Our plan for action
Innovation is the lifeblood of business.
Businesses that invest in innovation have higher growth, higher productivity and export more.
Innovation delivers economic growth, new jobs and better living standards. As articulated in the UK Innovation Strategy , the government is committed to supporting innovation in UK companies.
Innovate UK is a central part of delivering on that intent.
We will inspire, involve and invest in innovation through our plan for action .
We focus our main activities on five strategic themes:
- Future economy: what the UK economy will be like in the future
- Growth at scale: how companies can grow and scale up
- Global opportunities: helping build new supply chains, positioning UK companies as the partners of choice and attracting inward investment
- Innovation ecosystem: working with partners to ensure our system offers excellent support for business innovation
- Government levers: helping government support business innovation through procurement, standards, codes, regulation and other levers.
1. Future economy
We will focus on opportunities for the future economy.
To understand what the UK economy could be like in future we look at the trajectory of global markets, the likely evolution of technology, and important societal issues and trends.
To help realise the opportunities we will run programmes in the following areas:
Net zero plus
We will help the UK achieve a net zero carbon economy in 2050 and better protect the environment. We will invest in green energy, reducing the impact of materials and processes, better processes for agriculture and food production, and helping companies with heavily capitalised infrastructure. Find out more about our work on net zero plus .
Health and wellbeing
We will support healthy life in the UK and beyond. We will invest to tackle ill-health, enhance wellbeing, and improve diet and food. Find out more about our work on health and wellbeing .
We will help UK companies deploy technologies more effectively in their businesses, with a focus on the seven technology families of particular UK strength and opportunity identified in the government’s innovation strategy and on next generation digital technologies. Find out more about our work on technologies .
Horizon scanning and foresight
We will look ahead to what comes next, in markets, societal trends and technology. Find out more about our work on horizon scanning and foresight .
We will help the government to identify and deliver important mission programmes.
2. Growth at scale
We will support businesses to grow rapidly.
We are focusing on helping companies grow and scale through innovation.
Our focus is on the capability and talent of people within companies and supporting their development. It is also about providing expert support to help companies overcome challenges and create opportunities for growth. We aim to ease their access to markets and to the finance (grant, loans and equity) they need to grow.
3. Global opportunities
We will help businesses to succeed on the international stage.
We will encourage UK companies to participate in innovation activities across national boundaries, helping them build and participate in the supply chains of the future.
We will work to position the UK as the partner country of choice for global collaborations, working alongside the relevant government departments such as the Department for International Trade, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.
We will support innovation projects that help tackle global challenges and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals .
Our funding opportunities may fund research and development projects that are classed as feasibility studies, industrial research or experimental development.
For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, the following intervention rates may apply:
- up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
- up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
- up to 50% if you are a large organisation
For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, the following intervention rates may apply:
- up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
- up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
- up to 25% if you are a large organisation
Capital costs may be funded through some funding opportunities with intervention rates of up to 80%.
Innovate UK have a number of schemes that have already been approved and assessed against the Trade and Cooperation Agreement principles.
You can find a list of current opportunities on the UKRI funding finder .
4. Innovation ecosystem
We will make it easier to gain innovation support.
We will help enhance the UK’s outstanding innovation ecosystem, to ensure that it is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate. This ecosystem is made up of many actors, from public agencies to businesses, academia, infrastructure, charities, and the regulatory environment.
A key part of this will be our work with partners to ensure good signposting to those bodies best placed to help. We will make it easier to find and access the right equipment and expertise, and encourage a national culture of innovation.
5. Government levers
We will help the government use its power to support innovation.
The UK government is committed to helping businesses located here to innovate more successfully.
We will help them to deliver on that commitment, through supporting their work on public sector procurement, standards, regulation and in intellectual property. We will deliver managed innovation programmes on behalf of government departments.
Our strong foundations are fundamental to each of the priority themes. They are UK assets that can be leveraged in support of business innovation or values we hold to be true to inform our work. We run programmes in these areas so that businesses and society can derive the maximum benefit.
