UK registered businesses can apply for grant funding alongside private investment from selected investor partners.
This competition is open to single applicants only. To apply your organisation must: be a UK registered micro, small or medium sized business (SME) have been invited to apply by an investor from our pool of selected investor partners
Opens: 31 August 2023
Closes: 25 October 2023
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has selected a pool of investor partners.
These investor partners have demonstrated that they have the credibility, capability, capacity and appetite to invest in innovative, technology-led businesses that align with our programmes.
These programmes will focus on the future economy as described in our plan for action.
The future economy investor partnership programme brings together:
Innovate UK’s expertise in identifying innovation and using grant funding to change the risk profile of businesses
investor partners’ aligned funding and expertise in identifying opportunities and teams that can best use extra investment finance
This approach aims to provide you with support for research and development and access to the capital investment you need to develop and commercialise your innovations.
Innovate UK provides support for your investment readiness and for engaging with suitable investors via Innovate UK Edge and Innovate UK KTN. In the first instance you should contact Innovate UK Edge for support in understanding your readiness for investment and also to look at your wider strategy for growth.
You should also contact Innovate UK KTN to establish if there are specific programmes for connecting businesses in your sector to relevant investors. Support and connections to sector specific investors may also be provided by the relevant Catapults.
You will need to establish a relationship and a level of investment traction with one of our approved investor partners before you apply for funding. A full list of selected investor partners is provided at Innovate UK Investor Partners – UKRI and Innovate UK KTN investor partnerships websites.
The investor partner must have confirmed with you that you are in a position to apply for grant funding as you will be asked to identify them in the application.
To be successful, your project must be independently assessed by Innovate UK as fundable and receive aligned investment directly, led or catalysed by the investor partner.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. The competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
Your project’s total costs will depend on your research category and must be between £50,000 and £300,000 for feasibility studies, £100,000 and £1 million for industrial research, £250,000 and £2 million for experimental development.
Who can apply
The eligibility criteria will depend on your research category.
For feasibility studies projects:
your total project costs must be between £50,000 and £300,000
the project duration must be between 6 and 12 months
For industrial research projects:
your total project costs must be between £100,000 and £1 million
the project duration must be between 6 and 24 months
For experimental development projects:
your total project costs must be between £250,000 and £2 million
the project duration must be between 12 and 24 months
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.
If you have not provided information on the investor partner who is leading on your investment or we are unable to confirm the investment position with that investor partner, then your application will not be eligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.
To apply your organisation must:
be a UK registered micro, small or medium sized business (SME)
carry out its project work in or from the UK
intend to exploit the results in or from the UK
have discussed and agreed your proposal with your investor partner before submitting your application
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
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 You can only submit one application into this round of the competition.
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
a similar project that has been awarded funding in another competition
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.
You will only receive grant funding from Innovate UK if you also receive a minimum level of aligned investment that has been led by your investor partner. The minimum level of investment will depend on the research level.
Innovate UK will decide which projects are eligible and in scope to receive grant funding. The decision will be based on the assessment of your application by independent assessors. We will also take into account the impact of the grant in accelerating investment and the likelihood of the investment completing within a reasonable time.
If you are successful you will receive grant funding to cover a proportion of the costs of your project. The project will only be allowed to commence once the agreed aligned investment has been confirmed.
Your business must have sufficient capital resources, including through investment from the investor partner and the grant funding, to enable you to meet all your project’s eligible costs.
All recipients must act commercially, and your funding request must not exceed the limits specified.
Feasibility studies and industrial research projects
For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, Innovate UK will fund:
up to 70% of eligible project costs for micro or small organisations
up to 60% for medium sized organisations
The aligned investment led by the investor partner must always be at least equal to the grant funding.
Experimental development projects
For experimental development projects Innovate UK will fund:
up to 45% of eligible project costs for micro or small organisations
up to 35% for medium sized organisations
The aligned investment led by the investor partner must always be at least twice as much as the grant funding.
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.