Innovation Doctorate: Making an application

How it works

We accept applications from commercial organisations that propose hosting a PhD candidate.

With your academic partner, you should identify and submit a topic for your proposed research project. The ideal project duration is three years, and may not exceed four years. Once the topic is agreed:

  • With the involvement of InnoEnergy, you recruit a PhD candidate within 12 months of being selected.
  • You sign a project agreement with InnoEnergy.
  • The company signs a collaboration agreement with its academic partner.
  • The chosen PhD candidate enrols in the InnoEnergy PhD School Programme.
  • The company and its academic partners ensure they meet all relevant eligibility criteria set by any local, regional, or national institutions that are co-funding the project.
  • You kick off the research project, providing updates on progress as necessary.
  • At the end of the project, under the candidate’s lead the company must submit a proposal for an InnoEnergy Innovation Project that will be considered for further development and commercialisation.

What we look for

Below is our list of criteria. Your proposal should meet as many of these as possible. Details of how we weight these criteria are here, but if you have any questions about eligibility please contact us at

 Area of research:

  • The project topic must meet one of the InnoEnergy Energy challenges 
    • Is the research objective and work plan clearly described?
    • Is the pace towards innovation realistic?
    • How high is the investment from the company, in terms of time, supervision, and access to different business functions?

Quality of the PhD research:

  • Allocation of time needed to complete the PhD research work
    • Is the PhD project plan established?
  • Does the plan take into account time required for international placements, attending training courses, and annual conference?
    • Is there a balance between PhD research and innovation?
    • Is there a balance between academic publications and IP protection and/or technology transfer?
  • Benefit of the InnoEnergy PhD School
    • Is the InnoEnergy PhD School well understood?
    • Are there clear benefits for both the PhD candidate and other participants?
  • Addressed technology
    • Are the scientific and technological challenges to reach the market clearly defined?
    • Is the proposed new product or solution truly innovative?

 Quality of the innovation plan

  • Market knowledge
    • Has the potential customer need been well identified?
    • Does the proposal display convincing knowledge of the potential market, customers, and competitors?
  • Relevance of the partners and the partnership
    • Is the partnership between company and academic institution relevant to the project, in terms of knowledge, expertise, value chain, and competitors?
  • Project plan
    • Is the roadmap from lab to market well described?
    • How will the project benefit from InnoEnergy’s involvement?

Quality of the collaboration

  • Inputs and co-supervision of the PhD candidate
    • Are the respective roles clearly identified?
    • Is there previous experience with collaborative research?
    • What organisational processes for regular meetings, coaching, and decision-making have been established?
    • Has a detailed IP agreement been signed?

 Project management

  • Risk management
    • Have risks been identified and relevant mitigation plans established?

The application

The application process is quick and easy. The application form should not exceed four pages.

  • Check your proposal meets one of our Energy challenges.
  • Check you meet the eligibility criteria above.
  • Download and fill out the Application Form.
  • Download and sign the Statement of Understanding.
  • Send both to

All applications are assessed by the InnoEnergy evaluation committee, which meets once a year, usually in May.
Next application deadline is 30 April 2018.