There are six strong foundations:
- UK science and research: maximising innovation benefit to UK business
- Design: creating more value through deploying excellent design earlier
- Responsible innovation: ensuring wider societal impacts are taken into account
- Innovation talent and skills: enhancing people’s capability
- Equality, diversity and inclusion: being inclusive and fair, and bringing in under-represented groups
- Place and levelling up: building and benefitting from local strengths.
1. UK science and research strengths
We will help UK businesses benefit from the excellent research base.
The quality and quantity of UK research is second to none. With 1% of the world’s population and 3% of global research and development (R&D) spend, we produce 14% of the world’s most cited academic papers. We have four of the top 10 universities in the world.
We will help the output of researchers to find its way to market, and UK companies to benefit from it.
We will help businesses make better use of design.
Companies that make use of excellent human-centred design create products and services that are more successful commercially. Their customers are more satisfied and they create more shareholder value. Yet too few companies use design optimally and they often use it rather late in the innovation process.
We will support companies to use human-centred design earlier in the innovation process, where it can add most value.
3. Responsible innovation
We will use responsible innovation to take account of wider societal impacts.
There is no such thing as good or bad technology. What matters is how it is used or misused. An innovation is most successful when it is accepted and adopted by all actors in the value chain. This includes suppliers, customers, shareholders and wider society. It requires responsible behaviour by innovating companies and by users of a technology.
We will help companies to think through the potential effects of their proposed innovation on wider society, and how they might achieve the benefits of their innovation and avoid or mitigate possible downsides.
4. Innovation, talent and skills
We will help businesses enhance the capability of their people.
Innovation is difficult. Growing a company is difficult. Having a brilliant idea or a great technology is only part of the picture. The company needs the right team, with the right talent and skills.
We will help companies develop the capability of their people to grow and scale their businesses more effectively, and help them identify skills they will need in the future to adopt and deploy new technologies.
5. Equality, diversity and inclusion
We will be inclusive and fair, and bring in under-represented groups.
It is important for the UK that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to contribute to our national innovation activity. Sadly, not all groups are equally represented currently. This is wrong for them and also wrong for business. All the data shows that diverse companies make better decisions and are more successful.
We will encourage the participation in UK innovation of those of all backgrounds.
6. Place and levelling up
We will help build local strengths and help businesses benefit from them.
Everything happens somewhere and the UK has strong innovation capabilities in multiple places across the UK. The opportunity exists to make better use of our local business, research and innovation strengths as part of our national capability.
We will also help build innovation capacity more widely in places across the UK, to support local economies and help businesses to benefit.
Last updated: 13 February 2023
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Funding competition Future Economy Investor Partnerships SME: round 3
UK registered businesses can apply for grant funding alongside private investment from selected investor partners.
- Competition opens: Thursday 6 July 2023
- Competition closes: Wednesday 30 August 2023 11:00am
This competition is now closed.
- How to apply
- Supporting information
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has selected a pool of investor partners. These investor partners have demonstrated that they have the credibility, capability, capacity and appetite to invest in innovative, technology-led businesses that align with our programmes. These programmes will focus on the future economy as described in our plan for action .
The Future Economy investor partnership programme brings together:
- Innovate UK’s expertise in identifying innovation and using grant funding to change the risk profile of businesses
- investor partners’ aligned funding and expertise in identifying opportunities and teams that can best use extra investment finance
This approach aims to provide you with support for research and development and access to the capital investment you need to develop and commercialise your innovations.
Innovate UK provides support for your investment readiness and for engaging with suitable investors via Innovate UK Edge and Innovate UK KTN. In the first instance you should contact Innovate UK Edge for support in understanding your readiness for investment and also to look at your wider strategy for growth.
You should also contact Innovate UK KTN to establish if there are specific programmes for connecting businesses in your sector to relevant investors. Support and connections to sector specific investors may also be provided by the relevant catapult centre .
You will need to establish a relationship and a level of investment traction with one of our approved investor partners before you apply for funding. A full list of selected investor partners is provided at Innovate UK Investor Partners – UKRI and Innovate UK KTN investor partnerships websites.
The investor partner must have confirmed with you that you are in a position to apply for grant funding as you will be asked to identify them in the application.
