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Transforming UK construction: Competition process - Julie Brown and Lydia Weir-Blankenstein, Innovate UK


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As part of the Clean Growth Grand Challenge within the Government’s Industrial Strategy, a £420m Construction Sector Deal was announced in 2018. A key part of the Sector Deal is an investment by the Government of £170m in the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) in line with the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) Strategy and the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES).

£10m MMC, Digital and Whole-Life Performance (CR&D) Programme: UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £10m for CR&D projects that go beyond the state-of-the-art in improving productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.

£26m Demonstrator Programme: An investment of up to £26m is available in Demonstrator projects that demonstrate improvements in productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector. These will include new validations of business models, digital approaches to design, construction and management, advancements in modern methods of construction and approaches to whole-life performance of a building or assets.

The webcast recording is now available:

Find out more about the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund at

Published in: Technology
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Transforming UK construction: Competition process - Julie Brown and Lydia Weir-Blankenstein, Innovate UK

  1. 1. Transforming UK construction round 2: MMC, digital and whole- life performance & Transforming UK construction: demonstrator projects Applicant Briefing 4th September 2019
  2. 2. • Julie Brown – Senior Portfolio Manager • Lydia Weir- Blankenstein – Portfolio Manager Welcome and Introductions
  3. 3. • Eligibility Criteria • The Innovation Funding Service • Application Finances • Academic partners • Submitting your application • Assessment • Project set-up for successful applicants • Q&A Agenda
  4. 4. Eligibility Criteria
  5. 5. Resubmission Not a resubmission A resubmission is: an application Innovate UK judges as not materially different from one you've submitted before (but it can be updated based on the assessors' feedback) A brand new application/project/idea that you have not previously submitted into an Innovate UK competition OR A previously unsuccessful or ineligible application:  has been updated based on assessor feedback  and is materially different from the application submitted before  and fits with the scope of this competition Resubmissions The CR&D competition does allow resubmissions, The Demonstrator competition does not
  6. 6. Demonstrator CRD Project Eligibility  Lead must be a UK-based business of any size or RTO  Must be collaborate with other UK businesses, research organisations or charities  Involve at least one SME  You must carry out your project in the UK  Exploit the results from / in the UK Project cost £500,000 to £8,000,000 £150,000 to £1,500,000 Project length Between 12 to 24 months Projects to start by 1 Apr 20 and end by 31 Mar 22 Eligibility criteria
  7. 7. •Business – Small/Micro, Medium or Large (EU definition) •Research Organisation (RO): • Universities (HEIs) • Non profit distributing Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) including Catapults • Public Sector Research Establishments (PSRE) • Research Council Institutes (RCI) •Public sector organisations and charities doing research activity •Must be based in the UK •Check out the EU definition of a business (it may affect the grant you are able to claim) •If you are 100% owned by a large parent company as a small subsidiary this means by EU rules you are classed as a large company and will only be entitled to the relevant grant Types of organisations we fund
  8. 8. Eligibility for State Aid • Innovate UK is offering funding for this competition under the General Block Exemption Regulation. This is available to eligible UK businesses. • We are unable to grant funding to limited liability companies meeting the condition known as ‘undertakings in difficulty’. • This is where more than half of a company’s subscribed share capital has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. • This test only applies to companies that are more than 3 years old. • If you have a parent company the test can be performed on your parent or holding company. • When submitting an application you must certify that you are eligible for state aid. If you are unsure, please take legal advice before applying. • Should you be successful, we will apply this test as part of our viability checks before confirming the grant offer. • Further information is available on our website in the general guidance under state aid
  9. 9. • The aim of our State Aid scheme is to: • optimise the level of funding to business and • recognise the importance of research base to project • At least 70% of total eligible project costs must be incurred by business • The maximum level (30% of project costs) is shared by all research organisations in the project Participation Rules
  10. 10. In all collaborative projects there must be: • at least two organisations claiming grant within the application (including the lead) • a business or RTO-led consortium, which may involve both business and the research base and • evidence of effective collaboration • we would expect to see the structure and rationale of the collaboration described in the application. What is collaboration?
