Welcome to the second edition of EmpowerRD’s Grant Funding review. A look at some of the most interesting grant funding opportunities out there at the moment.   

For April 2022, we’ve selected a variety of fascinating competitions from Innovate UK, covering a number of themes ranging from Canadian-UK R&D collaboration with a focus on net-zero value chains in transportation, to innovative aerospace technologies in the UK.

For a comprehensive list of open competitions, look to UKRI’s Funding Finder tool or Innovate UK’s Innovation Funding Service.

Canada-UK Net Zero Value Chains – Transportation

Innovate UK is collaborating with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). They are investing up to £4 million on joint R&D projects from the UK registered businesses and Canadian SMEs.

The goal of this competition is to encourage and support collaborative research and development (CR&D) through Canadian and UK partnerships. Proposals must demonstrate high potential for commercialisation, address a technical challenge and target large global markets.

The projects must also facilitate the transition to net-zero for the automotive, rail, or maritime transportation sectors.

For your project to be eligible:

  • You must be a UK business of any size that has a grant funding request of no more than £300,000.
  • It must also have a grant funding request of no more than CA$500,000 allocated to each eligible Canadian SME.
  • It must start by 1 January 2023 and end by 31 December 2024 and must last between 12 – 24 months.

In addition, the eligible project costs of each project must be evenly split among the partners from the participating countries and no one country or project partner may account for more than 70% of the overall project costs.

Opened: 4 April 2022
Closes: 29 June 2022

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Automotive Transformation Fund Scale-up Readiness Validation (SuRV)

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and partners, Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for International Trade (DIT) have joined together to deliver the Automotive Transformation Fund. The aim of the funding competition is to support the industrialisation of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK.

APC is looking for single organisations or consortiums with R&D projects that can show they are ready for scale-up through pilot production, with a maximum grant request of £2 million. 

The resulting projects must support the UK automotive industry in increasing business confidence in making large scale manufacturing investments and building electrified vehicle supply chains.

To be eligible, you must be a UK registered business, be a grant recipient, carry out your R&D project in the UK, and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK. And your project must:

  • Have a total grant request of no more than £2 million or a maximum of 65% of the project costs
  • Start by 1 September 2022 and end by 29 February 2024 and be completed within 18 months.
  • Aim to draw down 50% of the grant by 31 March 2023, carry out all of its project work in the UK, and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK. 

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Opened: 20 April 2022
Closes: 25 May 2022

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NATEP helping SMEs innovate in aerospace: Spring 2022

Innovate UK has joined forces with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Together, they have launched a spring 2022 funding competition in which UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to carry out industry-led civil aerospace collaborative R&D projects.

The aim of the competition is to provide help to SMEs who want to develop innovative aerospace technologies.

To be eligible, you must be an SME who collaborates with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, research technology organisations (RTO), public sector organisations, charities or academic institutions, and you must sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute framework agreement.

Your project must:

  • Have total costs between £150,000 and £300,000.
  • End by 31 March 2022 and last between 12 – 18 months.
  • Carry out all of its project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK. 

You can start your project from the 1st of September 2022 and all proposals must also align with the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace technology strategy, Accelerating Ambition.

Opened: 4 April 2022
Closes: 18 May 2022

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Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition – Round 2

Innovate UK is providing SMEs with up to £25 million in loans. These loans are available to innovative late-stage research and development (R&D) projects that show the most potential. There should also be a clear road map for commercialisation and economic impact. 

To qualify, your project must result in new products, processes, or services that are far superior to those currently accessible or offer an innovative use of existing goods, procedures, or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.

It is worth noting that projects that focus on future economic areas included in the Innovate UK plan for action are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million, you must:

  • Be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).
  • Carry out your project from or in the UK. 
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK and give evidence that your business is suitable to take on a loan.
  • Show that you need public funding, can cover interest payments and will be able to repay the loan on time. 

In addition to this, your project must start from July 2022 and can last up to 5 years, including both the R&D and commercialisation phases. Also, only single businesses can receive loans, so collaboration with other organisations cannot be funded in this competition.

Opened: 14 April 2022
Closes: 11 May 2022

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Interested in learning more about different types of funding available to businesses? Read our Guide to startup funding in the UK.