The Analysis for Innovators (A4I) Competition has been running since 2016 and is now in the fourth 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 fourth 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
A company, of any size, can make up to two applications to Round Four. 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 should 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 (20th March) 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.
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.
9th April – Notification Phase 1 Results
10th April – Initial details of Brokerage Meetings
24th April – Start of Brokerage Meetings
3rd May – Final Date for Brokerage Meetings
Phase 2 – Project Application
Every company that has been successful at Round 4 – Phase 1 or who has 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.
15th April – Phase 2 Opens for project proposals
5h June – Phase 2 Closing date for applications
5th July – Applicants notified of results
2nd Sept – Earliest Project start date
28th Aug 2020 – Latest Project end date
More information on Round 4 Phase 2 will be issued after the close of Round 4 Phase 1.
For application advice and additional support, please contact us