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Research and Development Fund: Open Call

Details of the first call of the EforA Research and Development Fund and the organisations that received funding.

About the Open Call

The Efficiency for Access (EforA) Research and Development Fund (R&D Fund) launched its first open call in November 2018 for innovative off- and weak-grid appliance technology or products with a strong potential to benefit for end-users and promote social inclusion.

The 2019 open call aimed to cast a wide net for impactful projects and provide Efficiency for Access with market intelligence on emerging technologies and the barriers and issues they face. The R&D Fund committed to supporting a wide range of technologies and products from cross-cutting horizon and enabling technologies to near-to-market products.


Efficiency for Access received 65 applications for the 2019 open call. Of the 65 applications, 41 projects totalling £5.1m were deemed eligible for review. A panel of experts reviewed the 41 projects and shortlisted 12 projects for due diligence. A portfolio approach was employed to ensure funding was spread across technology areas, geographic locations, stages of R&D, and project lengths and costs.

In early 2019, Efficiency for Access, through the UK aid Low-Energy Inclusive Appliances Programme, supported nine projects totalling over £1m in funding. An additional £680,000 in matched funding was unlocked from the nine recipients.

The 2019 open call also received 13 cooking appliance applications. Of those 13 applications, 12 were assessed in partnership with the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme and six projects were awarded funding totalling approximately £750,000 from the MECS programme.

Please see our first call Infographic and Insights page for more.

Winning Organisations

The winning projects seek to unlock commercial viability of both near-to-market products and horizon technology. The winning organisations are:

  • BBOXX - Iron for the off-grid market
  • M-KOPA - Smart batteries that enable DC appliances
  • Solaris Offgrid - Open source standardised Pay-As-You-Go communication protocol
  • Agsol - Smarter, efficient solar enabled mill
  • Sure Chill - Improved controls for off-grid domestic refrigerators
  • DGrid Energy - Solar powered cold chain for farmers
  • Innovex Uganda - Improved remote monitoring of appliances
  • Basil Energetics - Highly efficient, low cost motors for off-grid appliances

The projects will include field trials to take place in a number of countries over the next two years, including Kenya, Uganda, Togo, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The last project is set to finish in April 2021.

For more details of each project, please read our Project Spotlights Report