To be successful, your project must be independently assessed by Innovate UK as fundable and receive investment directly, led or catalysed by the investor partner.
Your project’s total costs will depend on your research category and must be between: £50,000 and £300,000 for feasibility studies; £100,000 and £1 million for industrial research; £250,000 and £2 million for experimental development.
Who can apply
The eligibility criteria will depend on your research category .
For feasibility studies projects:
- your total project costs must be between £50,000 and £300,000
- the project duration must be between 6 and 12 months
For industrial research projects:
- your total project costs must be between £100,000 and £1 million
- the project duration must be between 6 and 24 months
For experimental development projects:
- your total project costs must be between £250,000 and £2 million
- the project duration must be between 12 and 24 months
You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.
If you have not provided information on the investor partner who is leading on your investment or we are unable to confirm the investment position with that investor partner, then your application will not be eligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.
To apply your organisation must:
- be a UK registered micro, small or medium sized business (SME)
- carry out its project work in or from the UK
- intend to exploit the results in or from the UK
- have discussed and agreed your proposal with your investor partner before submitting your application
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules .
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process. You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK. You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor. All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
Number of applications
You can only submit one application into this round of the competition.
You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.
We will not award you funding if you have:
- failed to exploit a previously funded project
- an overdue independent accountant’s report
- failed to comply with grant terms and conditions
- a similar project that has been awarded funding in another competition
Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)
This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)
Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.
EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.
If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.
You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.
You will only receive grant funding from Innovate UK if you also receive a minimum level of investment that has been led by your investor partner. The minimum level of investment will depend on the research level.
Innovate UK will decide which projects are eligible and in scope to receive grant funding. The decision will be based on the assessment of your application by independent assessors and on a review of your expected investment following a discussion with your proposed investor partner.
If you are successful, you will receive grant funding to cover a proportion of the costs of your project. The project will only be allowed to commence once the agreed aligned investment has been confirmed.
Your business must have sufficient capital resources, including through investment from the investor partner and the grant funding, to enable you to meet all your project’s eligible costs.
All recipients must act commercially, and your funding request must not exceed the limits specified.
Feasibility studies and industrial research projects
For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, Innovate UK will fund:
- up to 70% of eligible project costs for micro or small organisations
- up to 60% for medium sized organisations
The investment led by the investor partner must always be at least equal to the grant funding.
Experimental development projects
For experimental development projects Innovate UK will fund:
- up to 45% of eligible project costs for micro or small organisations
- up to 35% for medium sized organisations
The investment led by the investor partner must always be at least twice as much as the grant funding.
For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance .
If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 .
The aim of this competition is to provide you with support for research and development and access to the capital investment you need to develop and commercialise your innovations.
Your proposal must have a clear route to market, a clear link to innovation and evidence that you can create a team to deliver your proposal.
You must be:
- registered in the UK as an SME by the time the award is contracted
- able to raise the aligned finance needed to draw down the award, through the issue of new shares or convertible debt
- have significant market impact
- be scalable
- be attractive to other equity investors
We are looking to support projects that focus on the future economy areas included in the Innovate UK plan for action . The broad theme areas are:
- health and wellbeing
- next generation digital technologies and technology families
Innovation and ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. We want to see investments unlocked for the diverse and extraordinary talent in the UK. We are encouraging diverse applicants and inclusive project applications, pushing beyond the status quo.
We encourage innovation involving communities that are typically under-represented, including:
- from regions that have historically accessed lower levels of investment (outside London, Oxford and Cambridge)
- ethnic minority groups
- women and other marginalised genders
- disabled people
- people with non-traditional education backgrounds
To support this, we also have a targeted theme on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
The investor partnership programme will be focused on specific themes for the future economy areas that include:
- capital intensive technologies
- power – particularly offshore wind, civil nuclear, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and whole systems integration
- heating and retrofit
- resource efficiency for materials and manufacturing
- critical circular materials
- battery technologies for transport and energy storage (Faraday Battery Challenge)
Health and Wellbeing
- innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges (Biomedical Catalyst)
- advancing life-changing Cancer Therapeutics, focussed on immunotherapies and paediatric oncology
- the application of extended reality for digital mental health, including immersive content that could be delivered as a digital mental health therapeutic in formal healthcare settings (Mindset)
- controlled environment agriculture and alternative proteins
Next generation digital technologies
- projects within the creative industries which are underpinned by innovative digital technology as well as sustainable innovations, such as circular fashion (Creative Catalyst)
- adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in targeted industries (Bridge AI)
Knows No Limit (equality, diversity and inclusion)
- innovations from diverse founders or senior decision-makers that are from under-represented groups and are role models
- innovations outside of the future economy theme areas, including those that support under-served communities and groups
These programmes are described in more detail in the UKRI investor partnerships and Innovate UK KTN investor partnerships websites.
