Designing the first challenge rounds

08 Mar 2021

Ofwat has established the £200 million Innovation Fund to grow the water sector’s capacity to innovate, enabling it to better meet the evolving needs of customers, society and the environment. The Fund is now well underway and the first round of the £2 million Innovation in Water Challenge has just closed for entries. We are delighted to have received 61 entries to this inaugural IWC, all of which are a partnership between two or more organisations; showing a strong commitment to collaborative working across the sector.

We felt now would be a good time to share some details into our approach to the design for the first rounds.   

Through both the first round of Innovation in Water Challenge (IWC) and the first round of the upcoming £40 million competition, launching in May 2021, we are inviting a wide range of entries through an open approach. This as an opportunity for the water sector to showcase the breadth and ambition of innovation that the competitions can enable and shape the Fund’s future.  

Like the IWC, the upcoming £40 million competition will be open for you to shape entries, with broad entry eligibility and thematic focus: 

  • You will be able to enter with initiatives that focus on any of the five Ofwat Strategic Innovation Themes  
  • Water companies and NAVs must lead entries and can partner with any organisation within or outside the water sector. 

We are looking forward to receiving a wide range of entries that showcase how the sector is going beyond business as usual and trialing new approaches, processes and solutions to have a tangible impact in meeting the needs of customers, society and the environment now and into the future. 

We are continuing to listen and learn as we develop the water innovation challenges, and we expect the design of the competitions to evolve further as we learn from previous rounds.