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MECS-SC2 (Sparking the Cooking Supply Chain)

Pre-Launch Document

Competition overview 

The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) challenge fund provides research funding to stimulate innovations in modern energy cooking technology and systems. In addition, MECS supports the advancement of innovative clean energy cooking products, processes, and services in low-income countries that are appropriate and acceptable to users.

The new ‘Sparking the Cooking Supply Chain’ (SC2) competition is the latest in a series of challenge funds that the MECS programme has engaged with.  Previous funds have prompted innovation, early research, and piloting, all of which seek to rapidly accelerate the transition from biomass to clean cooking, particularly modern energy cooking services, on a global scale. SC2 competition builds on this progression of interest by seeking to explicitly strengthen electric cooking supply chains. This new competition enables the MECS programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and delivered by Loughborough University, to address key barriers to electric cooking uptake by understanding what works and what doesn’t in terms of supply chain activation. 

Launching on 12th August 2022, the competition seeks to fund research projects that will deliver a minimum of 1,500 energy efficient electric cooking appliances into homes or businesses.   Our research so far suggests that electric pressure cookers (EPCs) are the ‘front running candidate’ for this outreach, but we will consider any efficient electrical cooking appliance. Combinations of more than one device are acceptable if a strong case is made.

The core research question for the SC2 competition is;

How can the use of energy efficient ecooking appliances be accelerated by creating a sustainable supply chain with associated demand stimulation?

The key aim of the SC2 competition is:

To develop and implement a detailed sustainable supply chain activation plan.

This competition is a 3-phase project, starting with a 5-month formative research inception stage. Progression between the phases (i.e. phase 1 to 2 and phase 2 to 3) will be competitive and dependent on overall success of the previous phase.  Multiple projects will be funded.

Total duration will be 35 months. Total funding available is £550,000.

Match funding (financial or in-kind) and demonstrating links to other funding programmes is desirable. The finance element of your application will be preferentially scored if this is secured.

Eligible Organisations

Organisations (of any size, from any country) who can acquire (import, assemble, or manufacture) and distribute (e.g. sell for cash, sell on credit, PAYG, subsidised1 etc) a minimum of 1,500 efficient electrical cooking appliances to kickstart and research the ‘next step’ in creating a viable supply chain in a given country. Projects that progress to Phase 3 will need to demonstrate the capacity to distribute a further 2000 devices (minimum).
Consortiums of organisations are also eligible, but there must be one lead organisation identified.
The research much take place in one of the eligible countries listed here;
Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo (Democratic Republic of the), Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania (United Republic of), Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Limitations
• One proposal per organisation.
• Organisations can only be named on one proposal (as either the lead or consortium member). If an organisation is a core consortium member on more than one proposal all of them will be rejected. A consortium member is defined as a partner who is actively involved in the implementation. Suppliers of devices and suppliers of specialist research capability can provide their services to multiple projects.
• Proposals suggesting working in more than one country will be rejected.

1 Please note that we acknowledge ‘free’ distribution by the use of carbon finance and/or Results Based Financing is potentially possible, but such an approach has to be considered in the light of a breadth of learning over the last 30 years on household use of ‘free’ kit. A strongly subsidised approach needs to have a strong rationalisation as to why it should be researched.