Ofwat Announce Decision on Innovation Funding

Following consultation between May-June 2020, Ofwat have published their final decisions on how it will design and implement its £200 million innovation competition fund.  It will be delivered using two types of annual competitions.  The competitions complement Ofwat’s wider approach to innovation and the water sector’s own draft ‘UK 2050 Water innovation strategy’, which they published in June.

After seeking feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, Ofwat has reached the following conclusions on how the fund and competitions will work:

  • The fund can be accessed directly by water and wastewater companies and new entrants (NAVs). Other parties can access the funding indirectly through collaborative bids with one or more companies or new entrants.
  • There will be two strands of the competition – the innovation in water challenge and the main competition.
  • The innovation in water challenge will be a Dragons Den-style competition for smaller projects, which will particularly interest supply chain businesses who might not always get the opportunity to pitch to big businesses.
  • The main competition will be for larger, strategic projects involving cross-water company collaboration, as well as with other stakeholders in the water sector and beyond.  
  • We expect to open the innovation in water challenge in January 2021 and the main competition in April 2021.

Ofwat is now identifying an innovation fund partner through a tender process to help it run the competitions and will be releasing further details in the autumn.

More detail can be found here.