Are you an innovator and want to collaborate with us? If so, we’re inviting you to respond to our open call to collaborate with us on developing Discovery project proposals for Round 3 of the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).
We’re looking for both project ideas as well as potential partners with interest and expertise to address focus areas we’ve identified. Submit your project ideas and responses by 5pm on 13 September to be considered.
In May 2023, Ofgem announced new SIF Innovation Challenges with a call for project ideas to address them in the next Discovery funding application (November 2023). We have worked with subject matter experts from across the ESO to explore these Innovation Challenges and identify our focus areas.
We want to collaborate with academia, industry, and other innovators on developing SIF Discovery proposals addressing these. We are looking for both project ideas as well as potential partners with interest and expertise related to these topics. Below you can find an overview of the focus areas, how you can find out more, and guidance on how to respond to our open call before the deadline.
- Quantum-safe cryptography
- Generative artificial intelligence (AI)
- Long-duration energy storage (LDES)
- Network modelling
- Consumer profiles
You can find more information on each focus area in our publication below.
Do you have an idea that does not relate to the open call's focus areas?
You can still submit SIF project ideas to us that do not relate to the focus areas using our ideas form.
Find out more about the SIF open call
Join us for a briefing webinar on 6 September at 2pm to find out more about our open call. During the webinar, you’ll hear an overview of each focus area, the process of responding, and will be able to ask any questions that you may have.
You can also join our open call drop-in sessions to speak to us and raise any questions you have.
Complete our sign-up form below to join us at 1:30pm on 11 September or 12 September.
How to respond to the SIF open call
Below is a guide to responding to our open call, including relevant key dates. We will update the guidance below with FAQs as we receive them.
Before responding to our open call, please ensure you understand the conditions of SIF funding and the requirements for Discovery projects:
- Applications must align with one of the Round 3 Innovation Challenges.
- Each Innovation Challenge has minimum partner requirements listing organisations which must be involved in projects addressing each challenge.
- SIF projects are collaborative in nature and will involve working with both ESO and other project partners as a consortium.
- Knowledge transfer is one of the key aims of SIF, meaning that outputs of SIF projects must be disseminated publicly.
- Each project participant shall own all foreground IP that it independently creates as part of the project, or where IP is created jointly then it shall be owned in shares that are in proportion to the work done in its creation.
- Only licensed energy networks are eligible to lead an application/project.
- Project participants need to provide a minimum of 10% of total project costs as a compulsory contribution from alternative funds.
- SIF is a competitive process where funding is administered by Ofgem and UKRI – ESO does not administer SIF funding.
Responding to the open call
There are two ways that you can respond to our open call. For each focus area, you can:
- Submit a project idea – If you have an idea for an innovation project to address a focus area, please complete our ideas form. Through this form you can provide details of your idea, such as high-level project plan, benefits, data requirements and potential partners. We acknowledge that at this stage you may not be able to provide all the details requested in the form. However, please try to complete as much as possible as it will help us in the review process.
- Express interest in being a project partner – If you would like to be collaborate with us on addressing a focus area, but do not have a project idea, please complete our expression of interest form. Through this form you can provide details of the expertise your organisation has relating to the focus area and how you can help to address it.
To help you prepare your response, you can view the list of questions included in the forms below.
Respond before 13 September at 5pm for your submission to be considered by our Innovation team for potential submission to Ofgem’s SIF Discovery Round 3. Please be aware this is just one step in our process for selecting potential project ideas and partners for SIF. We cannot guarantee your idea will be taken forward for submission, or that you will be selected as a partner.
- If you respond to us with a project idea, your idea will be reviewed against how well it addresses the ESO focus area and aligns with the requirements of SIF.
- If you respond and express interest in being a project partner, your response will be reviewed based on the capabilities and skills your organisation has in the ESO focus area and how you could help to deliver the project ideas submitted.
We will email you to let you know whether you have been shortlisted by Monday 25 September. We will provide feedback to you in this email. However, please be aware that we will not be able to provide detailed feedback if we receive a high volume of responses.
If your response is shortlisted, we’ll be in contact to discuss next steps. You may also be invited to an in-person workshop in mid-October 2023 where we will be further developing project ideas. Please be aware this is just one step in our process for selecting potential project ideas and partners for SIF. We cannot guarantee your idea will be taken forward for submission, or you will be selected as a partner.
For ideas taken forward, we will be working on the application to SIF for submission in mid-November 2023. If awarded funding, projects will start in spring 2024.
Yes, but a separate form (either to submit a project idea or express interest in being a project partner) must be completed for each focus area.
Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you.