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Innovation

Funding Round Up

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the UK will associate to Horizon Europe, enabling UK researchers, businesses, and scientists to access funding. Horizon Europe is the replacement programme for Horizon 2020, with a budget in excess of EUR95bn and funding will be available up 2027.


Opportunities are advertised via specific work programmes, which are built around thematic areas, but funding is broadly available across the following areas:

  • excellent research in any field
  • researcher mobility
  • research infrastructure
  • global challenges and industrial competitiveness:
  • health
  • culture, creativity, and inclusive society
  • civil security for society
  • digital, industry and space
  • climate, energy, and mobility
  • food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture, and environment
  • innovation
  • the development of the European research and innovation systems.

Calls are published throughout the programme’s duration and more information on these can be found here.

Working alongside the Horizon Europe funding programme is the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Pathfinder and Accelerator programme calls.

EIC Pathfinder

The Pathfinder funding is intended to support projects that explore bold new ideas for new technologies. The funding can enable consortiums to undertaken high-risk projects that include collaborations with interdisciplinary teams. Typically, those participating in this funding call are visionary leaders in an area, and can include start-ups, high-tech SMEs and industry looking to innovate or conduct research. Businesses can work as part of consortiums (typically they will involve partners from multiple countries) or take advantage of opportunities to work alone. Grants of between EUR3m and EUR4m are available for early Technology Readiness Level projects. The majority of this funding comes from the EIC Pathfinder Open, which can be used towards any thematic area. Alongside this, funding is also available for specific challenges. More information on these can be found here.

EIC Accelerator

The Accelerator funding programme supports SMEs, particularly start-ups and spin out companies, looking to develop ground-breaking innovations. This fund can provide up to EUR2.5m grant funding to businesses (UK businesses cannot apply for the equity financing in this call). Applications to this call can be made at any time via the EIC portal. Applications must include a video pitch, slide deck and responses to a set list of questions about the project and delivery team. Applications are assessed by a panel of experts and if an applications meets the basic criteria, applicants will be invited to submit a full application in advance of the next cut off dates (6th October 2021). Applications that meet criteria but are not recommended for funding are awarded the Seal of Excellence, to help applicants secure funding from other sources. Similarly to the Pathfinder programme, there is an open call for any field of innovation and a challenge fund for specific thematic areas. More information on this can be found here.

To access any Horizon Europe or EIC calls, support is available for each sector and type of organisation in the UK. More information on support available can be found here.

Additional funding calls

Notable funding calls currently also open to applications are:

Young Innovators Awards 2021/22

Individuals aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a grant that includes £5,000 for project costs and a living allowance based on two days (15 hours) work per week. The aim of this fund is to enable young people with innovative business ideas to undertake a project that addresses a clear problem and offers a solution that is significantly better than the current offer (including what is available through the market). Awardees will receive tailored business support alongside a grant and living allowance costs. Ideas can be for a new business or within an existing business. The deadline for applications is the 28th July and more information can be found here. Innovate UK is looking to award 32 projects as part of this call.

Driving the Electric Revolution: Supply Chains for Net Zero

UK businesses can apply for a share of £22m for projects that address key research and development opportunities in the UK power electronics, machines and drives supply chain. Projects must support the UK’s drive towards net zero, and must enable future improvements in productivity, capacity, quality and/or efficiency. Project costs can range from £500,000 to £5m and can last between 18 and 36 months. Projects can focus on the following areas: manufacturing process development; design for manufacture; innovative end-of-line testing and product validation processes; and, the circular economy. The deadline for applications is 30th June and more information can be found here.

If you’re looking to apply for any of the funding calls noted here, or would like support identifying alternative funding available for your project, reach out to your Innovation Business Advisor today. Support is available for the full grant funding journey, from the ideation phase to reviewing and submitting an application.

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