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.


Latest News

New funding for vaccines for global epidemics

By Caroline Channing

The Department of Health is to invest up to £25 million in projects to develop new vaccines against infectious diseases. This competition will support projects seeking to develop candidate vaccines and vaccine platform technologies at the preclinical stage. The aim is to enable an effective and rapid response during future outbreaks of disease. 


Competition scope

This competition aims to support the preclinical development of candidate vaccines against 12 diseases. The UK Vaccine Network has identified these diseases as a priority as they have the potential to cause epidemics in low and middle-income countries.

  • chikungunya
  • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
  • ebola
  • hantavirus
  • lassa
  • marburg
  • Middle-East respiratory syndrome
  • nipah
  • plague
  • Q fever
  • Rift Valley fever
  • zika


About the competition

The competition has two stages:

  • Stage 1: exploring the scientific, technical and commercial feasibility of candidate vaccines and vaccine technologies. They expect projects to last for up to 12 months
  • Stage 2: carrying out late stage preclinical and early clinical work, based on the results of Stage 1. They expect projects to last for up to 24 months

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition run in partnership with the Department of Health and the Medical Research Council. It is open to organisations of all sizes. Academic, industry and government bodies may all apply for funding.


Key dates

Registration deadline: 12 noon on 21 December 2016

Application deadline: 12 noon on 4 January 2017


Further information

Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sbri-funding-competition-vaccines-for-global-epidemics-preclinical

Want to discuss a potential funding proposal or project?

Contact the team

Contact a member of our team