The Analysis for Innovators (A4I) Competition has been running since 2016 and is now in the fifth round of funding.
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.
The programme’s aim is to help boost a company’s productivity or competitiveness by enabling the UK’s top scientists using their world-class facilities, often otherwise inaccessible, to work with companies to address problems in innovative ways.
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.
The current fifth round of the programme builds upon that experience. 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.
Each Round of the competition is divided into three distinct parts:
- Phase 1 – Expression of Interest
- The Brokerage Meetings
- Phase 2 – Applications for grant funding for a project
Phase 1 – Expression of Interest
The competition for Round 5 Phase 1 – Expression of Interest – will open on the 29th July
A company, of any size, can make up to two applications to Round Five. 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 3 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 from solving the issue – this should be a “best estimate” with some explanation.
After the closing date (4th September) 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.
For Round 5 Phase 2 the competition will support to competition streams:
- Stream 1 – up to £1m to fund short projects (up to 3 months) – these can receive de minimis (100%) funding
- Stream 2 – up to £3m to fund larger projects – these will use the normal state aid intervention funding.
Stream 1 – short projects (up to 3 months and £50k)
Stream 2 – full projects (up to 12 months and £300k)
The Brokerage Meetings
Every successful applicant from Phase 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 Phase 2.
19th September 2019 – Notification Phase 1 Results
1st October 2019 – Initial details of Brokerage Meetings
15th October 2019– Start of Brokerage Meetings
18th October 2019– Final Date for Brokerage Meetings
Phase 2 – Project Application
Every company that has been successful at Round 5 – Phase 1 or who has just completed a project under Round 3 – Phase 2 will be invited to submit an application for a grant funded project.
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 projects costs.
23rd September 2019 – Phase 2 Opens for project proposals
13th November 2019– Phase 2 Closing date for applications
1st March 2020 – Earliest Project start date
31st March 2021 – Latest Project end date
More information on Round 5 Phase 2 will be issued (by invitation only) after the close of Round 5 Phase 1.
For application advice and additional support, please contact us