GFIL Future Frontiers Fund (FFF)
Application Deadline: 19th of January
UK-registered SMEs currently aligned with TRLs 1-3.
Project Length: 6 months
Project Value: Approximately £10,000
Grant funding for early-stage projects that are developing solutions to tackle climate change, protect our environment and deliver a net zero future.
Welcome to the GFIL Future Frontiers Fund (FFF)
Climate change, environmental protection and delivering a net zero future are urgent global challenges that create opportunities for novel ideas, business growth and cross-sector collaboration. Working in partnership with Green Future Investments Limited (GFIL), Cranfield is proud to deliver funding support to innovators and entrepreneurs.
The Future Frontiers Fund supports the generation of fresh and highly novel ideas, technologies, products and services. It is looking for truly innovative leaps through small grants of approximately £10,000 to test ‘might work’ concepts. The FFF is directed at the early ideas, research stage (TRL 1-3): TRL 1 covers investigation of basic principles; TRL 2 is concept development and core questions investigated; and TRL 3 includes concept validation experiments or tests.
For projects starting early April 2023 and completing by September 30th, 2023.
What does the FFF award provide?
Grant funding and support from Cranfield mentors
The FFF will provide small grants of approximately £10,000 to test truly innovative concepts that address challenges related to tackling climate change, protecting our environment and delivering a net zero future.
In addition, successful applicants will receive support from Cranfield University, including up to five days of a staff mentor to provide technical expertise and to help guide and coach throughout the project, and/or access to appropriate facilities that might enhance their proposed project plan (if required). This package of support will be determined at the kick-off meeting depending on the needs of the project.
The award is intended to enable participants to progress their idea or early-stage technology towards validation of a ‘proof of concept’, and to enable a go/no go decision for further development. Applicants will be free to allocate the money as they wish to achieve this. Example areas to explore (not exhaustive) include:
- Technical viability, including modelling, or component/early prototype development
- Market need and potential for end user uptake
- A viable business model.
Who can apply?
The competition is open to UK-based SMEs*, start-ups and spinouts, sole traders, and individual entrepreneurs, including staff and students from research institutions and the FE/HE sector, whose core purpose is around green technologies, products and services.
*Our definition of SMEs is taken from the UK Government’s SME action plan: any organisation that has fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million or a balance sheet total less than €43 million.
The scope of this fund is deliberately broad since we are looking for truly impactful and original ideas, technologies, products and services. Projects must:
- Address challenges related to tackling climate change, protecting our environment and delivering a net zero future
- Currently align with TRLs 1-3.*
Applicants must also demonstrate an understanding of the key questions that must be answered in order to progress towards proof of concept, and provide a prioritised plan for addressing these with the funding requested and within the project timeframe.
We are also looking for a vision of how the idea will be scaled up in the future and who the target end users are likely to be. By the end of the project, we expect a plan for next stages of development (which could include applying for funding from The Technology Accelerator Fund)
*TRL 1 covers investigation of basic principles; TRL 2 is concept development and core questions investigated; and TRL 3 includes concept validation experiments or tests.
Eligible costs are:
- Travel and subsistence
Staff costs/salaries are not eligible. If you have other costs, you will be asked to describe these in the application form.
All costs will need to be justified in relation to your project plan, and we will require proof of expenditure at the end of the project for all items over £500. We will not ask to see other receipts as a matter of course, but reserve the right to carry out audits for up to six months after the end of the project.
Payment of the award will be made in two tranches: 50% on signing of the Award Letter and 50% on receipt of the final report. Exceptions can be made at our discretion if essential equipment is required that costs more than £5,000.
Please note that the total award value is inclusive of VAT.
You project needs to start by early April 2023 and can run until the end of September 2023, with the brief final report due one month after the end of the project. Shorter projects (three months minimum) are also welcome.