Supergen Bioenergy Flexible Funding Programme – Call for Proposals

Proposals are invited for research-related activities which support the Supergen Bioenergy hub’s core objectives.

Flexible Funding 2017

Issue Date: 10th October 2017
Closing Date: 22nd November 2017
Type: Invitation for proposals



Proposals are invited for research-related activities which support the Supergen Bioenergy hub’s core objectives.

The SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub invites proposals for its “flexible funding” programme.  A total of £100,000 is available to support up to 4 projects at institutes eligible to receive RCUK funding. We are pleased to also be able to offer additional funding of up to £75,000 for projects which target priorities of the low carbon fuels strategy of the Department for Transport. The priority areas eligible for this enhanced funding are specified below.

Applications for research funding should support the hub’s objectives (see below) and submissions should specify which of the priority areas they are addressing.

The funding can be used to support bioenergy research and research-related activities, including exchanges and visits to develop new research collaborations, preparatory work for large strategic bids, feasibility studies, work with industrial partners to advance implementation, work with other stakeholders to support bioenergy policy development, secondments to improve research impact etc.

The funding is provided by EPSRC and information on the eligibility of organisations and individuals to receive EPSRC funding is available in the EPSRC funding guide:

NB: It is a condition of funding that successful applicants engage with the SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub in relation to the funded activity.



The SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub aims to bring together industry, academia and other stakeholders to focus on the research and knowledge challenges associated with increasing the contribution of UK bioenergy to meet strategic environmental targets in a coherent, sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Our objectives as a hub are as follows:

  • To act as a focal point for sharing and dissemination of scientific knowledge and engineering understanding to facilitate near-term deployment of technologies.
  • To investigate and develop new approaches for dealing with the very significant engineering challenges associated with deployment of more novel technologies.
  • To improve scientific understanding of the fundamental aspects of different forms of biomass and its conversion.
  • To take a whole-systems perspective to comprehensively evaluate the potential of future technology options.
  • To adopt an interdisciplinary approach to look beyond the technical aspects of bioenergy and ensure consideration of the impacts on ecosystemssocial responses to technology deployment and the economic context of policy development.


Flexible funding is available to UK academic institutes eligible to receive research funding, who are also members of the Supergen bioenergy hub. All academic institutes carrying out significant levels of bioenergy research are entitled to apply for membership. Please contact if you need to confirm if your institute is a member, or for any other queries about your eligibility.

We are particularly keen to encourage project submissions by early career researchers.

 Projects can be led by members of staff at academic institutes eligible to receive research funding i.e. who have a contract which lasts for the duration of the project.

Scope of projects

 Project proposals are invited which address the following priorities:

  1. Evaluation of the future availability and characteristics of UK wastes for bioenergy applications (DfT supported with additional £25,000, for a total of £50,000).
  2. Development of aviation biofuel technologies (DfT supported with additional £25,000, for a total of £50,000).
  3. Evaluation of the economic impact of the low carbon fuel industry (DfT supported with additional £25,000, for a total of £50,000).
  4. Evaluation of technical options for metal/material recovery from growth of energy crops on contaminated land.
  5. Combustion trials of aviation fuels to evaluate engine performance for biofuels with known composition/characterization.
  6. Evaluation of the potential global socio-economic impact of land remediation using bioenergy crops e.g. many developing countries have specific land issues which could be addressed by crop remediation, freeing up land for productive agricultural use, supporting food security and sustainable development goals.
  7. Research on international deployment of bioenergy crops to support sustainable development goals

Funding Level 

Projects submitted under priorities 1-3 can apply for up to £50,000 (@ 80% FEC).

Projects submitted under all other priority areas can apply for up to £25,000 (@80% FEC).

Eligible costs are as defined in the standard RCUK terms and conditions of grant awards and flexible funding can be used to cover the same cost categories.

