Why work with us
We invest in business innovation
We recognise that the successful exploitation of new ideas often needs financial investment. In 2008-09 we invested in about 1,600 companies by helping to fund their collaborative research and development projects. Our budget for 2008-11 is £711m – or over £1bn including contributions from our public sector partners.
We invest in business-led innovation mainly through open competition in which any business - large or small – and from any sector can apply.
Our competitions focus on technology and application areas, and on challenges which present a particular problem for society and Government (see listing on back page). We aim to tailor the type of competition to suit the sector, industry or type of challenge that needs tackling.
For details of new and upcoming competitions see https://interact.innovateuk.org/
We create the right environment for business innovation
We also introduce businesses to other partners that might want to support new ideas, for example bringing together experts in manufacturing with a business looking to develop a prototype. Networking and consortium-building activity features in most of our competitions so that we can help plug the gaps that could prevent a business exploiting its ideas.
We help businesses obtain new skills
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme has been helping businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through better access to new skills for 32 years. Through the scheme we help businesses of any size identify and recruit recently-qualified experts to spearhead innovative company projects. We broker the partnership and fund some of the expert's time. For every £1m of government investment in KTPs, businesses benefit from a £3m increase in annual profits, 54 new jobs are created, and 395 members of staff are trained.
We help businesses build commercial relationships with Government
There is no prescribed route for companies to access government departments, or for government departments to reach out to innovative businesses for new ideas. The result is a lack of government contracts with bright businesses that might provide new solutions to important problems.
We run the Small Business Research Initiative – SBRI - a scheme that encourages government departments to divert more of their £175bn annual spending toward innovative companies. We organise competitions that match business ideas to government challenges through a simplified procurement process. These have already resulted in short-term contracts with departments including the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and Department of Health.
We support UK businesses internationally
We want to increase the number of UK businesses that secure funding under Framework Programme 7 – the main European instrument for funding research. To do this we are aligning our work with the EU's own objectives and attempting to influence policy in European programmes. We are providing financial support to European funding competitions, and we offer a free support service for businesses that want advice on how to deliver successful funding bids.
For more information and advice see http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/index_en.cfm