The Sustainable Innovation Fund - PKF Francis Clark
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The Sustainable Innovation Fund

Stuart Rogers, Tax Partner and head of innovation, has predicted an increase in investment in R&D and increased government stimulus through grants and other activity as a result of Covid-19.

In this context, it came as no surprise to see a grant scheme recently launched – The Sustainable Innovation Fund. 

I provide details of the scheme below as extracted from the Innovate UK web page. There is also general guidance for applicants.

The round launched today is Round one of three, with the second due to launch in July (note: as stated below in this round the grant will be awarded under the Covid-19 Temporary Framework state aid rules. The next round is under de minimis – see link for more details on state aid.)


Project proposals must fulfill certain criteria and can also focus on one or more specific themes:

Criteria – projects must satisfy Specific themes
· Show evidence of key challenges as a direct consequence of COVID-19, and how your project can help solve them

· That any recovery, growth and opportunity is clean and sustainable


· Decarbonisation, circular economy and/or biodiversity

· Climate change and environmental sustainability

· Geographic or regionally-targeted innovation

· Innovation that is aimed at commercial or residential users

· Innovations that work across more than one sector

· Follow-on international opportunities that help the UK lead the world


There is a list of projects that Innovate UK will not fund including those that:

  • are not related to an impact on a business due to Covid-19 disruption
  • have a detrimental effect on equality, diversity and inclusion
  • do not involve any research and development or innovation, for example, the creation of information-only websites
  • are feasibility studies


To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size (but not a sole trader)
  • involve at least one SME
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • be able to carry out project work under the current restrictions of COVID-19
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Grant assistance

Up to £55 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed;

  • 80% funding for your eligible project costs
  • up to a maximum of £175,000 per organisation, regardless of size.A project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000.

Innovate UK will provide up to £50,000 to each grant-claiming organisation as an advance on grant payment 10 working days after the return of a fully-signed Grant Offer Letter (GOL). This will be taken off the first and any subsequent claims.

Application process and further details

An overview of the application process can be found here.

There are also contact details for more information: [email protected] or 0300 321 4357 (between 9am and 11:30pm or 2pm and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.)

There is an online briefing event on 3 July 2020 (you will need to register to attend)

This round of the competition closes 29 July 2020.

PKF Francis Clark

Two areas I would like to touch on re the above:

Grants and R&D Tax Credits

As always, I would recommend you speak to one of our tax experts before making an application for funding for R&D to better understand the interaction between the grant award and ability to claim R&D Tax Credits.

Finance 2020

‘Funding for Innovation’ will be a topic in our upcoming Finance 2020 series of vlogs, presented by Innovate UK and others including Stuart Rogers. 

FEATURING: Richard Wadman
Richard qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1993. Since 2006 he has worked in Corporate Finance, firstly with the predecessor firm in Truro… read more
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