ISCF Faraday Challenge - Batteries for Britain

EPSRC on behalf of the Faraday Challenge Research Institute: Research Challenge Call

(Please note: the closing date given above, is the deadline for full proposals. An expression of interest is required to be submitted first, by 16.00 on 01 September 2017, using the online form on this page.)

Innovate UK, EPSRC and the APC are working closely together to deliver an integrated programme of research and innovation to deliver novel battery technologies as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

The ambition of the programme is to make the UK the go-to place for the research, development, manufacture and production of novel battery technologies for both the automotive and the wider relevant sectors.

The programme is split into three separate elements, which will be delivered in parallel to provide connectivity across both research and innovation strands. The full programme will be strategically managed to meet the overall Batteries challenge.

The three elements are:

  • The Faraday Institution: a new, virtual research institute comprising a headquarters (the subject of another call) and a series of Research Challenge projects (the first of which are the subject of this call), to drive and accelerate fundamental science and its translation directly related to batteries. This will be supported by EPSRC
  • Innovation programme to support collaborative research and development with co-investment from industry (led by Innovate UK) and;
  • Scale up programme to create an open access facility with technology scale up capabilities to ensure solutions are ready for manufacturing technologies at high volume (led by APC).

Each of these elements will be connected through an overarching governance structure in place to manage the research and resources available for each strand of the programme.

This call invites expressions of interest from researchers interested in collaborating on and scoping research projects in four challenge areas which have been pre-identified by industry and academia as having the capability to be 'fast-start projects' to establish the core capabilities of this funding programme. The scoped areas are; battery degradation, the all-solid-state battery with lithium and sodium metal anodes, multi scale modelling and circular economy/recycling. This call is expected to lead to breakthroughs in these four areas which will have the effect of establishing the UK as the world leader for leading battery research, of making UK industry more competitive (to deliver more jobs, investment and exports), and of attracting researchers and industry to base themselves in the UK. In short, we are looking for a revolution in battery research and a "business as usual" approach will not be deemed sufficient.

UK industry requires the fundamental research programme to deliver improvements in energy density, power density, cost, safety, lifetime, predictability and recycling of batteries to realise the improvements necessary to mainstream new battery based technologies. It is envisaged that outputs from this research will have a significant influence on technology for electrical vehicles as well as having cross sector benefits for the energy sector and consumer goods.

The overall budget to support this call is expected to be confirmed in the summer of 2017 subject to further assurance processes within BEIS. It is envisaged that up to £28 million will be allocated and EPSRC, in collaboration with the Research Institute, expect to deliver funding for four large scale collaborative research projects from this first wave of research challenge funding. Subsequent funding cycles supported through an open and competitive process administered by the Research Institute are scheduled to follow over the lifetime of the ISCF Faraday Challenge.

Expressions of interest

Expressions of interest are required to be submitted by 16.00 on 01 September 2017 using the online form on this page, and applicants will be invited to attend a workshop with the Research Institute Director and management team to scope potential projects in the four identified research areas. It should be noted that participation in the workshop event will not guarantee a role for participants on the subsequent research projects to be developed with the Research Institute. The research projects discussed at the workshop will be developed to full proposals which will then be required to be submitted in accordance with the application requirements listed below.

EPSRC may mandate a specific spend profile across the duration of the funded project and prior to EPSRC awarding the grants all funded projects must be prepared to undertake spend by 01 January 2018 at the latest.

Successful applicants will be required to work directly with the Faraday Challenge: Research Institution HQ (which will be awarded prior to the closing of this call) to define their project, the work packages and project plan, especially for years 1, in further detail. Applicants will also be expected to work within the governance framework, which oversees the Research Institution, throughout the lifetime of the project. The Faraday Challenge: Research Institution HQ, with reference to the overarching Faraday Challenge governance structure, will have the capability of re-directing resources as appropriate over the lifetime of the ISCF Faraday Challenge, which may include terminating projects prior to completion through re-deployment of resources to successful projects within the Research Institute portfolio. Applicants should note that additional grant conditions will therefore be applied to successful proposals.

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