Net Zero Infrastruture

Share your big ideas

You have an innovative idea. A brilliant, commercially viable proposal that touches on today’s global challenges. To turn it into reality, you need some external support.

At Dorset LEP, we’ll help put you in pole position to compete for essential government funding.

We are seeking outline business cases for proposals in two critical areas: healthy ageing and net zero infrastructure.

Submissions are now closed as of 09:00 on 5 October 2021.

Call for proposals - August 2021

This project call is now closed as of 09:00 on 5 October 2021.

In seeking outline business case proposals from organisations, we aim to put our county at the forefront of tacking two of humanity’s greatest challenges. As well as being critical to Dorset, the themes of healthy ageing and net zero sustainability align with the new UK Innovation Strategy which identifies both as national areas of priority.

Priority 1: One Health - Ageing Population (including digital health)

Proposals can include commercial innovations to tackle conditions in, for example, back or neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, depression or dementia. We will also welcome ideas for the development of support infrastructure related to ageing such as age-friendly SMART cities or other solutions involving urban or rural planning. Projects may focus on aspects of ageing touching on, for example, social care, mental wellbeing or loneliness and they may involve an active community contribution, whether voluntary or paid.

This is not an exhaustive list and we will consider all commercial innovations that address recognised age-related issues.

Priority 2: Low Carbon Energy Infrastructure

Here, we are looking for commercial innovations that help meet the UK’s net zero carbon ambition. They could be innovations in wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, marine and nuclear power, or net zero energy schemes, microgrids and so on. Applications can be in low carbon energy production as well as infrastructure such as housing or transport.

This is not an exhaustive list and we will consider all innovations in low carbon energy infrastructure aligned with the Dorset Low Carbon Investment Opportunities publication.

Outline Business Cases: What you need to know

While you may not have a fully refined business case, we do require a level of detail that explains how opportunities will have a transformative effect for people, places and businesses across Dorset. We're seeking exciting ideas that are worth public investment and realise a financial, economic, social and/or environmental return that will lead to increased productivity or growth in the region.

We're interested in projects ranging from £2 million to the region of £10 million, which require capital funding investment. You’ll need to provide a minimum 30% match-funded contribution (capital/revenue/in kind) through your own private, company or organisational funds. Match-funding using UK grants is not allowed. 

Your business case should address challenges and opportunities while aligning with strategic priorities identified in the following publications:

While you are encouraged to read these documents for a deeper understanding, we have summarised the key points to aid your research:

Please note this call for proposals is not linked to any specific capital funding from Dorset LEP. It is part of a rolling initiative to support investment opportunities across the region.

If you're at the early concept or business idea stages, please contact our business growth hub, Dorset Gateway, for development support.

Submission Support: Online workshops

Workshop 1: An introduction to Outline Business Case proposals, 09:30 - 10:30, Thursday 2 September 

This information session will guide potential applicants through the process and provide high-level information regarding the completion of outline business cases for this call.

View this online session on the Dorset LEP YouTube channel

Download the presentation slides for Workshop 1: An introduction to Outline Business Case proposals

Workshop 2: Outline Business Case - Writing Masterclass, 09:30 - 10:30, Wednesday 8 September

This writing masterclass will provide potential applicants with an in-depth understanding on what to include in your proposal.

View this online session on the Dorset LEP YouTube channel

Download the presentation slides for Workshop 2: Outline Business Case - Writing Masterclass

Key facts to consider

  • Development of an outline business case is at the applicant's own cost
  • Outline business cases need to be developed proportionally to the size of the project
  • Capital funding is not currently linked to this call
  • Shortlisted applicants will be required to produce a three-minute pitch video summarising the project highlights, ideally via smart phone - guidance will be provided
  • Not all shortlisted outline business cases are guaranteed to be taken forward, however for those that are selected, you will need to be in a position to develop a Full Business Case during November/December 2021.

Please read the below information before beginning your outline business case:


1. Criteria for business cases

We are looking for commercial innovations from organisations or consortiums where a Dorset asset such as a business or anchor institution is a funding beneficiary. Either way, the business case must meet the following criteria:


  • Proposals that fall within the two priority areas of ageing population or low carbon energy infrastructure and result in economic benefit for Dorset. Projects outside of these priority areas will not be considered.
  • Project proposals aligned with the appropriate priorities set out in Dorset Local Industrial Strategy, Dorset Living Well Investment ProspectusDorset Low Carbon Investment Opportunities, and HM Treasury Build Back Better - our plan for growth publications.
  • If it is a research and development project, the proposal must be in the categories of either early-stage industrial research (e.g. if technology solution - to Technology Readiness Level 4) or late-stage industrial research/market readiness (e.g. to Technology Readiness Level 7). This will be assessed against the UK Government’s definition of TRLs. This call does not support concept or feasibility stage projects. We need to ensure the TRL concept is translated for the business community who may be unfamiliar with this.
  • Innovative capital (CAPEX) project: proposals will only be supported where the current and future need for proposed built infrastructure or equipment costs have been clearly evidenced and Dorset LEP has deemed these to represent good value for money (VFM) against the Nation Audit Office’s definitions of VFM.
  • We're interested in projects ranging from £2 million to £10 million and which require capital funding investment. A minimum of 30% match-funding (capital/revenue/in kind) by the applicant must be provided through private/company/organisation funds. Match-funding using UK grants is not allowed in this competition. 

2. What to include

Proposals must be able to demonstrate:


  • A strong and deliverable outline business case that addresses and documents market potential and needs. You must provide an evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact in Dorset, return on investment and growth through commercialisation as soon as possible after project completion
  • A clear game-changing, disruptive, ambitious and deliverable idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • A team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • Awareness of all the main risks associated with the project including potential issues such as contractor or equipment failure or recruitment delays. Please explain how these risks can be managed and mitigated.
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the productivity of Dorset's economy, the regional economy, and the UK economy
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money.

3. Submission

  • Download and complete your submission using our Outline Business Case template - other formats will not be considered
  • Submit your Outline Business Case by emailing our programme management team
  • Submissions received after 09:00, Tuesday 5 October 2021 will not be considered.