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Made Smarter Innovation: Industry ready Robotics and Automation UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £6 million for late-stage robotics and automation innovation projects. This is to develop industrially ready solutions deployable within manufacturing processes in factories. Eligibility This competition is open to collaborations only. To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size. Open now Opened: 18 January 2023 Closes: 5 April 2023

Programme: Innovate Uk

Award:

Opens: 18 January 2023

Closes: 5 April 2023

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £6 million in innovation projects. These will be for innovation in late-stage robotics and automation to increase productivity, sustainability and resilience within manufacturing processes.

The aim of this competition is to develop and demonstrate industrially ready robotics and automation solutions deployable within a factory production area.

Your proposal must:

  • deliver an innovative digital development or significantly novel application of robotics and automation
  • overcome a technical barrier within manufacturing processes in a factory production area

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £200,000 and £4 million.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £200,000 and £4 million
  • not exceed the maximum grant limit of 50% of your total costs
  • start by 1 October 2023
  • end by 31 December 2024
  • last between 9 months and 15 months
  • involve at least one factory
  • include both manufacturing and digital technology capabilities in your consortium
  • be applicable to at least one manufacturing sector
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

We encourage projects that cover multiple manufacturing sectors.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

If your project’s total costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@iuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Academic institutions and research and technology organisations (RTOs) cannot lead.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on two applications within this competition but can be included as a collaborator in a further two applications.

If a business is not leading any application it can collaborate in up to four applications within this competition.

Research organisations, charities, not for profit, public sector organisations and research and technology organisations (RTO), can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

Funding

Up to £6 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The total grant funding request for your project must not exceed 50% of your total project costs. This limit applies regardless of the individual partners grant claims or research category chosen.

Individual organisations may need to adjust their grant request, for projects to remain within the overall maximum grant limit against total project costs. Research organisation costs must be taken into account to ensure that the total grant applied for does not exceed these limits.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Projects that span more than one category of research must enter the research category that reflects the majority of your work. If your work is going to be evenly split across categories please email support@iuk.ukri.org.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation
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