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I have novel car tech. Where can I get automotive funding?

Written by mathilde.murphy on 8 August 2017

UK and European funders are seeking innovations that will drive technological excellence in the automotive industry. EEN can help you tap into them.

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car traveling fast through the city

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The world of funding can be a confusing and complex place, but there is support out there for the right businesses. We can help you receive access to finance and much more.


What are you selling?


First you need to ask: is my technology truly innovative? What do I need the funding for?


Funding streams in the UK and Europe tend to focus on products, services and innovative processes which can showcase our technological leadership in the automotive sector. This applies especially to innovations that could be easily integrated into the supply chain and/or with likely impact on other market sectors.


So if your innovation is concerned with ‘green vehicles’ or low-emission variants of conventional engines, with vehicle safety or automotive IT infrastructure, we can look at relevant sources of funding.


What automotive funding is out there?


The European Commission has more than doubled the funds available for co-operative research and innovation in the automotive sector through to 2020. But you must demonstrate a high degree of potential in terms of competitiveness and growth.


The Transport Challenge within the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding programme has been allocated €6,339 million for 2014-2020, including these current calls:


  • The Future Engine Prize for the ‘cleanest engine of the future’ aims to reduce the pollution produced by new vehicles using gasoline or diesel fuels and low biofuel blends. Worth €3.5M, it is open until May 2019.
  • The Cleanest Engine Retrofit prize encourages the development of engine and powertrain technologies using conventional fuels to reduce emissions in real driving conditions to the lowest level possible, in order to improve air quality in European cities. Worth €1.5M, it closes on 12 September 2017
  • Horizon Prize – Materials for Clean Air offers €3 million to the person or team who can develop the best design-driven, material solution to reduce the concentration of particulate matter in urban areas.
  • Small business innovation research for Transport and Smart Cities Mobility (SME Instrument): Depending on your R&D phase of development, you can apply for a feasibility study or a specific innovation demonstration project (prototyping, scale-up, pilot etc) that addresses specific challenges in the EU transport challenge programme.


In this country, Innovate UK and the Manufacturing Growth Programme also have funding competitions and supply chain management support which could interest an innovator in the automotive sector.


Get yourself ‘funding-ready’


Applying for funding can be time-consuming but we can help you to be as well prepared as possible and to be familiar with the application process.


The EU’s SME Instrument funding stream is extremely competitive, while other sources of EU funding require applicants to work within a consortium of organisations and businesses from different countries.


Our advice, therefore, is to read up on the objectives of the funder, whether the EU or Innovate UK, and their priorities under each work programme. This will give you a good idea of the challenges and how your innovation might address them.


Ask us for help


As EEN advisers, we can pinpoint the types of funding most suitable for your business, first by organising a face-to-face meeting and a conducting a business review.


Once we agree your goals, we can help you prepare your proposal, often connecting you with other organisations with the requisite knowledge and skills, possibly a partner that can share the burden of development costs.


We can also carry out an IP audit, again to ensure you have protected your assets before engaging with other partners on a project.