Overview

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing, innovative or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation.

Scope

This competition provides funding for innovation research and development (R&D) from feasibility (including market research), through to technology or prototype testing and development stages up to (but not including) commercialisation.

All proposals must be business focused, rather than pure research. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy.

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing, innovative and/or disruptive and ambitious idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • an idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays and so on) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions

Proposals from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale-up are welcomed.

Where possible, projects should take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions.

Exclusions

Innovate UK will not fund proposals that:

  • do not meet the competition scope
  • do not address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  • do not evidence the potential for their idea or concept to lead to significant return on investment (ROI), positive economic impact, growth and scale-up of the business

Eligibility

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK-based business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from the UK
  • be an SME if you want to work alone
  • include an SME if you want to collaborate with others (businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations and/or charities

All applications must include at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME).

Single applicants must claim funding. If the project is collaborative, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

An academic institution cannot lead on an application or work alone.

To collaborate on a project you must fulfil the criteria above and include an SME. Collaborators can be UK based businesses, academic organisations, charities, public sector organisations or RTOs.

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £25 million to fund a number of innovation projects in this competition.

For feasibility studies and industrial research, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Project durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.

Project durations between 19 months and 3 years must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.

If you want to submit a project between 19 months and 3 years with total project costs between £2 million and £3 million as a permitted exception, you must email support@innovateuk.ukri.org with full justification at least 10 days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve your request.

Projects must start by 6 January 2020 and end no later than 6 January 2023.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.