both commercially and technically.
In evaluating this section, assessors will consider whether:
- it pushes boundaries over and beyond current leading-edge world science and technology
- it is looking to apply existing technologies in new areas.
Highlight and explain the timeliness and novelty of the research aspects of the project in an industrial and/or academic context. Applications which are principally looking to de-risk are commercial investment, as opposed to de-risking innovation will not be considered eligible.
Describe any evidence you have to back up your belief that the intended work is innovative. This could include the results of patent searches, competitor analyses, literature surveys and so on. If applicable, you should also outline your own background intellectual property rights, as related to the project.
Question 7: What are the risks (technical, commercial and environmental) to project success? What is the project’s risk management strategy?
Innovate UK recognises that projects of this type are inherently risky, but we look for assurance that the projects we fund have adequate arrangements for managing this risk. Focus, therefore, on the arrangements for managing and mitigating risk by:
- Identifying the main risks and uncertainties of the project and providing a detailed risk analysis for the project content and approach. Include the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks as well as other uncertainties (for example ethical issues) associated with the project. The main risks should then be rated as high, medium or low (H/M/L)
- Stating how the project would avoid these main risks. You should tackle all significant and relevant risks and their mitigation
- Identifying vital project management tools and mechanisms that will be used to help minimise operational risk and promote a successful project outcome. This should include arrangements for managing the project team and its partners
You can submit a risk register as an appendix (Appendix Q7) in PDF format up to 2 A4 pages long to support your answer.
Question 8: Do the project team have the right skills, experience and access to facilities to deliver the identified benefits?
Describe the track record of the project team members in undertaking and exploiting the results of R&D projects. This should highlight your capability to develop and exploit the technology.
Describe or explain:
- the track record of the project team members in undertaking and exploiting the results of R&D projects. This should highlight your capability to develop and exploit the technology
- the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project that will enable you to deliver the project successfully
- your formation objectives
- whether the team would have been formed without investment from this competition
- the additional benefits that will come from the collaboration, such as increased knowledge transfer
- the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
You can submit a single appendix (Appendix Q8) in PDF format up to 2 A4 pages long to support your answer to this question.
You must also upload an up-to-date working draft of your collaboration agreement (CA) (appendix Q8-collaboration agreement). If your application is successful, the final collaboration agreement must be signed by all consortium members in the developing country and the UK before the grant is confirmed. Please see the Lambert Toolkit for example formats. Please note that UK and developing country partners are free to develop alternative formats for their CA, as long as they include clauses on IP management, dispute resolution and governing law.
Section 3: Funding and added value (10 points per question = 20 points in total)
Question 9: What is the financial commitment required for the project?
Detail the estimated project cost, making clear the level of contribution from any project participants and the level of funding required. This information should be provided in the financial summary table in the application form.
Provide supporting information and an explanation of project costs. These must be consistent with the category of R&D being undertaken within each work package. Please see the guidance section of our website for further details on our funding rules.
Important: If the project spans more than one type of funding (for example because significant work packages are in both early stage feasibility studies and late stage experimental development), you must describe and justify the breakdown of costs between them within the answer to this question.
In evaluating this question the assessors will consider whether:
- the budget is realistic for the scale and complexity of the project
- the financial support required from this competition fits within the limits set by the specific competition
- a financial commitment from other sources is demonstrated for the balance of the project costs
- a realistic budget breakdown has been provided
- any work package breakdowns have been described and justified adequately
Find out more about eligible and ineligible project costs.
Make sure that all vital finance project points you wish the assessors to consider are included in the main body of your application form, or in the relevant appendix. These are the main documents used within the assessment process.
Question 10: How does financial support from Innovate UK and its funding collaborators add value?
Provide evidence that successful delivery of your project will increase the total amount of money the project team spends on R&D in the UK.
And either: * why the funding is required for the project to be able to proceed or * how funding through this competition would allow you to undertake the project differently, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk and why this would be beneficial to the UK
This table lists the total eligible project costs by contributor. 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 finance forms.
|Provide the full names of the administrative lead organisation and any collaborators in the project consortium (using the organisation names from Companies House). Please indicate the technical lead organisation in the project consortium, if different from the administrative lead organisation.|
Organisation registration number
|Companies should provide the company registration number (as noted in Companies House). Universities and higher education institutes should enter their RC number, charitable status, legal entity registration number or equivalent.|
|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 where majority of work will be done
|Provide the postcode of each organisation participating in the project. For African country partners provide the town and city.|
Contribution to the project by each organisation (£)
|List the total contribution to be made to the project by each organisation.|
Funding sought from Innovate UK (£)
|Enter the funding sought from this competition for each contributing organisation.|
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 Innovate UK 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.|
8. Finance form for all applicants
Each non-academic contributor in your project, including non-UK Academics must provide a project finance form using the template ‘Project finance form’ , which is available on the FTP site. This must be submitted with the application form by the lead applicant. Each finance form provides a detailed breakdown on each contributor’s total eligible project costs listed in your finance summary table.
9. Project appendices
You can include optional appendices to support your responses to application questions 7 and 8. You must also submit 3 mandatory appendices: 2 in support of your responses to application questions 4 and 5, and a draft collaboration agreement to support question 8.
The guidance for these questions describes what you can include in each appendix.
Any additional appendices submitted will not be sent for assessment.
So that assessors can open and read the appendices, each appendix must:
- conform to the maximum length specifications stated for each question
- use Arial font size 10
- be submitted in portable document format (PDF)
- be legible at 100% zoom
- have a clear filename that includes the ‘application number’ as in the filename of the application form and shows which question it is supporting, for example ‘Appendix Q2-(application number)’
Please do not submit appendices longer than the specified lengths. Assessors are instructed to only read appendices to the lengths specified in the guidance.
Additional information for UK applicants
Customer Support Services, Innovate UK, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1FL.
Competition helpline: 0300 321 4357 (Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:30pm)