Please note that there are currently no SPARK Awards calls planned.


SPARK Awards are £5k grants to encourage new collaborations between the research community and Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). It is the intention that small confidence building measures such as a SPARK award will encourage a longer term relationship between the SME and research-based partner.


What type of work can be supported by SPARK Award?

The collaboration supported by a SPARK award can comprise almost any defined piece of work by the research partner for the industrial partner, such as a student project, data analysis, technical consultancy, a feasibility study or literature review. Experience has shown these awards to result in improved interaction, and new research and technology transfer projects.

These Awards are intended to help resource small confidence building measures between a SME and a research based partner that is likely to lead to a longer-term relationship. Highly innovative applications from partners who have not worked together before are especially welcome.


How does it work?

The grants, which are of a fixed value of £5,000 (plus any applicable VAT), are awarded to the research partner to tackle a problem relevant to the SME. The scheme is designed to provide quick approval with minimal bureaucracy, in keeping with the value of the grant. There is total flexibility in the way in which the funding may be committed, except that all work must be completed within six months of the agreed start date of the project. A start date will be agreed between the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the applicants if their application is successful. All expenditure must be clearly accounted for in a short final report produced by the research base partner and signed by the SME partner.


Who funds these awards?

Funding for SPARK awards has been provided by the Scottish Government Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate (RERAD), European Regional Development Funds, and Scottish Government SEEKIT funding. The management and administration of these awards is made possible by the core support that the Knowledge Transfer Network has received from European Regional Development Funds, the Scottish Government, and Innovate UK.


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£11M cell and gene therapies industrial manufacture funding competition

By Caroline Channing

Innovate UK is to invest up to £11 million in collaborative research and development projects to stimulate large-scale manufacturing in the cell and gene therapy sector.

They are seeking proposals to industrialise established manufacturing processes for cell and gene therapies. The aim of this competition is to develop the manufacturing capability of candidate cell and gene therapies so they are ready for pivotal clinical trials and early market supply.


About the funding

They expect projects to range in size from total costs of £1 million to £2.5 million. They may consider projects outside this range if you contact them before 2 November to discuss. Projects should last between 1 and 3 years.

Projects must be collaborative and must include at least one UK-registered small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). A business must lead the project.


Competition Briefing event

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is orgainsing a briefing event for this competition, which can be attended in person in London, or by webcast, on 5th October 2016.


What: Competition Briefing

When: Wed 5 October 2016 (09:30 – 16:30)

Where: ETC Venues, One Drummond Gate, London

Register >>

What: Competition Briefing Webcast

When: Wed 5 October 2016 (10:00 – 13:00)

Where: Webcast



Key dates

  • Competition opens: 26 September 2016
  • Registration deadline: noon on 16 November 2016
  • Application deadline: noon on 23 November 2016
  • Briefing event: 5 October 2016


Find out more

The competition briefing document can be downloaded from the Innovate UK competition page at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-competition-cell-gene-therapies-industrial-manufacture

KTN's sector experts will be happy to discuss proposals with you, and can help to identify potential project partners:

Want to discuss a potential funding proposal or project?

Contact the team

Contact a member of our team