If your project is not focused on one of the specific themes above then it may be supported if it is in the future economy areas of net zero, health and wellbeing and digital and technologies as set out in the Innovate UK plan for action .
In scope and the specific themes questions, you must explain which theme your project most closely relates and why. If it does not relate to one of the specific themes, but is within the broader future economy scope, then indicate to which broader theme it relates to and why.
Your application will be considered out of scope if you do not answer this clearly.
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies and markets, with a particular focus on future economy areas set out in the Innovate UK plan for action . We call this a portfolio approach . We will also take into account the impact of the grant in attracting investment and the likelihood of the investment completing within a reasonable time.
Projects we will not fund.
We are not funding projects that are:
- not carried out by SMEs
- collaborative R&D projects
- not part of a company’s growth plan
- unable to demonstrate there is potential for return on investment and growth
- not working with an investor partner from the selected pool of investor partners
We cannot fund projects that are:
- dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
- dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product
Before you start
You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.
Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:
- that all the information provided in the application is correct
- your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
- all sections of the application are marked as complete
You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.
What we ask you
The application is split into 3 sections:
- Project details.
- Application questions.
Accessibility and inclusion
We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us. Watch the video on how we are making our application process more accessible and inclusive for everyone.
You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.
You can contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
1. Project details
This section provides background for your application and is not scored.
Decide which people from your organisation will work with you on the project and invite those people to help complete the application.
Give your project’s title, start date and duration.
Select the type of research you will undertake.
Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application.
Your answer can be up to 400 words long. Public description
Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.
Your answer can be up to 400 words long.
Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.
Describe if your project is aligned to any of the specific themes or whether it is within the broader scope of the future economy areas. Alignment to specific themes is not a requirement, but will form part of a portfolio approach in funding decisions.
2. Application questions
The assessors will score all your answers apart from question 1, 2 and 3 You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess and how we select applications for funding .
You must answer all questions. Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.
Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)
You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any subcontractors working on your project.
We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.
Question 2. Specific theme (not scored)
If your application relates to one of the specific themes listed in the scope section, please indicate which theme it most closely relates to and why. If it does not relate to one of the specific themes, but is within the broader future economy scope, then indicate to which broader theme it relates to and why.
Question 3. Investor partner (not scored)
Provide the name of the investor partner who you are working with.
We will contact the investor partner to confirm how the grant funding will impact the proposed investment, and the current stage of completion. This forms part of the decision of whether your application is successful.
Question 4. Need or challenge
What is the business need, technological challenge, or market opportunity behind your innovation?
- the main motivation for the project
- whether you have identified any similar innovation and its current limitations, including those close to market or in development
- any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
- the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations
Question 5. Approach and innovation
What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?
- how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
- how will you improve on the similar innovation that you have identified
- whether the innovation will focus on existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
- the freedom you have to operate
- how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
- how it will make you more competitive
- the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified
You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Question 6. Team and resources
Who is in the project team and what are their roles?
- the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
- the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
- the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
- any roles you will need to recruit for
You must submit one appendix with a short summary of the main people working on your project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Question 7. Market awareness
What does the market you are targeting look like?
- the target markets for the project outcomes and any other potential markets (domestic, international or both)
- the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
- the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
- the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
- the current UK position in targeting these markets
- the size and main features of any other markets not already listed
If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:
- what the market’s size might be
- how your project will try to explore the market’s potential
Question 8. Outcomes and route to market
How are you going to grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project?
