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£4.5 million Green Innovation Challenge Fund

A £4.5 million award Green Innovation Challenge Fund (GICF) has been launched to help Northern Ireland reach the Net Zero Energy goals outlined in the NI Energy Strategy 2021.

This Fund is led by the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) as delivery partner for 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 is the third round of funding which will be distributed through GICF and CASE has now reopened calls to support research projects. The deadline for submissions is 5 May 2023.

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 will 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.”

To date CASE has allocated approximately £2.4m to 10 research projects involving Queen’s University, Ulster University, AFBI and 34 companies. The projects will investigate a wide range of issues that will help decarbonise NI energy. The research impact and outcomes will benefit the project consortium and the wider Northern Ireland economy.

Innovation support continues to be available for CASE Member companies through the Department for the Economy’s Green Innovation Challenge Fund – pilot program. The fund aims to further the objectives of the 10X Economic Vision, Green Growth Strategy, Northern Ireland’s Energy Strategy “Path to net zero” and the Climate Change Act (NI) 2022 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 calling for 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, geothermal, grid stabilisation, ancillary and distribution system operator services, demand side management, integrated supply chains and Power-to-X.

Martin Doherty concluded: “We would particularly welcome Pathfinder project applications which tackle technical, environmental, economic and business management, 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.”

Further details on the funding criteria are available at

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


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