United Kingdom

UK-Canada matchmaking for Critical Minerals R&D Competition

Welcome to matchmaking for UK-Canada Critical Minerals R&D Competition

Welcome to the virtual matchmaking platform for prospective UK and Canadian applicants to the UK-Canada Critical Minerals R&D Competition.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to invest in UK-Canada collaborative innovation projects to assist the development and commercialisation of circular solutions for critical minerals. To be eligible for funding, UK and Canadian applicants must find collaboration partners and apply for funding from their respective national funding agencies. Further details on the competition scope, eligibility and funding rules are outlined below.

This b2match platform is your opportunity to find potential collaboration partners by posting a profile about your innovation, your project idea, and the type of organisation you would like to collaborate with.

The platform is open to organisations from both the UK and Canada which meet the competition’s scope and eligibility (see below).

Please note: this platform does not constitute an application to the competition – it is for finding potential partners only. Use the links below to learn more.

UK-Canada Critical Minerals Online Matchmaking Event

On Wednesday 15th November 2023 and Thursday 16th of November 2023 we held the first element of matchmaking during the UK-Canada Critical Minerals Online Matchmaking Event. Presentations from the event will be made available soon on the following tab: UK-Canada Critical Minerals Online Matchmaking Event

Am I eligible for this R&D competition? 

This competition is open to collaborations between UK and Canadian projects only.

UK and Canadian projects will be between 12 to 24 months in duration. UK projects must apply for grant funding from Innovate UK, with Canadian projects applying directly via NRC IRAP. UK and Canadian applicants must demonstrate significant and meaningful UK-Canadian collaboration. The competition will open on 20th November 2023 and will close on 3rd April 2024.

Canadian SME applicants must be eligible for funding as NRC IRAP clients before they can be considered for funding through this call for proposals. For more information on NRC IRAP eligibility and becoming an NRC IRAP client, please contact NRC IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.

Canadian SME must register by 15th December 2024 and submit an EOI form by 12th January 2024. Qualifying Canadian applicants will be invited to submit the more detailed international consortium project proposal in collaboration with their UK project partners.

For full details of the competition, including scope, eligibility, and funding rules, please follow these links: 

Please note: the R&D competition application process has specific requirements, so please refer to the links above for application process, scope, eligibility, and funding rules.

A briefing event will be held to explain things in more detail. Details to join the briefing event will be posted here soon.

Which technologies are in scope for the joint R&D competition?

The aim of this competition is to foster and support collaborative research and development (CR&D) in critical minerals through UK and Canadian partnerships.

Your joint UK and Canadian project must focus on innovative technologies that enable the development and commercialisation of circular solutions for critical minerals and their supply chains. The project focus should be on critical minerals and not on the end application performance. Your proposal must focus on one or more of the following five themes:

1.     Enhanced Circularity in Critical Minerals - Battery Systems

For example:

  • Improving recovery or efficiency of recovery of critical minerals from battery systems, for example cobalt, nickel, lithium, manganese, from black mass

  • Improving recovery or efficiency of recovery of new critical mineral streams from battery waste, for example graphite, silicon, phosphates

2. Enhanced Circularity in Critical Minerals - High Performance Permanent Magnets (HPPM)

For example:

  • Safe and economic identification, collection, sorting, separation, dismantling of rare earth element (REE) containing end-of-life products

  • Novel and sustainable routes for processing of recovered REE critical minerals

3. Sustainable Use of Critical Minerals – Processing & Manufacturing

For example:

  • Novel manufacturing methods and processes across the value chain (from mine to end-product for use in battery systems or high-performance permanent magnet applications) to enhance circularity and sustainability of critical minerals

4. Sustainable Use of Critical Minerals – Reduction in Use

For example:

  • Novel approaches to reduce reliance on existing critical minerals

  • Complete substitution of critical minerals and systems

5. Innovations in Environmental, Societal, Governance (ESG) for Critical Minerals

For example:

  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and sustainability models for LCA of critical minerals and systems

  • Measurement and accounting for embedded carbon, radioactivity and other environmental and societal impacts of REE

  • Provenance, for example material passports, digitization or traceability of critical minerals and systems

The examples listed for each theme are not exhaustive. We particularly encourage projects that:

  • Involve consortia which span the supply chain of extraction, refining or processing, manufacturers, integrators and end user businesses

  • Seek to progress innovative and scalable technologies from laboratory prototypes to industry ready systems for commercial use

Critical material definition

For the purposes of this competition ‘critical minerals’ are defined as either:

  1. Critical minerals identified as either ‘high criticality’ (17 critical minerals plus the rare earth elements group) or identified in the first ‘watch list’ (5 critical minerals) in the Resilience for the Future: The United Kingdom’s Critical Minerals Strategy published on 22 July 2022.

  2. Critical minerals identified (29 critical minerals plus the rare earth elements and platinum group metals group) in Annex A of the Canadian critical minerals strategy published on 09 December 2022.

Key dates

Competition opens: 20th November 2023

Partner Networking event: 15th November 2023 and 16th November 2023

Applicant briefing:  23rd November 2023 – A link to join will be posted here soon. A link to the recording will be posted on IFS under the “Dates” tab for this competition

Canadian EOI registration deadline: 15th December 2023

Canadian EOI submission deadline: 12th January 2024

Competition closes: 3rd April 2024

Applicants notified: 31st May 2024