New Challenge Call for Network innovations with up to £30,000 worth of support for SMEs

Energy Systems Catapult is inviting businesses with solutions that address the critical innovation challenges in the electricity and gas system to apply for incubation and acceleration support worth up to £30,000.

Successful applicants will receive incubation and acceleration support to develop and strengthen their ideas and businesses ready for future applications to relevant network innovation funding streams such as the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) and Network Allowance (NIA).

This call seeks innovations aligned with the four Ofgem SIF challenge areas announced in May 2022. Listed below, these incorporate a focus on transport, heat, data and integration across the gas and electricity energy networks:

  • Supporting a just energy transition: new ways to identify and support vulnerable customers and help those who are disadvantaged, fuel poor or off the gas grid to reduce heat and mobility carbon emissions
  • Preparing for a net zero power system: new ways to support low-stability systems and to use new sources of energy supply and demand to help manage grids
  • Improving energy system resilience and robustness: ways to develop multi-energy systems and make them more resilient, and strengthening energy system robustness so that new infrastructure can be rolled out efficiently
  • Accelerating decarbonisation of major energy demands: ways to manage and integrate large-scale demands from heat and transport, integrating heat networks for wider energy network management and improving energy efficiency at all levels in the system.

The programme will have two streams.

Stream 1: Provides up to 10 businesses with rapid value proposition and business model design that would prepare them for an application for SIF Discovery phase funding in 2023 or equivalent in other innovation funding competitions.

Stream 2: Provides up to 5 of these businesses with additional bespoke support to accelerate development and growth and would be relevant to SME’s considering SIF Alpha or Beta stage funding or simply in need of scale up support.

Successful applicants will benefit from access to energy systems expertise relevant to the 4 challenges areas above that could include: ​

  • Whole Energy Systems
  • Systems Integration​
  • Power Systems​
  • Consumer Insights and Vulnerable Customers
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Market, Policy and Regulation
  • Digital systems and interoperability
  • Test and Demonstration facilities

ESC has established an advisory group including Innovate UK Strategic Innovation Fund, EIC, ENA and PNDC to ensure close alignment and coordination of support to innovators.

Interested? Let us know by taking 2 minutes to complete an Expression of Interest form and we’ll send a link to the application form.

For clarification, your expression of interest is to participate in the ESC’s Networks Innovator Challenge Call for incubation and acceleration support.  Any project proposals seeking energy network consideration for SIF challenges should be submitted via the EIC Opportunities portal or ENA Smarter Networks Portal

The application deadline is midday on Monday 22 August.

Networks Innovation Challenge Call - Register your Expression of Interest

SMEs developing solutions that address the critical innovation challenges in the electricity and gas system

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