Analysis for Innovators Round 6 opens for applications

Posted on: 26/07/2021
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Innovate UK has just announced the details of their A4I Round 6 competition, which opens for applications on Thursday 29th July 2021.

Analysis for Innovators (A4I) is a very different type of programme from Innovate UK. It is focused on helping individual companies solve tricky and, perhaps, long running technical problems affecting existing processes, products or services.

A4I Overview

The programme’s aim is to help boost a company’s productivity or competitiveness by enabling the UK’s top scientists, using their other world-class facilities, to work with companies to address problems in innovative ways.

The current Round 6 of the competition builds upon the experiences of the previous 5 Rounds.  It continues to focus on brokering successful relationships between UK companies and the UK’s National Measurement Institutes (NPL, NEL, NML and STFC) and then grant-funding follow-on projects to address the company’s problems.

Key to the success of A4I are the Brokerage Meetings that are arranged between the companies and experts from the A4I partners. These meetings allow the company to discuss their problem with experts who want to work with the company to address the problem.

Each Competition is divided into three distinct parts:

  • Stage 1 – Expression of Interest
  • The Brokerage Meetings
  • Stage 2 – Application for a funded project

Stage 1 – Expression of Interest (EoI) Stage

Applications to the EoI Stage will open on Thursday 29th July.

Round 6 is open to micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SMEs).

Each application should cover an issue that impacts the company’s productivity or competitiveness. As well as the responses to 3 questions about the problem the company is trying to address, the applicant must produce a video (up to 2 minutes) that illustrates the problem.

In the video you can show the production line, products, diagrams or a presentation. The quality of the video is not critical – it could be made using a smart phone or a webcam.

It is important that an application includes details of the potential economic benefit (£k) from solving the issue – this should be a “best estimate” with some explanation.

After the closing date (Wednesday 18th August at 11:00) each application is checked to ensure it meets the scope of this round and then reviewed by each of the partners.  Successful applications are those that are in scope and where one or more partners believe they can assist the company.

Successful applicants at this EoI stage will be invited to brokerage consultations with relevant A4I partners. These meetings will focus on potential approaches to solve the problem.

They will then work together to propose joint proposals to address the problem which are submitted to Stage 2 of the competition.  Successful Stage 2 applications will be grant funded, through the special drawing rights funding scheme.

The Brokerage Meetings

Every successful applicant from Stage 1 is invited to one, or more, meetings with experts from the partners who can potentially help the company solve its problem.
These initial meetings allow a more detailed discussion of the company’s problem and how the partner might approach a solution. They are the first step towards defining a costed project for Stage 2.

Key Dates:
6th September – Notification Stage 1 Results
8th September – Initial details of Brokerage Meetings
10th September – Start of Brokerage Meetings
20th September – Final Date for Brokerage Meetings

Phase 2 – Project Application

Every company that has been successful at Stage 1 will be invited to apply for a grant funded project (100% funding).

The requirements for the projects are:

  • Total eligible project cost up to £50k
  • The project length should be 3 months
  • Project must start by January 2022
  • Project must end by 31st March 2022
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • involve at least one of the A4I co-funding partner organisations

The application form will be similar to a normal Innovate UK funding application – except that there will be a reduced number of questions.  The application should include the project costs of both the company and the partner(s). Grant funding will be applied to the total project costs.

Note: More information on Stage 2 will be issued (by invitation only) after the close of Stage 1.

Find out more by attending the briefing event on Tuesday 27th July 2021

By attending, you will gain crucial insights into the scope and eligibility criteria, as well as tips for applying for this two stage competition. Register here.

You can also gain additional application advice and additional support, by contacting the KTN team on:

More information on the funding competition can be found here.

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