Energy Catalyst Round 9

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or the Indo-Pacific regions to accelerate innovations to end energy poverty. Interested? Feel free to contact us!


Deadline: 10 August 2022, 11am

Applicants notified: 21 October 2022

Project start date & duration: By 1 April 2023, between 3 and 12 months

Scope – projects must address all three of the following areas:

  1. Energy Access: Improving energy access in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or the Indo-Pacific region. Must aim to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households, enterprises, and social institutions by supporting the development, testing or scale up of innovative technologies or business models. A clear social or economic benefit is required –creating new energy access in unserved regions and/or improving existing access to provide a more reliable service.
  2. Clean Energy: The technology or business model must create clean energy which is affordable, reliable, and low carbon.
  3. Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI): Applications must take into account GESI issues.

Specific Themes

FCDO will consider feasibility studies in any technology, including solution integrations across multiple technology areas, but will prioritise projects focused in the Ayrton Challenge areas: next generation solar technologies and business models, smart green grids, including mini and main grid related technologies, energy storage, including batteries and mechanical storage, low carbon hydrogen, modern cooking, low energy inclusive appliances, leave no one behind, specifically technologies and business models, targeting poor or marginalised groups or fragile contexts, sustainable cooling.

Projects that will not be funded

  • Unlikely to contribute significantly to energy affordability, security, and reduced carbon emissions.
  • Innovations that do not improve energy access in any of the regions.
  • Those not addressing clean energy requirements.
  • Projects that are not Official Development Assistance (ODA) compliant.
  • Projects that do not take into account/ do not plan to manage gender equality and social inclusion issues.


  • State aid funding rules apply.
  • Must intend to use the results to help deliver clean energy access in one of the listed regions.
  • Include a UK registered administrative lead and involve at least one SME from anywhere in the world.
  • Mid and Late stage projects must involve at least one partner with a legal entity in one of the focus countries in one of the listed regions.

Funding rates

Total eligible project costs:

  • Early stage (Feasibility Studies): £50,000 – £30,000 (3-12 months).
  • Mid stage (Industrial Research): £50,000 – £1.5Mn (6-24 months).
  • Late stage (Experimental Development): £50,000 – £5Mn (6-36 months).

For Early or Mid stage projects you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For Late stage projects you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research organisations in your consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs.

How PNO can support you

PNO 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 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.

Contact us for further information

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