Helping you to access funding

KTN's expert team of knowledge transfer managers can help you to:

  • Form new collaborations through our extensive industry and academic connections
  • Access finance and funding to take your innovative ideas forward or bring a product/service to market
  • Put together a strong funding application by reviewing your proposal and providing advice on how to improve it

Major sources of funding for UK applicants are listed below.

Innovate UK Funding



Innovate UK Competitions 
You can apply for funding to test the feasibility of your idea, research and develop it and demonstrate it in a prototype.

Innovate UK funding competitions cover the following industry sectors:
emerging and enabling technologies
  • infrastructure systems
  • health and life sciences
  • manufacturing and materials
They also have an open programme that is not sector based.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
The KTP scheme helps businesses to innovate and grow by linking them with a university and a graduate to work on a specific project.


European Funding

Help & advice for Horizon 2020 Funding calls is available from the National Contact Point.

Bio-based Industries (BBI) Joint Undertaking (JU)
A €3.7 billion partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. BBI-JU will launch a new Call for Proposals on 18 April 2016, with a scheduled closing date for proposals of 15 September 2016. In total, 26 topics can be funded via this Call: 12 Research & Innovation Actions (RIAs); 9 Demonstration Actions (DEMOs); 1 Flagship action; 4 Coordination & Support Actions (CSAs).
EU Flag

Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research & Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available between 2014 to 2020. There are calls of relevance to IB in the 2016 work programme for Societal Challenges 2 (food security, sustainable agriculture & forestry, marine & maritime & inland water research, & the bioeconomy) and Societal Challenges 5 (climate action, environment, resource efficiency & raw materials). 



Eureka Eurostars (for SMEs)
Specifically targeting the development of new products, processes and services and the access to transnational and international markets. Eurostars supports international innovative projects led by research and development- performing small- and medium-sized enterprises.

EU Flag

SME Instrument
Supporting close-to-market activities, with the aim of giving a strong boost to breakthrough innovation. The fund provides grants, coaching and access to risk finance with no need for an international consortia. IB and SynBio are highlighted within SMEInst-03-2016-2017dedicated support to biotechnology SMEs closing the gap from lab to market, which has 16 closing dates over the next 2 years.

EU Flag Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Support for researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines, from life-saving healthcare to 'blue-sky' science, are eligible for funding.


International Funding



Newton Fund 
The Newton Fund aims to promote the economic development and welfare of either the 15 partner countries or, through working with the partner country, to address the problems of poor people around the world. It will do so through strengthening their science and innovation capacity and unlocking further funding to support poverty alleviation.

UK Research Councils Funding




BBSRC Funding
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK's principal funder of basic and strategic biological research.
  • "Stand-alone" LINK. Promoting academic & industrial collaboration in pre-competitive research. Projects are typically funded 50:50 by industry and government support.
  • Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA)Science-led, responsive mode grants where an industrial partner contributes at least 10% of the full economic cost of the project.
  • FLexible Interchange Programme (FLIP). Supporting the movement of people from one environment to a different one to exchange knowledge/technology/skills.
  • Research and Technology ClubsSupporting research in areas identified as strategically important by BBSRC and industry. RTCs support academic research and encourage closer links between academia and industry.
  • CASE StudentshipsCASE (Co-operative Awards in Science and Engineering) PhD studentships involve an academic institution and a commercial company. Awarded as a training grant to the academic partner.

EPSRC Funding
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) operates a small number of flexible funding schemes.

NERC Funding
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the leading funder of independent research, training and innovation in environmental science in the UK.


Funding from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)


Funding for industry-led projects that require the use of the IBioIC Equipment Centres' resource to accelerate the development & commercialisation of IB, including the Rapid Bioprocess Prototyping Centre and the Flexible Downsteam Bioprocessing Centre.
Deadlines: 30 Sep 2016, 30 Nov 2016
Up to £500K for industry-led collaborative research projects that use the synbio research capabilities of the Scottish Higher Education Institutes. 
Expressions of Interest deadline: 31 Aug 2016


Regional Funding


Scottish Enterprise


Scottish Enterprise
Various grants and funding options are available to businesses of all sizes for research and development, co-investment and technological innovations.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise Research & Development Grants Supporting businesses developing new products, processes and services to improve company competitiveness and to benefit the Scottish economy. Projects typically last 6 to 36 months, and the grant can cover up to 50% of the project costs.

Scottish Enterprise

SMART: Scotland
Providing grants to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) based in Scotland. The grant helps you undertake technical feasibility studies and research and development (R&D) projects that have a commercial endpoint.

