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Crack your business productivity puzzle: new funding available

Businesses can apply for a share of £3 million to work with the UK's best scientists and measurement facilities to improve their productivity.

Business team work around a desk of papers via Rawpixel.com at Shutterstock
Individual businesses can get funding to help them become more productive and competitive.

Innovate UK is making up to £3 million available to help make businesses more productive and solve the problems that are holding back their growth.

The fund will allow businesses to work with some of the country’s leading analysts and measurement experts to help improve their productivity and competitiveness.

Analysis for innovators

The funding is provided by Innovate UK, the National Physical Laboratory, the National Measurement Laboratory at LGC, the National Engineering Laboratory and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

It comes through the analysis for innovators programme, which aims to help individual companies solve tricky and sometimes long-running technical problems that can affect how well their products, processes or services function.

In 2017, 96% of UK businesses employed fewer than 10 staff. We know that many lack the skills for effective analysis and measurement. This programme aims to address that. By awarding access to expertise and the facilities of the laboratories and STFC, it allows businesses to optimise processes or improve their specifications to unlock new markets.

Grant holders from previous competition rounds have reported benefits including:

  • increased productivity
  • increased sales
  • accelerated time to market
  • development of exploitable intellectual property

Businesses must outline the problem they face

At this stage, we are looking for expressions of interests from businesses with a particular analysis or measurement problem.

If successful, businesses will be invited to meet with measurement experts and work with them to develop projects for grant funding in a second stage. These projects should have clear benefits in solving the problem and lead to improved productivity or competitiveness.

We will consider problems that:

  • are related to the measurement or analysis of some quantities or properties of an existing process, product or service
  • are not solvable by simple ‘off the shelf’ methods or techniques

A business can apply up to 3 times in this competition. Each application must focus on a different problem.

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 22 August 2018, and the deadline for expressions of interest is at midday on 6 September 2018
  • UK-based businesses of any size can apply
  • stage 1 is looking to identify analysis problems within a business, with stage 2 offering grant funding. We expect most stage 2 projects to be under £50,000 and last up to 3 months, but we could fund projects of up to £200,000
  • businesses could receive matched funding for their projects
  • you can register to attend a briefing event or webinar on 3 September 2018 to find out more about the competition and how to submit a quality application
Published 23 August 2018