Which sectors can apply for funding?

InnovateUK offer funding to SME's to engage in R&D projects. The mechanism by which funds are offered has been restructured into clearer sector groups from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge. These are:

(1) Emerging and enabling technologiesidentifying and investing in technologies and capabilities that will lead to the new products, processes and services of tomorrow, all with the potential to create billion-pound industries and disrupt existing markets.

(2) Health and life sciencesfocusing on agriculture and food and healthcare. The sector is underpinned by technologies developed in bioscience and medical research and enabled by expertise in engineering and physical sciences.

(3) Infrastructure systemscovering major global market opportunities optimising transport and energy systems and integrating them with other systems such as health and digital in an urban context.

(4) Manufacturing and materials - our programme focuses on advancing manufacturing readiness so R&D and technology developments can be delivered at scale across a range of sectors to increase productivity and grow to capture the value in the UK.

(5) Open Programme - funding competitions and programmes open to all innovative businesses, regardless of the technology or sector in which they are working. This enables businesses to address high-growth opportunities when their concept or idea might not fit one of the Innovate UK sectors or is at the interface of multiple themes with differing scopes.

What types of government grants are available?

  • fundamental research
  • industrial research
  • experimental development
  • feasibility studies including market research

InnovateUK expect projects to last 6 months to 3 years. We expect them to range in size from total costs of £35,000 to £2 million, depending on the type of project. All projects must involve at least one SME and a business must lead the project. There are 2 streams:

Stream 1: If you are an SME and expect your eligible project costs to be up to £100,000, you may deliver the project on your own. You may also work with other businesses or research organisations.

Stream 2: If you expect your eligible project costs to be more than £100,000 you must collaborate with at least one other organisation. Note:For the Open programme an SME can apply as a individual entity pending their project costs are up to £1 million.

What are the intervention rates?

Applicant Business SizeFundamental ResearchFeasibility StudiesIndustrial ResearchExperimental Development