Innovate UK: Emerging and enabling technologies

Information about Innovate UK’s emerging and enabling technologies programme for businesses that want to seek funding or find connections.

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Technology is transforming our lives and brings great opportunity. The UK has a strong research base in many disciplines. But in the past it has sometimes struggled to commercialise the opportunities created.

We aim to identify and speed up the development of new capabilities and technologies. These can lead to new products, processes and services in new industries. They may also improve productivity and growth in existing areas.

Innovate UK: Opportunities in emerging and enabling technologies

Emerging technologies

We help companies take the first steps in developing, testing and adopting new technologies emerging from science. These are technologies which could have great commercial impact. They include:

  • quantum technologies
  • synthetic biology
  • non-animal technologies
  • biofilms
  • energy harvesting
  • graphene
  • new imaging technologies

What is graphene?

Enabling technologies

New technologies and capabilities can improve productivity and efficiency in existing industries across the UK economy. These areas include:

  • cyber security
  • data
  • the internet of things
  • satellite earth observation
  • electronics
  • sensors and photonics
  • robotics and autonomous systems

We also focus on the importance of excellent design in innovation and on helping to grow the creative economy.

Predictions: The intelligent home and the Internet of things

Catapults and other technology and innovation centres

Our network of Catapults are technology and innovation centres that bridge the gap between universities and businesses.

Catapults help businesses undertake late-stage R&D and commercialise academic research. The Catapults in this sector include:

Innovate UK also co-funds the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast, which is a hub for research and innovation in cyber security.

European programmes

We help UK organisations take part in European research, development and innovation programmes. These include Horizon 2020.

Our work in emerging and enabling technologies

This section provides links to some of Innovate UK’s strategies and roadmaps for this sector.

Success stories

Find out about some of the successful business projects funded by our emerging and enabling technologies programme.

iGeolise: searching by time not distance

News stories

The latest news from our emerging and enabling technologies work.


Read some of our blog posts on emerging and enabling technologies to get inspiration and information.

Published 7 April 2016
Last updated 18 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added link to delivery plan 2017 to 2018.

  2. Updated latest competitions.

  3. Updated latest competitions.

  4. Updated competitions and success stories collections.

  5. Updated latest competitions.

  6. Updated latest competitions. Added video on graphene.

  7. Updated content under case studies and our work in emerging and enabling technologies collections. Added section for news stories and updated with latest news from the sector. Removed date from Catapults section. Added predictions video.

  8. Updated 'funding competitions'.

  9. Updated 'funding competitions'.

  10. Updated note on delivery plan publication.

  11. Updated 'funding competitions'.

  12. Updated 'funding competitions'.

  13. Added "funding competitions" section

  14. Added direct link to all blogs on Emerging and enabling technologies.

  15. First published.