  11. 11. Making more than one application • Any one business or RTO can lead on one application and collaborate in a further two applications • If a business is not leading on an application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications • If an RTO is the lead on an application it must collaborate with 2 businesses (one SME, and one other business of any size) • If an RTO is not the lead on any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications • If an application is unsuccessful, you can use the feedback received to reapply for the same project into either another round of this competition or another competition. A project proposal can only be submitted twice
  12. 12. Other Innovate UK projects • If you have an outstanding final claim and/or Independent Accountant Report (IAR) on a live Innovate UK project, you will not be eligible to apply for grant funding in this competition, as a lead or a partner organisation. • If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole company and were awarded funding by Innovate UK, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you.
  13. 13. Timeline Dates Demonstrator Dates CRD Competition Opens 28 August 2019 28 August 2019 Briefing Event 4 September 2019 4 September 2019 Submission Deadline 6 November 2019 30 October 2019 Interviews 6-9 January 2020 N/A Applicants informed 17 January 2020 13 December 2029 Key Dates
  14. 14. The Innovation Funding Service (IFS)
  15. 15. Search for a funding competition and review criteria
  16. 16. Applicant: create an account To create your account: UK based businesses - Use Companies House lookup as it speeds up our checks by providing your company number and your are unable to enter it at a later date Research organisations, academics & Universities - Enter your information manually so you’re not listed as a business on IFS and ensure you receive the correct funding
  17. 17. Project Details • Application Team - Collaborators: Invite organisations who you are working with on the project - Contributors: Invite colleagues from your own organisation to help you complete your application • Application Details - Title, Timescales, Research Category, Innovation Area & Resubmission (y/n) • Project Summary - Short summary and objectives of the project including what is innovative about it • Public Description - Description of your project which will be published if you are successful • Scope - How does your project align with the scope of this competition? - If your project is not in scope, it will be ineligible for funding
  18. 18. Application form Question 1 Need or challenge Question 2 Approach and innovation Question 3 Team and resources Question 4 Market awareness Question 5 Outcomes and route to market Question 6 Wider impacts Question 7 Project management Question 8 Risks Question 9 Added Value Question 10 Costs and value for money Appendix Q3 Appendix Q7 Appendix Q8 Appendix Q2 Application Questions Detailed Guidance Available on IFS
  19. 19. Application Finances
  20. 20. Labour costs Ineligible: •Dividends •Bonuses •Non productive time Eligible: • Staff working directly on project. • Paid by PAYE • NI, pension, non- discretionary costs. Labour
  21. 21. Overheads • Innovate UK’s definition: • Additional costs and operational expenses incurred directly as a result of the project. These could include additional costs for administrative staff, general IT, rent and utilities • Indirect (administration) overheads • please ensure they are additional and directly attributable to the delivery of the project • Direct overheads • E.g. office utilities, IT infrastructure, laptop provision not covered by capital usage • must be directly attributable to the project • Provide detailed breakdown together with methodology/basis of apportionment
  22. 22. Material costs Please be clear on what the materials are, just putting consumables doesn’t provide enough detail and we will request more information should you be successful
  23. 23. Capital equipment usage Eligible: • Used in the project or shared with day-to-day production Calculations will need to be inline with your accounting practices. Even if the equipment is depreciated fully over the life of the project this must be added under capital equipment.
  24. 24. Sub-contractors Eligible: • Justified and quantified •If using non-UK sub-contractors are being used you will need to provide strong justification on why an UK-based sub-contractor is not being used •If you’re sub-contracting to a parent or sister company, please ensure you list at cost and do not include profit.
  25. 25. Travel & Subsistence Eligible: Costs must be directly linked to the project Please breakdown your costs as follows: • Travel • Accommodation • Subsistence If you have an annual trip to visit the parent company this is not an eligible cost
  26. 26. Other costs Eligible: • Costs that could not be added under previous headings. • Do not double count • Patent filing costs for new IP – SMEs up to £7,500
  27. 27. Funding • Funding rules • The level of funding awarded will depend upon the type of organisation and the type of research being undertaken in the project • Funding is calculated by project participant • IFS will advise the maximum grant % you can request based upon your answers to: • Type (and size) of organisation • Research category defined by the lead applicant in the Application Details section of the application
