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New £15M Innovate UK R&D competition is open to all UK companies

Innovate UK is investing up to £15M in innovative R&D projects through the first of its "Open" funding competitions.

The competition is open to the best business-led ideas or concepts, which can be drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area, including Innovate UK’s 4 priority sectors for growth (Emerging and Enabling Technologies; Health and Life Sciences; Infrastructure Systems; Manufacturing and Materials).

The aim is to fast-track ideas to commercial success. Projects should demonstrate disruptive, cutting-edge innovations and businesses should demonstrate ambition and potential for growth.

The briefing webinar is now full but the full recording will be made available after the event to download and playback at the Innovate UK competition page.

Visit the competition page >>


Who can apply?

The competition is open to all UK companies - small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies. They can work individually or collaboratively. Projects must be carried out in the UK.

Visit the competition page >>


Competition scope

To be in scope, a proposal must:

  • demonstrate innovation leading to novel, new products, processes or services
  • articulate a clear and anticipated growth impact for the business(s) leading to a significant return on investment (ROI)

Priority will be given to proposals that are likely to lead to sustainable gains in productivity and/or access to new overseas markets through export led business growth.

Visit the competition page >>


How much funding is available?

A total of up to £15M is available to fund innovation projects in this open competition. Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that will be paid through a grant varies. It depends on the type of research being carried out and size and type of organisation involved.

  • market/fundemental research (100%)
  • feasibility studies (50-70%)
  • industrial research (50-70%)
  • experimental development (25-45%)

Projects may last between 6 and 36 months. Total eligible project costs should range from £25,000 to £1 million depending on the type of R&D to be undertaken.

There are two options (streams) to apply into this competition. These are dependent on the size and length of your project.
  • Stream 1 is for projects under 12 months and under £100,000
  • Stream 2 is for projects over 12 months or over £100,000

Visit the competition page >>


Briefing webinar

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is hosting a briefing webinar for this call on Tuesday 14th June (14:00 - 16:00). 

The briefing webinar is now full but the full recording will be made available after the event to download and playback at the Innovate UK competition page.


Key Dates

Registration deadline: noon on 31 August 2016

Application deadline: noon on 7 September 2016


Got a question?

Organisations wanting further guidance advice on project suitability or finding potential project partners can contact the KTN team by emailing us at

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Webinar on funding opportunities for Industrial Biotech & SynBio

This KTN webinar provided an update on the upcoming funding opportunities for industrial biotechnology & synthetic biology, with particular focus on the remit of each competition and where applications are likely to fit best. 

Download the slide deck >>

Watch the webinar recording >>

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