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UKRI Circular fashion programme: recycling and sorting demonstrator UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £4 million for a demonstration of innovative technologies, services and processes for the UK’s Fashion and Textile sector. Eligibility This competition is open to collaborations only. To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size. You must be or involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).

Programme: Innovate Uk

Award:

Opens: 14 November 2022

Closes: 11 January 2023

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to invest up to £4 million in an innovation project. This will be to develop and demonstrate closed-loop recycling for the fashion and textile sector at scale. This is the initial activity of a £15 million UKRI Circular Fashion Programme.

The aim of this competition is to fund a research and development activity demonstrator. This will demonstrate new technologies, services, processes and business models capable of addressing the recycling and sorting challenges, as part of the UK’s fashion and textile sector and their direct supply chains.

Your proposal must be for a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, demonstration project.

Your project must support a demonstration of innovation at an industrially relevant scale, which will:

  • increase the proportion of postconsumer fashion and textiles that are retained in a closed loop system
  • increase the market value of processed post-consumer fashion and textiles
  • reduce the proportion of post-consumer fashion and textiles which is sent to landfill, destroyed or exported
  • develop and disseminate best practices in technologies, services, processes and business models to wider industry and policy makers

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 grant funding request must be between £3 million and £4 million.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £3 million and £4 million
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 18 and 22 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

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 grant funding request 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
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • involve at least one academic institution (can be non grant claiming)
  • involve at least one relevant trade association (can be non grant claiming)

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

Innovate UK encourage collaborations from the fashion and textile supply chain including:

  • manufacturers
  • retailers
  • recyclers

Project team

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

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

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, for example non-UK businesses. 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 one application and cannot be included as a collaborator in any further application.

If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

Previous applications

You cannot 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 UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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 UK Subsidy Control regime 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.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

Up to £4 million has been allocated to fund an innovation project in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

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 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

Research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the grant funding request.

Each research organisation can claim a maximum of 20% of the grant funding request. For example, you can have two research organisations each claiming 20% and a third claiming 10%.

Of that 50% 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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