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APC3 – how applications for funding grants are assessed for Value for Money

Funding of up to £100 million is currently available through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) for projects that deliver significant reductions in vehicle CO2 or other emissions. Unlike previous competitions run by the Technology Strategy Board (now known as Innovate UK), APC projects need to be assessed for value for money.

With innovative new low carbon technologies there is often a commercial risk in taking them to market. APC funding supports and shares this risk in order to accelerate the commercialisation of new technologies. However there are safeguards in place to mitigate the level of risk, and to assess the value for money of projects.

There is a two-stage approach for APC competitions. The first stage is to submit project documentation. This may be subject to feedback and clarification. The second phase involves successful applicants being interviewed, and this stage looks at technical aspects and value for money. There are multiple assessors, and a separate panel reviews the outcomes from the assessors in order to ensure impartiality. Innovate UK manages this process, not the APC.

In a recent webinar, Michael Clarke from BIS explained how the value for money assessment works.

There is an established system for appraising how government funds are spent, which is contained in the Treasury’s ‘Green Book’. The same approach is used for RGF and AMSCI projects, which typically involve larger amounts of funding. ‘Value for money’ is defined as ‘how government objectives are achieved for least cost’. In the case of the APC, the objective is to accelerate the development of low carbon propulsion technology and to build a supply chain in the UK.

The economic analysis is carried out by BIS. In the same way that the technical assessment of submissions is managed by Innovate UK, this ensures that the APC is removed from this aspect and so can again advise applicants regarding the economic benefits of potential projects.

The value for money calculation takes a detailed look at many areas – quantitative and qualitative – including jobs created, sales forecasts, supply chain impact, as well as economic benefits to the UK, the improvement in emissions and air quality, and even asking the question “will the outcomes of the project be widely disseminated?”.

Click this link to view the webinar that provided more details about the way that APC competition applications are assessed for value for money:

http://youtu.be/2PJHJttmhFI?t=2m1s

For more information about the £100 million of new funding available through the ‘Developing new automotive propulsion technologies’ competition visit www.apcuk.co.uk/competitions/developing-new-automotive-propulsion-technologies

Find out more about the Advanced Propulsion Centre at www.apcuk.co.uk