UK registered organisations, can apply for a share of up to £2 million for collaborative research and development projects with Canadian organisations, resulting in innovative solutions for the ocean technologies sector.
This competition is open to collaborations between Canada and the UK only. To lead a UK application you must: be a UK registered business of any size work with a Canadian partner be or involve at least one UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) include one Canadian SME and at least one further organisation from either country
Opens: 11 September 2023
Closes: 18 October 2023
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with Canada’s Ocean Supercluster to invest a combined total up to £4 million in innovation projects that can involve a collaboration of industry and academia. The funding will support projects to deliver innovative outcomes in ocean technology.
Innovate UK will fund UK partners to collaborate with Canadian partners as our co-funding counterparts on industrial research projects, over a 12 month period.
This is stage 1 of a 2 stage competition.
1. Expression of Interest (EoI) (this competition): your proposal is reviewed by Innovate UK. Your Canadian partners’ proposal is reviewed by Ocean Supercluster Canada. Innovate UK and Ocean Supercluster are responsible for the decision to progress your EoI proposal to stage 2. There is no funding in this stage, funding will be awarded in stage 2.
2. Full stage application (FSA) (invite only): if you are successful in this EoI competition, you will be invited to apply to the full stage competition. Your proposal will be subject to an independent assessment by Innovate UK. Your Canadian partners’ proposal will be reviewed by Ocean Supercluster Canada. You will receive feedback on your application from Innovate UK. The Canadian partners in your project will receive feedback from Ocean Supercluster Canada.
The aim of this competition is to stimulate the development and implementation of innovative technologies in ocean technology, and to build technical capabilities required for the development and economically sustainable production of the next-generation of products and services.
The bilateral research and development (R&D) collaborations between the UK and Canada will enable both countries to be well positioned to respond to improvements in ocean technology.
Your project must focus on one of the following themes:
seaweed cultivation and production
carbon capture and storage
autonomous vessels or ocean systems
robotics & drones
ocean sensors and environmental monitoring
UK participants must be part of an application submitted to Innovate UK. Canadian partners must submit a parallel application to the Ocean Supercluster Competition.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. For UK applicants this competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
The total grant funding request for all UK partners can be between £165,000 and £500,000 for each application. The total funding request for all Canadian partners combined can be between CA$280,000 and CA$850,000 for each application.
Who can apply
Text update 13 September 2023: Additional guidance on involvement of partners from both countries removed to avoid confusion.
This application is for an Expression Of Interest (EoI). No funding will be awarded at this stage. If you are successful, then you will be invited to apply for funding in the full stage competition.
Your project must:
have a total grant funding request between £165,000 to £500,000 allocated to UK organisations
have a total grant funding request between CA$280,000 to CA$850,000 for Canadian partners
have no more than 60% of the total grant funding request allocated to UK organisations
have no more than 60% of the total grant funding request allocated to Canadian organisations
start by 1 June 2024
last up to 12 months
If your project’s total costs or start date fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.
Applications identified as not eligible by either Innovate UK or Ocean Supercluster will not be sent for assessment.
In order to receive any grant funding, your project proposal must be successful on both sides of the consortium and be invited to apply for the full stage. If successful at full stage, UK participants will receive grant funding from Innovate UK and Canadian participants will receive grant funding from Ocean Supercluster. UK participants must be part of an application submitted to Innovate UK. Canadian partners must submit a parallel application to Ocean Supercluster.
All businesses in a consortium must be separate legal and non-linked entities. This is to ensure that projects encourage genuine international collaboration, not internal company research. Linked companies are considered a single entity under the parent company.
Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.
You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
Under current restrictions, Innovate UK will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.
To meet its reporting requirements to the Federal Government, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC) requires all Participants to a Project Agreement who receive matched funding from the OSC to disclose to the best of their ability whether their organization has any business dealings with or in Russia, as contemplated in the Sanctions related to Russia imposed under the Special Economic Measures Act or otherwise. This may include ownership or investors; board membership; established operations in foreign economies, including via subsidiaries; joint ventures or other close business relationships; as well as arm’s length business relationships, such as sales.
Please note we may be required to share this information with the Government of Canada and, depending on the response, additional information may be requested.
To lead a UK application your organisation must:
be a UK registered business of any size
be or involve at least one grant claiming UK registered micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
partner with a Canadian registered SME, which must be a separate non-linked entity to the UK project partners
include at least one further eligible grant claiming partner from either the UK or Canada
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
All collaborations must include at least 3 eligible organisations from Canada and the UK as part of the project.
UK Team - To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:
business of any size
not for profit
public sector organisation
research and technology organisation (RTO)
Each UK partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs in the application.
Canadian partners must not be invited onto Innovate UK’s IFS application platform. Their involvement in the project is listed as part of your answers to the questions. If you include a grant claiming Canadian partner in your IFS application you will be made ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.
To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.
Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK or Canada and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK or Canada.
You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK and Canadian contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.
All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
Number of applications
A UK business of any size can lead on one application and partner on two further applications.
Other UK organisations can collaborate on any number of applications.
You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.
We will not award you funding if you have:
failed to exploit a previously funded project
an overdue independent accountant’s report
failed to comply with grant terms and conditions
Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)
The full stage competition will provide funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk).
Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.
EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.
If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.
You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.
Innovate UK and Canada’s Ocean Supercluster will invest a combined total of up to £4 million to fund innovation projects in the full stage of this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.
Each country will fund its eligible participants according to their national procedure and funding rules. Funding conditions and eligibility criteria may vary between UK and Canada. However, the bilateral joint cooperation between the partners and its added value is an important aspect to be considered within the evaluation.
As a UK partner, if your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.
For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
up to 50% if you are a large organisation
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 micro or small organisation
up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
up to 25% if you are a large organisation
Please note: there is a flat 50% rate for Canadian organisations.
For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance.
If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.
Research participation for UK applicants
The UK research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the UK partners total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:
80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation
See the Canadian call page for more information in English and French for Canadian eligibility and funding rules.