New call: Open Grant Funding Competition, Round 2

Open Grant Funding Competition, Round 2   |  Opens 12 July 2018  | Deadline 12 September 2018  | Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £20 million to deliver game changing or disruptive innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.


Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in the best cutting-edge or disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation.

All proposals must be business focused (rather than pure research). Applications can come from any area of technology, science or engineering, including arts, design, media or creative industries, and be applied to any part of the economy.

Proposals can fit into, or be outside of, one or more of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund areas.

Proposals must demonstrate clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way.


Proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing and/or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • ideas that are significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays and so on) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions
  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion

Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate realistic, significant potential for global markets.

Proposals are particularly welcome from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale-up.

Where possible, projects should take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions.

Projects can focus on:

  • feasibility studies, which may include market research
  • industrial research
  • experimental development depending on the challenge identified and proposed solution


To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK-based business of any size or an RTO
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from the UK
  • be an SME to work alone
  • include an SME if you want to collaborate with others (businesses, research base and/or third sector)

All projects must start by 1 March 2019.

Funding Costs

The lead organisation must claim funding through this competition.

If your project has total eligible costs or duration outside the specified range or duration it will be deemed out of scope and ineligible.

Total eligible project costs must be within the following ranges:

  1. Project duration between 6 to 18 months: total costs must be between £25,000 and £500,000 and may be either single company or collaborative applications.
  2. Project duration between 19 to 36 months: total costs must be between £25,000 and £2,000,000 and must be collaborative.

For feasibility studies and industrial research, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% 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 funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% 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


Innovate UK will not fund proposals that do not:

  • meet the competition scope
  • address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  • evidence the potential for their idea or concept leading to significant return on investment (ROI), positive economic impact, growth and scale-up of the business
  • have a current project funded through the Smart programme that will not have its project completion meeting before the close date for this competition

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