Always wondered how the APC runs its competition process?

A blog post by Zoe Hall, Head of Competitions and Projects, offering her top tips for perfecting your application as we launch APC 14.

Today, we opened our latest funding round – APC 14. Many projects will already know exactly what they want from the process and how to address it, but for those still in the dark there are some key elements that can help you on the road to success.

As Head of Competitions and Projects, I work closely with projects throughout the process and now, three years into the role, I am starting to see projects from my first round of funding come to commercial fruition. It’s an exciting and rewarding experience.

If you are thinking of applying for this or any future rounds of funding here is what you can expect and my top tips:

Support:

The APC team will support you through the bid development process. With each round of funding, we run a briefing event at the APC offices in Warwick where you will receive detailed information on how to fill out the application form. You will also get to meet a previously successful project and hear about how they have made use of their funding and the APC’s support. BEIS will brief you on how to match the value for money criteria and you will be able to attend a 1-2-1 workshop for advice specific to your project and application. This is a great networking event, where we have previously witnessed several new successful collaborations.

If you are successful in the application process, you will be assigned a Project Delivery Lead who will be there throughout your funding cycle. This is one of the greatest strengths of APC funding. Our relationship with industry and contacts can help catapult your project to commercialisation.

Hits and Misses:

In my time at APC I have seen hundreds of project applications, some stand out from the crowd and it is immediately clear they have an exciting and deliverable project. Throughout the process we will give you hints and tips – ultimately if your project is good, we want you to be successful. If you are using a bid writer, make sure you are fully prepped for the interview stage. Bid writers can be great as they know exactly how to pull together an impressive application. However, it’s devastating to see a great project at assessment then fall at interview. Think Dragons Den, and you are not far off, so all applicants need to plan for success and be prepared.

Remember, these are late stage R&D projects in order to be successful, your project must align with one of the key strategic technologies and focus around securing high value R&D and next generation automotive supply chain in the UK.

  • Thermal Propulsion Systems
  • Energy Storage and Energy Management
  • Lightweight Vehicle and Powertrain Structures
  • Electric Machines & Power Electronics

Be Credible:

Ensure your application has a credible additionality story. You need to be clear why you can’t find alternative funding for your project and why it meets the assessment criteria. Showcase in the best possible light what advantages you can bring to the UK’s automotive future, especially the future supply chain.

Bring the evidence:

We like numbers! We like facts! No, ‘ifs’, no ‘we wish’ statements please. What will the impact be? Remember two of the priorities for the APC are job creation and carbon reduction. Make your application believable and strongly evidenced and you’ll tick the boxes at assessment stage.

Collaboration:

The APC has a history of being a great matchmaker. We love projects that work together to enhance and accelerate the project’s delivery. If you’re already in a collaboration, or we have brought you together, make sure you showcase your strength as a partnership throughout the assessment and maximise this throughout the delivery of the project. We have seen how beneficial the power of collaboration is numerous times.

To find out more about our latest round of funding click here.

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