- your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
- your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why they would use or buy your product
- your route to market
- how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
- how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
- how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
- your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project
Question 9. Wider impacts
What impact might this project have outside the project team?
Describe and, where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:
- external parties
- others in the supply chain
- broader industry
- the UK economy
Describe and, where possible, measure:
- any expected impact on government priorities
- any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
- any expected regional impacts of the project
Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:
- quality of life
- social inclusion or exclusion
- jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
- public empowerment
- health and safety
Question 10. Project management
How will you manage your project effectively?
- the main work packages of your project and the total cost of each one
- your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
- the management reporting lines
- your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones
You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Question 11. Risks
What are the main risks for this project?
- the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
- how you will mitigate these risks
- any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and data sets
- any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this
You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Question 12. Added value
How will this public funding from Innovate UK and investment led by your investor partner, help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation? What impact would this award have on the organisations involved?
- what advantages public funding would offer your project, for example, appeal to investors, more partners, reduced risk or a faster route to market (this list is not exhaustive)
- the likely impact of the project outcomes on your organisation
- what other routes of investment you have already approached
- what your project would look like without public funding
- how this project would change the R&D activities of your organisation
Question 13. Costs and value for money
How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?
In terms of your project goals, explain:
- your total project costs
- the grant you are requesting
- the expected investment led by the selected investor partner and the likely impact the overall funding will make to your business
- how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
- how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
- the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
- any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to your project
Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form .
Background and further information
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has selected a pool of investor partners. These investor partners have demonstrated that they have the credibility, capability, capacity and appetite to invest in innovative, technology-led businesses that align with the programmes. These programmes will focus on the future economy as described in our plan for action .
Innovate UK provide support for your investment readiness and for engaging with suitable investors via Innovate UK Edge and Innovate UK KTN. In the first instance you should contact Innovate UK Edge for support in understanding your readiness for investment and also to look at your wider strategy for growth. You should also contact Innovate UK KTN to establish if there are specific programmes for connecting businesses in your sector to relevant investors. Support and connections to sector specific investors may also be provided by the relevant catapult centre .
You will need to establish a relationship and a level of investment traction with one of our approved investor partners before you apply for funding. A full list of selected investor partners is provided at Innovate UK Investor Partners – UKRI
and Innovate UK KTN investor partnerships websites.
This competition is operated by Innovate UK.
Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR , and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.
Find an investor partner
Support for smes from innovate uk edge.
If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE . This service forms part of our funded offer to you.
These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.
If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project .
You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your IFS Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin .
You will need to provide:
- the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
- a redacted copy of your bank details
- an exploitation plan
In order for us to process your claims, you must make sure you have a valid UK bank account. It is possible that it can take several weeks for a new account to be created. We would recommend starting this process as early as possible to avoid any delays to you project start date.
The bank details you give to us must relate to a UK high street bank that is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The account must have a BACS clearing facility and be in the same company name as your application.
If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker . If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.
We will carry out checks on the basis that your investment will provide you with sufficient capital alongside the grant funding to complete the project.
You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.
Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.
Your Grant offer letter (GOL)
Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GOL.
The GOL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will not be able to start your project until:
- you have signed the GOL
- your investor partner has confirmed the investment by completing and signing an additional annex to the GOL
- the GOL and additional signed annexes have been uploaded to IFS
- we have confirmed that the investment meets the requirements of the aligned investment
Your GOL will show the start date for your project, do not start your project before this date. Any costs incurred before your start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.
If your application is unsuccessful
If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.
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Innovate UK launches business innovation action plan
Secretary of State of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, today announces the launch of the Innovate UK Plan for Action for UK Business Innovation.
This is our plan for how we will deliver on the UK Innovation Strategy, with the vision for the UK to become a global hub for innovation by 2035.
Please watch the video below and read our blog post about the UK Plan for Action .
Video credit: Innovate UK
This article was first published on 19 November by Innovate UK.
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Innovate UK releases 2019-2020 Delivery Plan
Innovate UK sets out plan to drive sustainable economic growth through business-led innovation.