  28. 28. Funding dependent upon type of organisation Organisation / Type of Activity Technical Feasibility Studies and Industrial Research Experimental Development Notes Business (economic activity) Micro/Small – 70% Medium – 60% Large – 50% Micro/Small – 45% Medium – 35% Large – 25% Research Organisation (non-economic activity) Universities – 100% (80% of Full Economic Costs) Other research organisations can claim 100% of their project costs – see note: Other research organisations must: • be non-profit distributing and • disseminate the project results & • explain in the application form how this will be done Public Sector Organisation or Charity (non-economic activity) 100% of eligible costs Must be: • Be performing research activity & • disseminate project results & explain in the application form how this will be done • ensure that the eligible costs do not include work / costs already funded from other public sector bodies
  29. 29. Academic Partners
  30. 30. Why Je-S? • We use the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submission System (Je-S) to collect academic finances • The Je-S system automates the collection of Full Economic Costs (FEC) based costs from academic partners and tells them exactly what numbers should be used in the application form for their costs • Also to collect project finance details from non-HEIs (e.g. RTOs) that are claiming they are carrying out academic quality work and want to be funded on an FEC basis • Using Je-S means that Innovate UK follows standard Research Council guidelines on funding universities and enables Research Councils to easily co-fund Innovate UK projects
  31. 31. • Enter the TSB reference number here • Enter the TSB Contribution column figures from your J-eS output document into the project costs section of the application • Upload the Je-S with council status form as a PDF at the bottom of the screen Project costs – academic partners
  32. 32. Normal Je-S application elements • Not just the financials • E.g. Justification of resources • E.g Pathways to impact • Full details on the Je-S system • Queries about Je-S via the Je-S Helpdesk • • 01793 444164
  33. 33. Submitting your application
  34. 34. Project cost summary All organisations can see a summary of project costs Ensure the highlighted costs fits the criteria for this competition
  35. 35. Checking your finances are complete • IFS checks • all organisations have marked their finances as complete • research organisation participation is no greater than 30% of the total project costs
  36. 36. Submit your application early!
  37. 37. Assessment
  38. 38. Application Assessment • All applications are assessed by independent assessors drawn from industry and academia • What do they look for? • Clear and concise answers • The right amount of information • not too much detail • no assumptions • Quantification and justification • A proposal that presents a viable opportunity for growth, a level of innovation that necessitates public sector investment and has the right team and approach to be successful Keep your assessors engaged and interested in your proposal. You want them to be fascinated and excited by your idea!
  39. 39. Assessor feedback
  40. 40. Interviews • If you are invited to progress to interview: • You can bring up to four people to attend the interview • You will have 30 minutes to present a maximum of 30 PowerPoint slides, with no videos or embedded links • There will be an up to 60 minute Q&A session lead by members of the panel • You will have an opportunity to respond to the assessor feedback so the panel can read it prior to interview • The response to feedback, presentations and presenters’ names have to be provided ahead of the interview
  41. 41. Project setup for successful applicants
  42. 42. IFS for successful applicants Project Set up: • 8 steps to complete • Applicable to all grant claiming partners • Must be completed within 30 days • Projects must start within 90 days or funding may be withdrawn • Confirmation of your bank account is required to ensure we are paying the correct organisation you may be asked to provide a redacted bank statement to confirm this • Project change requests cannot be submitted before the project starts
  43. 43. Collaboration Agreement • Original agreement signed by all participants • Key Features: • Who is in the Consortium? • What are the aims, and how is the work divided up? • Ownership of IPR • Management of consortium • Negotiating a Collaboration Agreement can be complex and time consuming. Start work on this at an early stage in the process.
  44. 44. Grant claims and payments • All grants are claimable quarterly in arrears • Claims can only be made for costs incurred and paid between the project start and end dates • Claims may be subject to an independent audit (including all academic partners) according to grant size • Claims are only paid once quarterly reporting and necessary audits are complete • Projects over 6 months are monitored on a quarterly basis including a visit from the appointed Monitoring Officer. Anything outside of this will be discussed on a case by case basis. • The monitoring will be carried out against a detailed project plan and financial forecast
  45. 45. Project Change Requests (PCR) • We are unable to process any PCR’s before the Grant Offer Letter is issued • If a member of your collaboration has failed UID and is unable to resolve you will be advised to withdraw and apply into the next round of the competition • PCR’s will only be agreed and authorised by Head of Operational Delivery
  46. 46. Contact us: Customer Support Services: 0300 321 4357 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5:30pm) Knowledge Transfer Network: Innovate UK: Q&A – Application process and finances