Advance notice of two ‘Open Competitions’ from Innovate UK

Featuring Richard Wadman | 26th June, 2018

July will see the launch of two open competitions from Innovate UK, for Innovation loans and Open Grant funding. Brief details of which are set out below:


  •  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
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • 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.
Innovation Loans Open grant funding
Type of funding Loan Grant
Funds available £10m £20m
Open and Close 2 July and 29 August (12 pm) 12 July and 12 September
Project size Loans of between £100,000 and £1 million are available. Projects should last up to 5 years and are expected to start by December 2018 Project duration between 6 and 18 months: total cost between £25,000 and £500,000. Project duration between 19 and 36 months: total cost between £25,000 and £2 million.

(Note: Applicants wishing to submit projects over £2 million as a permitted exception must contact customer services with full justification at least 10 days before applying)

Project criteria (extracts)
  • Highly innovative late stage projects with the best game changing and/or disruptive ideas or concepts
  • Clear route to commercialisation and economic impact
  • Projects should aim to develop new products, processes or services (or innovative use of existing ones) believed to be significantly ahead of anything similar in the field
  • Priority is given to proposals likely to lead to growth, gains in productivity and/or access to new overseas markets through export.
Applicant criteria (extracts) Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Businesses must be able to show that they:

  • can cover interest payments
  • will be able to repay the loan on time
  • need public funding
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)
Grant intervention rates N/A
  • Different grant intervention rates depending on size of business and categorization of project. Project categorizations are:
  • Feasibility studies, which may include market research
  • Industrial research
  • Experimental development depending on the challenge identified and proposed solution.
More details at: Found here Found here

More information on RDI funding coming soon…

RDI funding will feature highly in the list of breakfast briefings and other events my colleague Andrew James is pulling together for the forthcoming months.

Be aware…..

One thing to be aware of for now is the interaction between grants for R&D and R&D Tax Credits. This is an area where advice should be taken at an early stage. Likewise be aware of State Aid implications. My colleagues can advise on the first of these points and sign post you to specialist (legal) advice on the second.

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