A4I Programme

The Analysis for Innovators (A4I) Competition has been running since 2016. Round 7 launched on 28th March 2022.

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

For further advice or support, please contact KTN email: A4I@ktn-uk.org

A4I Overview

The Analysis for Innovators (A4I) Competition has been running since 2016. Round 7 launched on 28th March 2022.

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.

A4I Round 7 of the competition is now live, this builds upon the experiences of the previous 6 Rounds.  It continued to focus on brokering successful relationships between UK companies and the partners and then grant-funding follow-on projects to address the company’s problem.

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 EoI Stage – opened on 28 March.

Round 7 is open to business of any size through two streams.

Stream 1 Mini projects, SME only, max £50k and 3 months.

Analysis for Innovators Mini Projects

Stream 2, longer projects, any size business, max £150k and 3-6 months

Analysis for Innovators long projects

All projects must end by March 31st 2023

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 20th April 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 funded through MFA (replaces SDR) if a mini project, or as a match funded grant under longer projects.

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 May – Notification Stage 1 Results
9th May – Initial details of Brokerage Meetings
16th May – Start of Brokerage Meetings
20th May – Final Date for Brokerage Meetings

Stage 2 – Project Application

Every company that has been successful at Stage 1 will be invited to apply for a grant funded project (either 100% for Mini project or match funded for longer projects).

In addition to timings and max costs, the requirements for the projects are:

  • To 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: Information on Stage 2 will be issued (by invitation only) after the close of Stage 1.

For application advice and additional support, please email:  A4I@ktn-uk.org

Analysis for Innovators
NPL NEL NML