Strategic Innovation Fund – Round Four Innovation Challenges


Publication date

Industry sector

  • Distribution Network
  • Transmission Network

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a funding mechanism within the RIIO-2 network price control for the Electricity System Operator, Electricity Transmission and Electricity Distribution, Gas Transmission and Gas Distribution sectors.

Working in partnership with Innovate UK, Ofgem aims to find and fund ambitious, innovative projects with the potential to accelerate the transition to net zero. These projects should help shape the future of the gas and electricity networks and succeed commercially where possible.

To do this, we set the strategic direction (using Innovation Challenges) for what the SIF will fund. An Expression of Interest (EOI) will be open from 8th March until 27th March. This EOI process will help innovators find the most suitable support through the ideation process. Innovators are then invited to submit ideas that can help to tackle these challenges via Innovate UK’s Innovation Funding Service portal which is open from the 1st May until 5th June 2024. Successful ideas will have an opportunity to pitch to the energy networks and submit applications for funding.

The fourth round of SIF Innovation Challenges will open to funding applications in September 2024.

Working with stakeholders, we have identified four Innovation Challenges:

  1. Faster network development
  2. Greater heat flexibility
  3. Embedding resilience
  4. Accelerating towards net zero energy network

Below we provide a detailed summary of our Innovation Challenges. This includes the process used to develop the Innovation Challenges and the scope and partnership requirements for each challenge. This documentation is issued before the Innovate UK portal opens for applications to provide those bidding with extra time to develop partnerships and project ideas.