• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £3m in collaborative R&D projects to stimulate the development of systems that can reduce emissions and improve efficiency of marine vessels.

  • Programme: Collaborative research and development

  • Award: Up to £5m

  • Opens: 06 Jan 2014, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 26 Feb 2014, 12:00

  • Closes: 05 Mar 2014, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Vessel Efficiency II - better systems at sea

Competition results

See here for the competition results.


Updated: Friday, 7 February 2014
Dstl logoDstl have contributed £2m to this competition. The total amount of funding for this competition is now £5m. 
The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £3m in collaborative R&D projects to stimulate the development of systems that can reduce emissions and improve efficiency of marine vessels. 
The aim of the competition is to build collaboration across the marine and maritime sector, improving the viability of supply chains, ensuring continuity of supply, and creating opportunities for smaller businesses. 
We are seeking proposals from companies that are targeting the leisure, naval and commercial/merchant marine markets, and that have expertise in voyage performance management and vessel system technologies. 
Proposals must be collaborative and business-led. We expect to fund industrial research projects, in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). 
We expect projects to range in size from total costs of £500k to £1.5m. 
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 6 January 2014. The deadline for all expressions of interest is noon on 5 March 2014
A briefing event for potential applicants will be held on 14 January 2014 and consortium-building events will be held before the competition opens. 


Our first marine-specific collaborative R&D competition, Vessel efficiency: piloting UK marine and maritime innovation, proved the industry's capability to develop innovative projects to make vessels more efficient. This second competition will build on that success. 
We share the vision set out by the UK Marine Industries Alliance that ‘by 2020 the UK marine industries will be renowned for the quality and value for money of their high technology products, systems and services globally, and for their overall and substantial contribution to the UK's economic, environmental and social wellbeing'  - A strategy for growth for the UK Marine Industries, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The companies in this sector generate £18.9bn gross value added (GVA) per year, employ 367,000 people and contribute £4.7bn annually to the UK economy. According to the strategy for growth, greater co-operation could see the sector being worth some £25bn GVA by 2020. 
If they are to achieve this growth, however, UK companies need to innovate continually in order to exploit opportunities and meet future industry challenges. 
Environmental factors, in particular, can provide business opportunities for those UK companies able to offer innovative solutions. The International Maritime Organization has developed initiatives including the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and progressively more stringent exhaust emission regulations. These requirements, in addition to rising oil prices, are driving the industry's development towards increasingly efficient vessels.


This competition will fund projects within voyage performance management and vessel system technologies across all sectors of the UK marine industry. 
Within voyage performance management, this could include, but is not limited to, the development of: 
  • the human/machine interface, including decision support tools, on-vessel data management and marine ICT 
  • voyage optimisation for specific objectives, such as voyage speed or minimum fuel consumption 
  • satellite applications 
  • autonomous systems and sensors 
  •  vessel condition management 
  • modelling and simulation tools to provide accurate predictive methods for vessel performance and operation. 
In relation to vessel system technologies, it could include, but is not limited to, the development of: 
  • emissions reduction systems and management 
  • innovative energy production, management and storage 
  • reduction of onboard power demand 
  • fuel consumption monitoring and optimisation 
  • minimal-loss propulsion systems. 
Projects must demonstrate technologies that deliver significant fuel, system energy or operational efficiency improvements and/or emissions reductions, compared to the best technologies currently available.
The projects should include research or critical investigation aimed at the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes or services, or for bringing about a significant improvement in existing products, processes or services. They should act as a catalyst for marketable solutions and so enable business-led innovation to bridge the gap between academia and business. Each project should involve a careful consideration of how any intellectual property will be handled and secured within the UK, for exploitation by and to the overall benefit of the UK economy. 
The benefits arising from the funded projects are expected to include: 
  • the successful exploitation of new ideas to drive economic growth 
  • increased collaboration within the UK industry 
  • encouragement of cross-sector knowledge transfer 
  • a focus on innovation for industry growth 
  • increased UK business access to national and international markets 
  • the successful overcoming of challenges in vessel emission reduction and improved fuel efficiency. 

Funding allocation and project details

We have allocated up to £3m to fund collaborative R&D projects that address the technical challenges outlined in the scope. 
Successful project participants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we pay varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and the type of organisation involved.
For this competition projects must be business-led and collaborative. They should last between 12 and 36 months. We are primarily seeking to fund industrial research, with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). We expect projects to range in size from £500k to £1.5m, although projects outside this range will be considered. 
We expect that the competition funding will encourage greater collaboration between academia and business, develop supply chains within the industry, and also facilitate an element of cross-sector knowledge transfer. The funding is expected to encourage the transfer of innovation from civil to defence applications and vice versa, as some of the technologies that are required to create a more efficient vessel are common across the marine and maritime industries. Overall, we will be seeking to fund a balanced portfolio of projects.

Looking for partners to work on your project? 

Go to _connect to find collaborators and networks. 

Application process

This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 6 January 2014
Stage 1 – Applicants submit an expression of interest, which is assessed. 
Stage 2 – We invite selected applicants to submit an application. 
All applicants must first register via our website by noon on 26 February 2014. The deadline for expressions of interest is noon on 5 March 2014
The second-stage deadline for invited applications is at noon on 7 May 2014
Applications are assessed on individual merit by an independent panel of experts. We may apply a portfolio approach across the themes/areas involved. 
A briefing for potential applicants will be held in London on 14 January 2014 to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. 
Applicants are strongly recommended to attend this event. 
Note: All deadlines are at noon. 
Each partner in a collaborative R&D project can receive funding towards their project costs – the funding is a percentage of the total eligible project costs and varies, depending on the type of organisation and the type of research. See general guidance on how projects are funded 

More information

To apply you must first register with us. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications. 

Key dates

  • Competition opens: 6 January 2014
  • Competition briefing: 14 January 2014
  • Registration deadline: 26 February 2014 noon
  • Expressions of interest (EOI) deadline: 5 March 2014 noon
  • Stage 2 opens for invited applicants: 24 March 2014
  • Deadline for invited applications: 7 May 2014 noon


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. 
The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public. 
Email pressoffice@tsb.gov.uk with any queries.