© Crown copyright 2016
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/innovate-uk-open-funding-competition/innovate-uk-open-funding-competition-brief
1. Dates and deadlines
|Competition opens||6 June 2016|
|Briefing webinar recording||14 June 2016|
|Register for briefing webinar||1 July 2016|
|Register for briefing webinar||5 July 2016|
|Registration deadline||noon 31 August 2016|
|Application deadline||noon 7 September 2016|
2. The competition scope
The competition is open to the best business-led ideas or concepts. These can be drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area, including Innovate UK’s 4 priority sectors for growth.
To be in scope, a proposal must:
- demonstrate innovation leading to novel, new products, processes or services
- articulate a clear and anticipated growth impact for the business(s) leading 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 we won’t fund
We will not fund proposals that:
- do not address the competition scope above
- do not identify the size and potential market the innovation might address (with the exception of proof of market research 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)
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
Further clarification to what projects can focus on: feasibility studies which may include a proof of market.
Percentage of project costs that can be claimed as grant for different types of research and companies:
|Applicant business size||Feasibility studies/Proof of market||Industrial research||Experimental development|
Find out about 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.
An applicant can only submit one project application per competition round. If more than one application per category is submitted in a round, only the first application will be considered for assessment.
6. How to apply
- register for the competition
- read the specific guidance for applicants for this competition
- watch this recording from the competition briefing on 14 June 2016
- register for briefing webinar on 1 July 2016
- register for briefing webinar on 5 July 2016
- complete and upload your documents on our secure server
We will not accept late submissions. All deadlines are at noon. Your application is confidential.
If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us.
Our assessment processes changed in May 2016. External, independent experts assess the quality of your application. We then select the projects that we fund, to build a portfolio of projects that:
- are high quality
- reflect a range as described in the scope and spread of short (up to 12 months), medium (up to 24 months) and long (up to 36 months) project duration that fits the funding available
- address opportunities across a range of industrial sectors, technologies, themes and priorities
- demonstrate sufficient innovation, potential return on investment and degree of technical risk
- demonstrate value for money. Include the potential impact of the project relative to its cost, and the cost of other projects under consideration
Read the general guidance for applicants carefully for more information before you apply. 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.
7.1 Finding partners
Organisations wanting further guidance advice on project suitability or finding potential project partners should approach the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
For businesses that are looking for collaborative partners but have not identified them in time for this competition, there will be another open funding competition in December 2016.