UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £32 million for innovation projects that can improve productivity in key sectors through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This funding is from the Technologies Mission Fund.
This competition is open to collaborations only. To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.
Opens: 27 September 2023
Closes: 8 November 2023
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £32 million in innovation projects.
The aim of this competition is to support the development and adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) solutions in the priority sectors of transport, construction, agriculture and creative industries.
Your proposal must:
identify an end user for your solution within one of the priority sectors
clearly indicate how your solution will improve business productivity or efficiency in one of the priority sectors
demonstrate how key partners will facilitate the commercialisation of research
This competition is split into 2 strands:
collaborative R&D projects (this strand)
It is your responsibility to ensure you submit your application to the correct strand for your project. You will not be able to transfer your application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £700,000 and £1.2 million.
Who can apply
Your project must:
have a grant funding request between £700,000 and £1.2 million
last between 10 and 12 months
carry out all of its project work in the UK
intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
start on 1 April 2024
end by 31 March 2025
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.
To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
You must involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), one large enterprise and one academic institution or RTO.
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 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 and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.
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 but they are limited to no more than 20% of each project partner’s total grant request.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK 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.
You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK 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 business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.
A business that is not leading on an application can collaborate in a total of 2 applications. An RTO, Academic Institution or Public Sector Organisation can collaborate in 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 £32 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.
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 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