Assessment Process

Project proposals will be reviewed and scored by at least 2 members of the hub’s core management group with relevant disciplinary expertise and will be ranked in order of their score against the following criteria:


Criteria Score Minimum Threshold
Rationale 3 clearly demonstrated rationale

2 partially demonstrated rationale

1 unclear or inadequate rationale

0 none given

Potential impact 3 significant potential impact

2 some potential impact

1 unclear or inadequate impact

0 none given

Contribution to SUPERGEN Bioenergy objectives 3 contribution clearly demonstrated

2 contribution partially demonstrated

1 unclear or inadequate contribution

0 none given

Engagement with stakeholders 3 clearly demonstrated engagement

2 partially demonstrated engagement

1 unclear or inadequate engagement

0 none given

Deliverability/feasibility 3 clearly demonstrated

2 partially demonstrated

1 unclear or inadequate

0 none given

Value for money 3 Good value for money

2 Acceptable value for money

1 Poor value for money

0 inadequate information to assess

Additionality 3 Fully additional to other activities

2 Partially additional to other activities

1 No additionality

0 inadequate information to assess



 Closing date for submissions: 12 noon on Wednesday 22 November

Successful applicants notified: Wednesday 6 December

Projects start from: 1 January 2018

Projects MUST be complete by: 1 July 2018.

DfT co-funded projects must submit a satisfactory progress report by 16 March 2018

DfT co-funded projects must invoice 50% of their costs by 31 March 2018.

All projects must invoice final costs by 31 July 2018.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions of standard RCUK grant awards apply.

In addition all successful projects must engage with the Supergen Bioenergy hub and should describe in their application how they plan to do this.



Applicant Details





Project Summary
Briefly describe what the project is going to do, why you are doing it and what you expect to achieve (including any deliverables):


Proposed Start Date:             Proposed End Date:
SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub Objectives
How does this work contribute to the Supergen Bioenergy Hub aims and objectives?



(if applicable) DfT Objectives
How does this work contribute to the DfT aims and objectives?
Delivery Partners

Partner Organisation (inc non-academic partners)


Key Personnel

Resources Requested
Total Project Costs:

Resources Requested (max 80% total costs):

Provide a brief cost summary and justification of resources.




Total £


Describe the potential impact of this activity, how it would move things forward in the area and what you will do to ensure that the impact is maximized.




Links to Other Research Activity
Please describe the links between this activity and any other research work.





Further information is given below on the objectives of the DfT co-funded projects and Paolo Favino from the DfT low carbon fuel teams will be attending the Supergen bioenergy hub assembly to provide any further clarifications required to prospective bidders.

Evaluation of the future availability and characteristics of UK wastes for bioenergy applications

The extent to which bioenergy can contribute to renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets is extremely dependent upon the amount and type of biomass that is sustainably available.  Waste is often flagged as a key resource, which is readily available, geographically widely dispersed and generally provides good greenhouse gas savings.

It is important therefore to understand the actual level of waste available in the UK and how sustainable that supply will continue to be in the future. Effective planning requires a good knowledge of what the real availability of waste is like (taking into account competing uses). However, UK wastes comprise a diverse set of resources: ranging from agricultural residues through to domestic/municipal waste, sewage sludge and industrial waste, including waste wood and contaminated by-products. So, it is also important to be able to classify the waste according to key characteristics which may affect its suitability for different collection, processing or conversion systems and to present any sustainability issues which may constrain the future level of supply.

Projects are particularly encouraged which address this challenge of improving our understanding of the UK waste stream (both quantitatively and qualitatively) over time. The Department for Transport will co-fund selected projects in this area, with up to an additional £25,000 available for projects that address these priorities with research outputs relevant to liquid transport biofuels.

Transitioning from small scale aviation biofuel technologies to production at a commercially viable scale

 There are many potential routes to aviation biofuels, from biological to thermochemical and catalytic approaches.  To date none of these has been successfully demonstrated beyond pilot scale.  DfT is keen to support research which will accelerate the deployment of advanced biofuel technologies in the UK, including comparative technology reviews, assessment of impacts of feedstocks and contaminants, scale-up considerations and economic viability assessment.

Evaluation of the economic impact of the low carbon fuel industry

 It is important that low carbon fuels deliver greenhouse gas reductions and climate benefits.  However, growing a low carbon fuels industry in the UK has much wider implications than greenhouse gases.  It is important to also understand the wider socio-economic impacts of development of the industry.  This includes potential for job creation, contribution to industrial growth and GDP; impacts on farmers and rural economies; indirect and supply chain impacts of development as well as consideration of any displaced jobs or economic activity.

At present there is little evidence and few projections relating to national or regional costs and benefits in these categories, which are important for policy development.

Flexible Funding application form

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