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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

1.   Higher education institutions (HEIs) are invited to submit applications for funding from the second round of the institutional small project (ISP) strand of the Revolving Green Fund (RGF). The deadline for an expression of interest is midday on 27 March 2009.

2.   HEIs were invited to apply to the two strands of the RGF in summer 2008 (HEFCE Circular letter 20/2008). Thirty institutions will be receiving allocations from the ISP fund, and seven have submitted an application at stage two of the transformational fund. Successful applications to the transformational fund will be announced in March 2009.

3.   In this second round of the ISP fund, HEFCE and Salix Finance Limited1 are together providing approximately £5 million. Institutions will be required to contribute an additional 25 per cent of the value of their allocation.

4.   As in the first round (HEFCE Circular letter 20/2008), institutions will receive ring-fenced money from the ISP fund to spend on carbon-saving projects. Financial savings from funded projects are repaid into the ring-fenced fund held by the institution for re-investment in further projects. Once the original project investment is repaid to the fund institutions are free to keep the ongoing savings. The institution does not have to repay the money loaned while it continues to re-invest savings in eligible projects.

5.   Salix has experience of running this type of funding scheme, and we have contracted it to manage the RGF on our behalf.

6.   Following feedback from the first round, the application process has been made shorter and simpler and we are working with Salix to reduce the administrative burden of the conditional grant agreement.

Assessment criteria

7.   The assessment criteria for the ISP will be:

  • the number of 'ready to go' projects at the time of the application which meet the payback and lifetime of carbon criteria2. These are conditions of Salix's funding and are therefore fixed
  • the presence of appropriate energy management expertise and institutional capability to manage the fund effectively.

How to apply for this round

Who is eligible?

8.   All HEIs funded by HEFCE are eligible to apply, except those institutions that have already been awarded funding through the ISP fund.

The application process

9.   Expression of interest forms and guidance notes are available on the Salix Finance web-site. The time scale for the process is below.

Midday on 27 March 2009 Deadline for submitting expression of interest
April 2009 Seminars (see paragraph 10)
May / June 2009 Induction onto the scheme
July 2009 First payments to the successful applicants

Seminars

10.   Institutions submitting expression of interests are invited to one of the half day seminars taking place in April 2009. This will include a presentation on the operation of the fund and a structured interview with Salix to determine an HEI's suitability to manage a fund. Further information on the nature of the structured interview is available in the guidance notes on the Salix web-site. Numbers will be limited at each seminar to ensure that no institution has to wait more than 30 minutes between sessions. The expression of interest form allows you to specify your choice of seminar, and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The seminar dates are:

  • University of Leeds - 2 April
  • HEFCE Bristol office - 8 April
  • Manchester Metropolitan University - 9 April
  • HEFCE Centre Point office, London - 15 April
  • HEFCE Centre Point office, London - 20 April.

11.   A successful outcome from the interview will lead to acceptance to the ISP fund. Further guidance on the operation of the fund will then be provided by Salix.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004

12.   HEFCE is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs), which give a public right of access to information held by a public authority. Much of the information provided to us in applications to the RGF will fall within the meaning of 'environmental information' as defined in the EIRs.

13.   This may result in applications, communications between us, Salix and the institution, information arising from this work, or the outputs from the work undertaken being subject to disclosure if a valid request is made to us. We will comply with such requests in accordance with the relevant legislation and our own policies.

14.   Institutions can, if they wish, provide potentially sensitive information (such as trade secrets or information relating to commercial interests) in a separate annex attached to the expression of interest form. This will highlight to us that there are concerns over disclosure.

15.   Where we consider it to be appropriate and practicable we will seek the views of applicants before disclosing this information. The applicant acknowledges that information provided in the annex is of indicative value only and that HEFCE may nevertheless be obliged to disclose this information. Our assumption will be that all information in the main expression of interest document can be disclosed upon request.

16.   Further information about FOI can be found on the Information Commissioner's web-site. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provide guidance on the Environmental Information Regulations on its web-site.

Yours sincerely

Professor David Eastwood
Chief Executive


Notes

1.   Salix Finance Limited is an independent, publicly funded company set up to accelerate public sector investment in energy efficiency technologies through invest-to-save schemes. Salix has funding from the Carbon Trust and works with local authorities, NHS foundation trusts, higher and further education institutions and central Government.

2.   Further information on these criteria is available in the application guidance notes on the Salix Finance web-site.

Date: 24 February 2009

Ref: Circular letter 04/2009

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Enquiries should be directed to:

Joanna Simpson, tel 0117 931 7411, e-mail sustainabledevelopment@hefce.ac.uk