Further Call for applications to Green Innovation Challenge Fund




Deadline for Applications: Friday 14th October 2022


The Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) is pleased to announce that it has been selected to manage the Green Innovation Challenge Fund (GICF) on behalf of the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland.

CASE is an industry led, collaborative, sustainable energy research centre hosted at Queen’s University Belfast, partnering with Ulster University and the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). This new £4.5million award will help progress Northern Ireland along the path to Net Zero Energy, as outlined in the NI Energy Strategy 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the next round of funding, CASE Centre Manager Martin Doherty said,

Since it was established through the Invest NI competence centre programme, CASE has successfully bridged the gap between academic research offerings and industry research needs. Now we are seeking to go further and faster by being a facilitator to help alleviate the current energy crisis and move Northern Ireland further along the path to Net Zero. This next round of funding wil help a range of projects move forward and add their expertise to the mix. We wish all of those who apply for funding every success.”

Earlier this year, after the first announcement of funding, CASE allocated approximately £1m to four research projects involving Queen’s University, Ulster University, AFBI and 13 companies.  The projects will investigate the production of bio-fuels from waste cooking oil; develop new technology for marine mammal observations around tidal energy deployments and aid with the decarbonisation of the agriculture sector through innovative nutrient management. The research impact and outcomes will benefit the project consortium and the wider Northern Ireland economy.

Further funding is now available to CASE Member companies through the Department for the Economy’s Green Innovation Challenge Fund. The fund aims to further the goals of the 10X Economic Vision, Green Growth Strategy and the Energy Strategy by:


  • Encouraging green innovation in renewables and low carbon technologies;
  • Providing support to businesses to engage in research and development so that they can continue to innovate and drive new commercial opportunities;
  • Providing advisory services and support to assist companies in understanding innovation and developing their innovative capabilities;
  • Assisting SMEs to gain the skills they need to engage in innovation activities;
  • Assisting businesses to exploit new opportunities through the adoption of new technologies;
  • Fostering collaboration and partnership working between industry, academia and other civic institutions.


CASE is seeking applications from suitably qualified consortia for research and development funding to support the decarbonisation of the energy system.  Proposals are sought from across the following research areas:

  • Ocean energy – wave, tidal, offshore wind, floating solar
  • Bio-energy – anaerobic digestion, biogas production, upgrading and bio-fuel production
  • Energy systems – community / local energy, grid stabilisation, ancillary and distribution system operator services, demand side management, geothermal heating/cooling, integrated supply chains and Power-to-X

Martin Doherty concluded,

“We would particularly welcome Pathfinder project applications which tackle technical, environmental, policy and social acceptance barriers in technologies which have been verified to TRL 6. These projects should aim to realise significant impacts across the wider supply chain, involve researchers from both technical and social science subject areas and may involve funding requests in excess of £375k.”

Interested organisations should contact Martin Doherty ([email protected]) or Simon Murray ([email protected]) for an initial discussion and/or to receive an Application Form.

All CASE projects are collaborative, involving both partners from at least of one of the three Research providers who are signatories to the CASE Participation Agreement (Queen’s University, Ulster University and the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute), working with industrial partners.

A minimum of two industrial partners are required for small scale feasibility projects, with a timeline of six months and receiving CASE funding of no more than £37,500 (total project cost £50,000). For all other projects, a minimum of three industrial partners must participate in the project.

CASE projects are funded at 75%, with 100% of the funding received by the research providers and 25% in-kind contribution from the industrial partners. Where a project involves partners from outside of Northern Ireland, links to relevant government strategy and the benefit of the project to the Northern Ireland economy must be clear and will be interrogated during the selection process.

There is no upper limit to eligible project sizes; but projects with values in excess of £500k (£375k of funding) will be subject to an external verification process before letters of offer can be issued.

Industry partners pay a membership fee to CASE of £550 per annum (additional membership benefits can be found on the CASE website) and also contribute to the cost of their project;

  • 1% of academic project costs for small companies (<50 employees)
  • 2% of academic project costs for medium companies (>49 employees)
  • 4% of academic project costs for large companies (>250 employees)