CLIMATES: Supply chain innovations for rare earths, strands 1 & 2

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative research and development projects as part of Innovate UKs circular critical materials supply chains (CLIMATES) programme. Strand 1: Early-stage feasibility studies. Strand 2: Mid to late-stage R&D projects. The aim of this competition is to stimulate growth in a circular critical materials supply chain for rare earth elements (REEs), or alternative materials.

Deadline: 13 March 2024, 11am

Critical Minerals Sustainability and Circularity


Competition closes: 13 March 2024, 11am

Applicants notified: 19 April 2024

Project start date & duration: by 1 August 2024, 3-12 months


Projects must be focused on REEs, or new and alternative materials that substitute or reduce the use of REEs. Projects can cover one or more of the following areas:

  • Upstream processing including:
    Development of sustainable mining processes including beneficiation; development of novel, sustainable primary processing routes to rare earth oxides; increased efficiency or productivity improvements for primary processing to rare earth oxides; processes to address management of radioactive by-products.
  • Midstream and downstream processing including:
    Development of novel, sustainable manufacturing routes to rare earth alloys and magnets; sustainable routes integrating materials from primary and secondary processes; increased performance of high-performance magnets; increased efficiency or productivity improvements for downstream REEs product manufacturing, for example, reduction in scrap production.
  • Circularity including:
    Development of processes and services for the collection, identification, separation or dismantling of rare earth containing final end of life products; novel and sustainable routes for processing recovered REEs; design for recycling of products containing REEs; solutions that enable materials provenance; sustainability models including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), embedded carbon, radioactivity, environmental social and governance (ESG) solutions;
  • Alternative Materials including:
    Development of novel materials for high performance magnets; substitution of materials for high performance magnets.


  • Projects must be collaborative and all businesses in a consortium must be separate, legal and non-linked UK registered businesses of any size.
  • Project work must be carried out and results exploited from or in the UK.
  • Subsidy Control and State Aid funding rules apply.

Funding Rates

Maximum grant funding request of £250K (Strand 1) or £700K (Strand 2).

Project maturity (up to but not including commercialisation)
Organisation size Feasibility (Strand 1) and Industrial Research (Strand 2) Experimental Development (Strand 2)
Micro/small business <70% <45%
Medium sized business <60% <35%
Large business <50% <25%

Research organisations can share up to 50 % (Strand 1) or 30% (Strand 2) of total eligible project costs.

How PNO can support you

The UK team has a strong track record in securing some of the most competitive national and European grants on behalf of its clients, with a full understanding of how a project should be presented to stand the highest chance of success. Each year in the UK alone, we are responsible for the submission of more than 100 funding applications across all sectors and priority areas. Based on this extensive experience, through careful project selection and using key insight into how a project should be best positioned, we consistently achieve success rates that are more than 5 times the typical success rates for UK national schemes and EU programmes.

For further information or to discuss a project idea please contact PNO Consultants: 0161 488 3488 or fill out the contact form below.

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