UK registered organisations, in collaboration with Canadian organisations, can apply for a share of up to £6.5 million for collaborative research and development projects, resulting in innovative solutions for the plant-based protein sector.
collaborate with at least one Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise and one other business which may be from the UK or Canada involve at least one UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
Opens: 18 September 2023
Closes: 1 November 2023
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with Protein Industries Canada (PIC) to invest up to £6.5 million in innovation projects.
The aim of this Expression of Interest (EoI) competition is to find the best proposals to be put forward to the full application stage of the competition.
The aim of the full stage competition is to support the development of the plant-based protein sector. The objective is to meet global consumer demands for alternative proteins and to create export opportunities for the technologies, products and services developed.
Projects must include the use of plant-based proteins from crops that have potential for deployment at scale across Canadian and UK food and feed supply chains. This can include, but is not limited to:
Your project can consider innovations that utilise high-protein crops in combination with other plant-based proteins, for example potato and hemp. You can also consider other innovations that help enhance plant-based products, for example oils or fats derived from cellular or acellular fermentation.
Your proposal must focus on one or more of these five areas:
ingredients - the development, scaling and optimisation of plant-based ingredients
products - the conversion of high protein crops, ingredients and co-products into consumption-ready goods
adding value or enhancing quality - innovations to improve the nutritional quality, consumer acceptability, sustainability, and safety of plant-based products
animal feed or pet food applications – innovation related to uses focused on plant-based pet food and animal feed
co-product stream management - innovations to add value to by-products produced during the processing of crops and related ingredients for plant-based product manufacture
This is stage 1 of a 2 stage competition.
Expression of interest (EoI) (this competition): There is no funding in this stage.
Full stage application (FSA): if you are successful in this EoI competition, you will be invited to apply to the full stage competition.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
If successful in the EoI stage, your full stage UK application’s total grant funding request must not exceed £1.5 million.
Who can apply
Your UK project must:
have a maximum grant funding request of £1.5 million
last between 12 and 18 months
start by 1 September 2024
end by 28 February 2026
carry out the majority of your project work in the UK
intend to exploit the results from the UK
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, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.
Your project must have a balanced contribution of the total eligible project costs among the partners from the participating partner countries. No more than 70% of the total project costs can be claimed by partners from a single participating country.
If any of the following falls outside of this competition’s eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes:
total grant funding request
the cost balance between UK and Canadian organisations
Innovate UK and Protein Industries Canada (PIC) will decide whether to approve your request.
If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be progressed.
To lead a UK project your organisation must:
be a UK registered business of any size
collaborate with at least one Canadian registered SME that holds a current PIC membership
collaborate with at least one other business, from the UK or Canada
be or involve at least one UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
The consortium must include at least three businesses. 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.
Academic institutions and RTOs cannot lead.
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 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 the Innovation Funding Service. They are responsible for entering their own project costs in the application.
You must not invite your collaborating Canadian partners onto the Innovate UK’s IFS application platform. Their involvement in the project is listed as part of your answers to the questions.
PIC eligibility criteria is available on the PIC website in English and French.
UK participants must be part of an application submitted to Innovate UK. Canadian partners must submit a parallel application to the PIC programme.
UK applications will be assessed by Innovate UK. Your Canadian partners’ proposal is reviewed by PIC. Innovate UK and PIC are responsible for the decision to progress your EoI proposal to the full stage. There is no funding in this stage; funding will be awarded in the full stage.
UK participants will receive grant funding from Innovate UK and Canadian participants will receive grant funding from PIC.
Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and Canada and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
You can use subcontractors from other countries, but you 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 and evidence of the potential UK or Canadian contractors you approached, with the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use a subcontractor from a third country.
All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
Number of applications
A UK registered business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in two further applications.
If a UK registered business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to three applications.
An academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not for profit or public sector organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.
You cannot 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)
This competition provides 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.
Up to £6.5 million from Innovate UK and CA$10 million from Protein Industries Canada (PIC) has been allocated to fund innovation projects in the Full Stage Application (FSA) 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.
No more than 70% of the total project costs can be claimed by partners from a single participating country.
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
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.
The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the 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
Canadian partners must hold a current PIC membership. To receive any grant funding in the full stage competition and continue as a feasible project, the project proposal must be successful on both sides of the consortium.
Canadian organisations must apply through the PIC website by the 1 November 2023.
Competition documentation, eligibility criteria and application information is available on the PIC website in English and French.