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1. Dates and deadlines
|Competition opens||Monday 5 December 2016|
|Briefing event(s) for applicants||Thursday 8 December 2016|
|Registration deadline||Midday 1 February 2017|
|Application deadline||Midday 8 February 2017|
|Applicants notified by||End of April 2017|
2. The competition scope
The competition is open to the best business-led, innovative or disruptive ideas or concepts. These can be drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area. This area can be one that fits into, or be outside of, any one or more of Innovate UK’s 4 priority sectors for growth.
To be in scope, a proposal must:
- demonstrate transformational or disruptive innovation leading to novel, new products, processes or services
- articulate a clear, anticipated growth and commercialisation impact for the business(es) with considerable, demonstrable (as you would set out in a pitch to any serious investor) potential to lead to a significant return on investment (ROI)
Priority will be given to proposals that are likely to lead to sustainable gains in productivity and/or access to new overseas markets through export-led business growth.
3. Projects that we won’t fund
We will not fund proposals that:
- do not address the competition scope above
- do not identify the size and potential of the market the innovation might address (with the exception of purely proof of market projects)
- cannot present evidence that their idea or concept has the potential to lead to significant ROI, growth and scale-up of the business
4. Find out if you are eligible to apply
To lead a project you must:
- be a UK-based business
- be a business of any size
- carry out your project in the UK
- work alone or in collaboration with others (businesses, research base and third sector)
For applicants with a smart funded project please read more information in the guidance for applicants.
5. Funding and project details
We have allocated up to £15 million to fund innovation projects in this open competition. Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs.
The percentage of costs that we pay through a grant varies. It depends on the type of research being carried out and size and type of organisation involved.
Projects can focus on:
- feasibility studies which may include a proof of market
- industrial research
- experimental development depending on the challenge identified and proposed solution
For technical feasibility studies (which may include a proof of market) and industrial research, you could get:
- up to 70% of your eligible project costs if you are a small business
- up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
- up to 50% if you are a large business
For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get:
- up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are a small business
- up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
- up to 25% if you are a large business
Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.
Projects may last between 6 and 36 months. Total eligible project costs should range from £25,000 to £1 million depending on the type of R&D to be undertaken. It is important to note that any project with total costs outside this range will be deemed out of scope and ineligible.
An applicant can only submit one project application per competition round. If more than one application per round is submitted, only the first application will be considered for assessment.
6. How to apply
- the lead applicant must register online
- read the guidance for applicants for this competition
- attend the briefing events for potential applicants on 8 December 2016 in person or by webinar (optional but recommended)
- complete and upload your online application on our secure server
We will not accept late submissions. All deadlines are at midday. Your application is confidential.
External, independent experts assess the quality of your application. We will then select the projects that we fund, to build a portfolio of projects as described in the competition guidance for applicants. Please read this carefully before you apply.
Where appropriate, we will share application details with potential co-funders in the Research Councils.
Also please read the general guidance for applicants it will help your chances of submitting a quality application.
7. Background and further information
Businesses experience a wide range of barriers that hold back innovation and innovation processes. Small companies in particular, can struggle to raise private finance where the return on the investment is unclear. Early-stage investment is seen as particularly risky.
Innovation can also disrupt existing value chains and business models. In complex systems a ‘disruptive’ innovation can mean that many partners, suppliers and customers need to adapt and collaborate. Businesses often need help to identify opportunities, access information and knowledge and respond to disruptive elements.
Innovate UK’s open competition overcomes these barriers to innovation. We provide funding for innovation-based enterprises. Such enterprises should demonstrate their readiness to deliver a project leading to new, highly innovative processes, products or services. Ideally these would result in successful commercialisation and/or significant, sustainable growth.
If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.
If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at email@example.com.