Innovate UK will pursue an investment-focused approach to encouraging innovation in business in 2019-2020.
Innovate UK has today published its Delivery Plan for 2019-2020, alongside the other Councils within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The Innovate UK plan is framed by 5 strategic goals:
- deliver measurable economic and societal impact across the UK
- support and invest in innovative businesses and entrepreneurs with the potential and ambition to grow
- maximise the commercial impact of world-class knowledge developed in UK industries and its research base
- identify, support and grow transforming and emerging industries through innovation
- build a coherent, supportive environment incentivising R&D investment and enabling people and businesses to innovate
Read Innovate UK’s 2019-2020 Delivery Plan .
Call to innovate
As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK has succeeded in investing over £2.2 billion more than 11,000 projects over the last 12 years. These have created as much as £16 billion in gross value added to the UK economy and 70,000 jobs.
Innovate UK is supporting the government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to increase R&D spending to 2.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in further partnerships between businesses, researchers and government.
Dr Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, said:
To achieve the Government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to increase R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, our new strategy takes more of an investment-driven approach to innovation. It focuses much more closely on creating the conditions for private investment in R&D, on creating an enabling environment by championing and assisting industry to innovate, on nurturing the sectors and technologies that will transform the UK, and on encouraging innovation in all businesses with the potential to grow and scale, right across the country.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, Innovate UK will adopt new investment-focused approaches to financially support universities, the public sector and especially businesses, which account for two-thirds of all UK research and development (R&D).
Following the successful rollout of Innovation Loans and the Investment Accelerator, the Delivery Plan includes further work on new innovation finance options to boost the impact of government funding.
Search for funding opportunities and innovation competitions .
9 Delivery Plans across UKRI
Building on the Strategic Prospectus , published in May 2018, the UKRI 2019-2020 Delivery Plans detail how the Government’s target of 2.4% of GDP spend on research and innovation by 2027 will be guided by 6 themes:
- business environment, with a focus on delivering projects with social, cultural and economic impact
- places, supporting growth across the UK
- ideas, developing disruptive and ground-breaking projects
- people, investing in the skills and environment for innovation to thrive
- infrastructure, ensuring access and investment in world-leading research
- international, meeting global challenges and forming international partnerships
Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive, said:
The delivery plans announced today are the blueprints for UKRI’s ambition to deliver the future of research and innovation. They outline how we will address the major global and societal challenges of our time, catalyse collaboration and contribute to meeting the government’s ambitious 2.4% target.
Sir Mark will be discussing the delivery plans at a UKRI evening event at the University of Leeds today, as well as profile UKRI’s first year of operation.
Find out more about the 9 delivery plans .
Read UK Research and Innovation’s overarching delivery plan .
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Setting up an innovation start-up, create a business plan for innovation start-up.
A novel idea is the starting point of every innovative business. An innovation business plan will help you to:
- validate the feasibility of that idea
- evaluate the market potential
- verify that there is a real demand for your product
It can also help provide your innovation start-up with credibility and focus, which is vital if you want to attract investors for your innovation start-up.
Innovative business plan - key elements
Your business plan for innovation should show:
- how you will develop and exploit your invention
- the capability and experience of your team
- how you will finance costs
- how investors will be able to realise their profits
Other key questions that your innovative business plan should answer include:
- What is unique about the innovation and is it protected?
- Who will buy it and why?
- What will it cost to deliver and how much will it sell for?
- What is the competition, and how do you propose to tackle this?
- When will the business start receiving income and when will it break even?
For more information on finance and funding, see funding for innovation start-ups and exit strategies for innovation start-ups .
How to structure a business plan for innovation?
A sample business plan structure for innovation start-ups may involve:
- executive summary
- description of a business idea or your business statement
- product or service description, including how you will exploit any new technology or IP
- market analysis, including trends, needs and growth projections
- competitor analysis - looking at their strength and weaknesses, and opportunities
- marketing plan and strategies
- management and operations, including your business' legal and organisational structure
- financial planning and resource requirements
- risk management, covering business, technology or financial risks
Detailed guidance is available on how to prepare a business plan and tailor your business plan to secure funding .
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