Second round of Water Breakthrough Challenge to open in October

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The second round of the Water Breakthrough Challenge will open at 9am on 11 October 2021, with two streams of funding available for innovative initiatives which ‘deliver benefits for customers, society and the environment’, Ofwat has announced.

According to the water regulator, in response to feedback from the sector, ‘Breakthrough 2’ will bring together elements from the first rounds of both the Water Breakthrough Challenge and the Innovation in Water Challenge.

The organisers are set to provide ‘a unified and streamlined process for water companies in England and Wales and their partners to access the Fund.’

As part of Breakthrough 2, water companies in England and Wales will be able to bid for funding through two streams:

  • Up to £5 million is available for entries seeking funding of between £100,000 – £1 million through the Catalyst Stream. Similarly to the Innovation in Water challenge, initiatives funded through the Catalyst stream can be at any stage, but should at least reach the ‘prototyping’ stage over the course of the initiative. The Catalyst Stream will close for entries at 12pm, 8th of December 2021.
  • Up to £30 million is available for entries seeking funding of between £1 million – £10 million through the Transform Stream. Similarly to Breakthrough 1, initiatives can be at any stage at the time of entry, but should include delivering tangible benefits for customers, society or the environment within the delivery period. Stage 1 of the Transform Stream will close for entries at 12pm 16th of November 2021. Stage 2 entries will open on 15 December 2021 and close at 12pm 8th of February 2022.

Both streams of the Water Breakthrough Challenge will be open to entries from water companies in England and Wales, including NAVs, but they can partner or form a group with any organisation to enter.

Led by Ofwat, the Innovation Fund is being delivered by Nesta Challenges, in partnership with Arup and Isle Utilities.

More information about Breakthrough 2 is available on the Water Innovation website.