SBRI: Fusion Industry Challenges - phase 1 Organisations can apply for a share of £2 million, inclusive of VAT, to develop solutions to encourage innovation in the fusion industry, through the use of novel and innovative heating and cooling systems, materials, manufacturing and technologies. Eligibility To lead a project, you can: be an organisation of any size work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. Open now Opened: 9 May 2022 Closes: 22 June 2022

Programme: Innovate Uk


Opens: 9 May 2022

Closes: 22 June 2022


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). The aim of the competition is to develop solutions to fusion energy challenges in two themes for key priority areas.

1. Driving up fusion power plant performance with innovative heating and cooling systems.

2. Improving fusion power plant availability with novel fusion materials, technology, and manufacture.

This is phase 1 of a potential 2 phase competition. The decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1 and assessment of a separate application into a subsequent phase 2 competition.

Only the successful applicants from phase 1 will be invited to apply to take part in phase 2.

In applying to this phase 1 competition you are entering into a competitive process.

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.

This competition closes at 11am UK time on the date of the deadline.

Funding type


Project size

Phase 1 projects can range in size with total costs of between £50,000 and £200,000, inclusive of VAT.

Who can apply

Your project

Projects must:

  • end by 31 March 2023
  • last between 3 to 6 months

Your project is expected to start by 1 September 2022


To lead a project, you can:

  • be an eligible organisation of any size with a UK registration or registered office
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
  • applicants are welcome from all sectors

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

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only.

Subcontracting is encouraged where it will improve the proposal. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.


A total of up to £2 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to phase 1. The funding is provided by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

The Phase 1 feasibility study R&D contracts will be between £50,000 and £200,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to 6 months. We expect to fund up to 10 projects.

Phase 2 involves up to 5 contracts being awarded to organisations chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £1,000,000 inclusive of VAT will be allocated for each contract, to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to 18 months.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

The contract is completed at the end of the competition, and the successful organisation is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

You must select whether you are VAT registered before entering your project costs.

VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business. We will not provide any further advice and suggest you to seek independent advice from HMRC.

VAT registered

If you select you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. As part of the application process VAT will be automatically calculated and added to your project cost total. Your total project costs must not exceed £200,000.

Not VAT registered

If you select you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT and no VAT will be added. You will not be able to increase total project costs to cover VAT later should you become VAT registered. Your total project costs must not exceed £200,000.

Research and development

Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Subsidy control

SBRI competitions involve procurement of R&D services at a fair market value and are not subject to subsidy control criteria that typically apply to grant funding.
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