The Accelerating the Green Economy Centres programme will fund innovative Centres that underpin emerging green markets in the UK. The Centres will bring together research clusters with business, local stakeholders and partners to co-develop and co-deliver research focused on market informed grand challenges to accelerate the exploitation and commercialisation of green solutions in a way that brings benefits to geographies across the UK.
The Centres should aim to drive the translation of fundamental research through to development and deployment of emerging green solutions by attracting private investment, creating business opportunities and driving economic activity. The Centres should be based in the most appropriate location in the UK for the challenge identified. Centres should demonstrate how they will establish and maintain world leading research, translation, and commercialisation activities, to grow and strengthen the flow of private capital investment, thereby accelerating the local and national green economy.
We are seeking to fund up to five pioneering, collaborative, challenge-led, co-designed Accelerating the Green Economy Centres to support the creation of green solutions to market-informed grand challenges. You must demonstrate meaningful engagement, collaboration and integration with key partners which could include businesses, investors, civic bodies, potential customers and other researchers. The partners will be appropriate to the challenge, target location and build a critical mass of capacity and capability within the emerging green market identified. We expect the leadership and governance of the Centre to reflect the partnership required to develop and deliver solutions to the challenge being addressed in the target location.
Accelerating the Green Economy Centres will:
- attract private investment to be deployed effectively in clean, green solutions as emerging markets mature
- cluster the local capabilities of towns, cities, rural economies and regions to enhance success
- accelerate the exploitation and commercialisation of new knowledge, innovations or solutions through co-investment and partnerships
- tackle specific, emerging industry-led research and innovation priorities to support the scale up and adoption of green economy solutions
- test and deploy green economy solutions and technologies in geographies across the UK
Accelerating the Green Economy Centres should:
- be co-created and co-delivered between academia, business and critical stakeholder organisations for example, local government, in response to emerging sector opportunities where the UK can build strategic advantage
- build upon established research-based collaborations across academia, business, policymakers and the third sector
- undertake collaborative research projects, proof of concept studies and market development activities with business, working on sector informed challenges, facilitating technology transfer and knowledge exchange among participants
- be focused on market creation activities that build on the needs and capabilities of a defined location in the UK, the policy and standards requirements, and the investment criteria of private investors
- be transdisciplinary in nature, collaborating across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, taking a solutions-focused approach to the opportunity
- support companies and small and medium enterprises (SME) developing new products, services and business models based on fundamental research and development activities to enable translation through to higher Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), including the creation of prototypes and operational demonstrators
- increase the level of industrial and commercial investment in research and development (R&D) activities with existing UK based companies, attract foreign direct investments in corporate R&D laboratories and leverage funding from alternative sources
- partner with local and national governments to anchor private investment in locations across the UK
To ensure that research outcomes can be fully exploited by industry, UKRI expects to see clear evidence of genuine, substantive partnerships, including co-creation and co-delivery with business in the development of new products, services, and business models.
It is anticipated that leveraged funding (including in-kind) of at least 25% to every £1 of UKRI funding at application stage will be required. You should demonstrate a plan to reach 100% match funding over the lifetime of the grant, along with plans for future self-sufficiency of the centre.
UKRI seeks to foster greater collaboration and networking between researchers, business and civic bodies to deliver research and skills outcomes vital to the long-term prosperity of communities and regions of the UK.
We expect activities to be anchored in geographies across the UK, both in the short term and to embed private investment for long term growth. You should choose a location to anchor activities that provide the best chance of success to facilitate the growth of a new market opportunity.
These regional activities may include but are not restricted to:
- local and regional skills development, job creation or retention
- critical mass activities leading to increased private investment, including foreign direct investment, in specific geographies
- contributions to cluster development, for example through knowledge diffusion, supply chain development, SME growth, generation, or growth of spin outs
Applications will be assessed on their potential to contribute to local and national development; balancing the capabilities, needs and opportunities the location presents.
We welcome nationally strategic, bold, innovative applications addressing pressing challenges in any emergent UK green market. The examples below are challenges that could be addressed and are intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive.
Net zero buildings retrofit for improved welfare
Using whole systems approaches to reduce heating demand and improve performance of our built environment, protecting vulnerable people and ensuring resilience of the power grid. Through place-based clustering of activities that deliver deep improvements to building performance; using appropriate solutions tailored to local needs, resources and expertise.
We would expect to see energy companies, local authorities, owners and developers of building portfolios, the construction supply chain, health and social care providers and third sector organisations working together to develop solutions. With solutions bringing together net zero technologies, business models and the finance to target help for the vulnerable and reduce fuel poverty, significantly reducing pressure on local health and social care services, by accelerating the adoption of accessible and affordable innovations for fabric, heating and provision of energy services.
Local hydrogen development and rollout
Discovering and adopting solutions to exploit the opportunities offered by hydrogen in local economies including local production, distribution and use cases that meet the specific needs of different users.
Partners are likely to include businesses with an active involvement or interest in the hydrogen supply chain and end users of hydrogen and civic bodies including local authorities, councils, or combined authorities, devolved administrations and their agencies, regional and local industrial bodies.
With outcomes exploiting the development of a hydrogen value chains to reduce commercial and technical risk and accelerate the journey to end use.
Designing and manufacturing net zero products
Transforming products to be net-zero by design through innovative design solutions that secure a reduced carbon footprint and increase energy and resource efficiency throughout product lifecycles.
Key stakeholders could include companies of different sizes across sectors and supply chains, as well as relevant industry bodies and research and technology organisations and critically the procurers of manufactured products and civic stakeholders.
With a focus on net-zero products that are designed and manufactured using design and manufacturing capabilities that draw on the specialisations and heritage of the region.
The duration of this award is 48 months.
Centres have a fixed start date and must start by 1 July 2024.
Up to £25 million will be available to support the creation of up to five centres.
The FEC of your project can be up to £5 million.