Invest NI


Invest Northern Ireland
Various grants and funding options are available to businesses of all sizes for research and development, co-investment and technological innovations.


Welsh Government

Welsh Government Grants
The Welsh Government provides a range of grant schemes. Some programmes are restricted to specific applicants, such as local authorities, businesses or voluntary organisations. Others are open to individuals.



Regional Growth Fund
£2.6 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2016. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.


Other Sources of Funding



Genomia Fund
Genomia provides seed and pre-seed funds for commercialisation of public sector research in the biosciences. This funding is only available to a closed list of public sector research establishments (PSREs).

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust Funding Schemes
The Wellcome Trust offers a wide variety of funding schemes, including Investigator Awards, fellowships and Strategic Awards, Translation Awards etc.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
Awards some 25 postgraduate Fellowships and Scholarships a year, for advanced study and research in science, engineering, the built environment and design.  It also makes a small number of Special Awards to support projects consistent with its overall aims.
The Leverhulme Trust
Provides grants and scholarships for research and education in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year. They award funding across academic disciplines, supporting talented individuals in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences to realise their personal vision in research and professional training. As well as substantial grants for research, they offer fellowships for researchers at every stage of their career, grants for international collaboration and travel. 



R&D tax credits
Research and Development (R&D) Relief is a Corporation Tax relief that may reduce your company or organisation's tax bill by more than your actual expenditure on allowable R&D costs.
>> HM Revenues and Customs
>> Guide to R&D Tax Credits in NI


Funding for IB & 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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Keep up to date with the latest agri-food and biosciences news, events, funding opportunities and more.

Recommended Reading

Horizon 2020 Funding

KTN, in collaboration with Innovate UK, is supporting the 2016 Horizon 2020 work programme for:

  • SC2 (Food security, sustainable agriculture & forestry, marine, maritime & inland water research & the bioeconomy)
  • SC5 (Climate action, environment, resource efficiency & raw materials).

Visit KTN's H2020 page >>

Funding for International Collaborations

Funding for science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of collaborating countries.

Find out more >>

Funding news

Learn about funding for a Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre - Webinar on 9th December

BBSRC and Innovate UK have recently established the second phase of the UK Biofilms Programme . This will be an approximate £12.5M investment to establish a Biofilms Innovation Knowledge...

£12.5M Biofilms Programme to establish a Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre (IKC) open for Expressions of Interest

BBSRC and Innovate UK have launched the second phase of the UK Biofilms Programme to establish a Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre (IKC). An investment of approximately £12.5M will...

Want to turn your bright idea into a brilliant product?

Design Council Spark is offering support and funding to help you take your idea and turn it into a smart product and brand. Up to 15 participants will join a 16-week support programme...

Watch the recording of the KTN webinar on upcoming funding opportunities for IB & SynBio

The recording and slides from the KTN webinar on upcoming funding opportunities for industrial biotechnology & synthetic biology within the Innovate UK delivery plan are now...

BDC secures funding for 120 projects to help Yorkshire businesses harness opportunities in the bioeconomy

The Biorenewables Development Centre, a University of York subsidiary, has secured European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding to help more companies grow through bio-based innovations. ...

£6.5M funding to solve an analysis or measurement problem from within existing businesses

Analysis for Innovators (A4I)  is a new funding programme that targets competitiveness and productivity head on, by offering cutting edge R&D, expertise and facilities to UK companies...

£10K Business Interaction Vouchers from the Plants to Products (P2P) Network

The Plants to Products (P2P) Network has opened its 4th Business Interaction Voucher (BIV) call for up to 5 vouchers worth up to £10k. The call closes on 14th December at 16:00hrs. ...

Chair of KTN to be part of judging panel in the Bio-start competition

SynbiCITE and Rainbow Seed Fund have announced that Dr David Lawrence, Non-executive Director at Syngenta, Chairman of the Science and Technology Advisory Board, and Chairman...

£11M cell and gene therapies industrial manufacture funding competition

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...

Did you miss the Health & Life Sciences Competition Briefing? Recording of webcast available now

Innovate UK is investing up to £15 million in projects addressing technical or commercial challenges in health and life sciences (H&LS), with the aim of increasing competitiveness for UK...

Contact us

If you're interested in learning more about what Industrial Biotechnology can do for your business, please contact our sector expert, Yvonne Armitage.

If you would like advice from Innovate UK, please contact Merlin Goldman.


Yvonne Armitage
Mobile: 07850 602680


Merlin Goldman
Phone: 01793 442700