UKRI Ayrton Challenge Programme Open for Outline Applications

The UK Government’s £1 billion Ayrton Fund aims to accelerate the clean energy transition in developing countries by creating and demonstrating innovative clean energy technologies and business models.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is now inviting outline applications through the Ayrton challenge programme to support around 10 high quality, interdisciplinary research teams in this area. These equitable research partnerships will bring together UK expertise in this domain and research leaders in developing countries in order to support innovative, challenge-led interdisciplinary research projects addressing technological and development challenges, including energy justice, societal and technological transitions.

Work funded will span the Ayrton Fund themes: Low Carbon Supplies, Super-Efficient Demand, and Smart Delivery, including the following thematic challenges:

  • Next generation solar.
  • Zero-emissions generators.
  • Sustainable cooling for all.
  • Modern cooking.
  • Energy efficiency.
  • Industrial decarbonisation.
  • Clean transport.
  • Smart energy systems.
  • Energy storage.
  • Clean hydrogen.
  • Critical minerals.
  • Inclusive energy and leave no-one behind.

Projects will contribute to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), or 13 (Climate Action) and lead to climate change mitigation in developing countries.

The project lead (PL) must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UKRI funding and must be eligible to hold UKRI grants and be from: a UK higher education institution; a research council institute; or an independent research organisation eligible for UKRI funding.

Proposals must be led by an eligible PL in the UK but are expected to be co-designed and delivered in equitable partnerships with ‘in-country’ researchers, who should be included as project co-lead (international) (PcL (I)). PcL (I)s must be based in a country on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of official development assistance (ODA) recipient countries.

The total UKRI funding available is up to £25 million to support around 10 projects. Applications of between £2 million and £3 million will be accepted.

Awards will last for three years commencing no later than 1 January 2025.

Outline applications should be submitted by the 9 April 2024 (16:00) deadline.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect news alert.)