Skip to main content
photovoltaic panel

The University of Birmingham’s Energy Institute and Energy Systems Catapult are launching an innovator challenge to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in driving the commercialisation of innovative energy products and services.

Supported by HSBC UK, the Climate Innovation Platform (CIP) offers businesses a package of tailored support to research, test and grow the innovations that will support Britain’s acceleration towards a net zero economy.

  • CIP will support 100 SMEs over a four-year incubation programme, commencing in July 2021. Innovators and businesses are now invited to apply for CIP’s first ‘Low Carbon Energy Solutions, Innovator Challenge’ aimed at supporting innovations in the following areas*:
  • Innovative low carbon generation or infrastructure technologies into the built environment.
  • Low carbon heating and/or cooling innovations for the built environment.
  • Leveraging end user, infrastructure and network data to create new digital platforms, services and business models that accelerate the transition to net zero.
  • Innovations which would accelerate the adoption of Energy from Waste.
  • Innovative hydrogen generation solutions for deployment in the transport or heating sectors.
  • Innovation which accelerates the adoption of electric vehicle use.
  • Energy storage and smart local energy systems innovations for network optimisation.
  • Solutions enabling active, interoperable control systems that deliver more efficient and flexible operation of local energy systems and/or networks.

*Other areas will be considered on a case by case basis.

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute and the Energy Research Accelerator said: “We are delighted to be able to provide SME’s across the region with access to the support services needed to research, test and grow their innovations. Whilst supporting the growth of these businesses, we are accelerating the development of next-generation, low carbon technologies that will ultimately help meet our national commitment to achieve net zero by 2050.”

Businesses selected for CIP will have access to:

• Business engagement support through University of Birmingham’s ATETA Programme, offering access to research expertise and facilities for SME’s to improve efficiency and test new ideas.

• Incubation and acceleration support through Energy system Catapult Energy Launchpad, which will also help design the innovation challenges and provide technical assessment of applications.

Successful candidates will also be provided with a range of business development support, including financial planning, start‐up mentoring, market research, business development expertise, IP protection expertise alongside advice on regulation and standards, grant writing and bid development.

Businesses will also be made aware of funding opportunities and have access to investor opportunities, a dedicated support team, market insight reports as well as office and workshop space at Tyseley Energy Park.

Successful applicants to this programme, may also selected to apply to the global Climate Solutions Partnership1 innovation accelerator, powered by WWF’s Impactio platform, which will help further scale climate solutions internationally, supporting business innovations in partnership with leading universities, research institutes, incubators and accelerators.

Paul Jordan, Energy Launchpad business lead at the Energy Systems Catapult said: “Our independent, whole systems approach means we work with innovators to tackle the hardest problems on the way to net zero and in the process drive start-ups to success. 

“We are excited to be working with HSBC UK and the University of Birmingham to help identify high-growth potential SMEs in the UK and help them move step-by-step from technical verification to commercial validation.

“Our support ranges from business model innovation and market analysis through to assessments on digital or investor readiness. We also have real-world testing available to ensure system integration challenges addressed and consumer insights captured. All of this is aimed at helping turn innovators into successful entrepreneurs.”

Michaela Wright, Head of Corporate Sustainability for HSBC UK said: “A challenge as significant as climate change can only be tackled in collaboration, with innovation playing a key role in accelerating the UK’s transitions to net zero.

“Companies developing clean technology often struggle to access the networks, financial backing and business mentoring required. We’re excited to support the University of Birmingham with their Climate Innovation Platform, bringing together our combined knowledge, insight and international network to help climate solutions break through systemic barriers and to scale-up.”

The CIP Incubation programme is now open for applications. The closing date is 11:00am on Monday the 2nd of August.

Businesses interested in applying for the CIP programme can complete the online application form  and can contact the team for any direct queries.  

  • For further information, please contact Beck Lockwood or call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
  • The Climate Solutions Partnership  is a global initiative led by HSBC, World Resources Institute and WWF. It aims to unlock barriers to finance for companies and projects that tackle climate change to bring them to scale while also delivering for people and nature. The global initiative is backed by $100m of philanthropic funding from HSBC over five years.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Energy Systems Catapult was set up to accelerate the transformation of the UK’s energy system and ensure UK businesses and consumers capture the opportunities of clean growth.
  • The Catapult is an independent, not-for-profit centre of excellence that bridges the gap between industry, government, academia and research. We take a whole-systems view of the energy sector, helping us to identify and address innovation priorities and market barriers, in order to decarbonise the energy system at the lowest cost.
  • HSBC UK serves around 14.5 million customers across the UK, supported by 32,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.
  • HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 64 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,959bn at 31 March 2021, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.