Collaborate with the Electricity System Operator to deliver innovation.

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is investing in innovation by working with industry and academia to develop and deliver innovation projects. Our partners involve large businesses, small medium-sized enterprises, research organisations, as well as utilities and network operators. 

We develop innovation projects using both Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) funding and the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).  

Innovating with the Electricity System Operator

We’ve put together a document to help you understand our innovation process, ways we fund innovation and how to get involved.

Innovating with the Electricity System Operator report


Network Innovation Allowance (NIA)

Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) is a set allowance that each network receives to administer as part of their network price control. It is designed for early-stage research and development or small-scale demonstration projects.  

Using NIA, we develop and provide funding for projects which link to at least one of our innovation priorities. We welcome your project proposals throughout the year.  

Fill in the Big Idea form - this will be sent straight to our Innovation team who will assess your idea. Before submitting your Big Idea, we recommend reading our NIA Project Requirements.  


Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is administered by Ofgem with support from Innovate UK (UKRI). It is focused on funding large-scale transformational research and development projects in 3 phases (Discovery, Alpha, Beta). You can read more about the phases and requirements of the fund in the SIF Governance Document.  

For each Discovery funding round application, Ofgem and UKRI publish challenge areas related to the energy transition to net zero that projects should address. You can keep up to date with the latest challenges and deadlines on Ofgem's website and their SIF newsletter.

If you think you have a idea for a large scale transformational project suitable for SIF funding and the ESO you can email us with your proposal. 

For more information we recommend reading our What is SIF Document and Ofgem’s SIF FAQs.  

Email the team

If you want to reach out to the ESO Innovation Team, we’d be happy to hear from you. Please get in touch.

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