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Summer 2023 SME Funding Opportunities

During the third quarter of 2023 funding calls are focussed on clean innovation and net zero in transport sectors such as maritime and automotive.

In health there is focus on strengthening the bilateral R&D collaboration with Canada with biomanufacturing of next generation vaccines and therapies, as well as further investment in transformative dementia therapies.

There are also opportunities to apply for investment partnerships in Clean Growth, Ageing Society, Innovative Farming, and applications are now open for another round of the Future Economy Innovation loans. 


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with The Department for Transport (DfT) to invest up to £34 million in innovation projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.

Competition closes: 27 September 2023


SBRI: Clinical biomarker tools and technologies for dementia 

Organisations can apply for a share of £6 million, inclusive of VAT, to develop or repurpose platform technologies. These technologies can be used as clinical tools to enable the bio-marker guided development of transformative dementia therapies.

The aim of the competition is to accelerate innovations in dementia biomarker detection to transform clinical trials and precision therapies.

Competition closes: 4 September 2023


Industrialising net-zero automotive technology

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) provides funding, support, insight and foresight for the development of low emission transport solutions, and automotive technologies. It aims to support the UK’s transition towards net zero product manufacturing and supply chain in the UK automotive sector.

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million for late stage R&D projects that help accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future.

Competition closes: 20 September 2023


Canada-UK: Biomanufacturing of Biologics and Advanced Therapies

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to invest up to £3.5 million in innovation projects.

The aim of this competition is to stimulate the development and implementation of innovative technologies in biomanufacturing. The objective is to build the desired flexibility and technical capabilities required for the development and economically sustainable production of the next generation vaccines and therapies.

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £3.5 million for collaboration with Canadian SMEs on joint R&D projects, for enabling technologies and innovations in biomanufacturing of biologics and advanced therapies.

Competition closes: 17 October 2023


Combined Investor Partnerships Round 12

UK registered SMEs can apply for grant funding alongside private investment from selected investor partners.

These are the eligible investor partnership programmes and the associated investor partners in this round:

  • Ageing Society Grand Challenge Investment Partnerships: Northstar Ventures
  • Clean Growth Innovation Fund: EQUANS

Competition closes: 30 August 2023


Defra Farming Innovation Investor Partnership

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will work with The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to invest up to £5 million in innovation projects.

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £5 million to develop innovative farming solutions. This must align with private investment from selected investor partners.

Competition closes: 30 August 2023


Innovate UK Innovation Loans Future Economy: Round 10

Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Innovate UK innovation loans are for highly innovative late stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.

Competition closes: 13 September 2023


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) create dynamic connections between businesses and the UK’s world-class knowledge base to deliver strategic innovation projects. The KTP partnership brings new skills and the latest academic thinking into the business partner to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project.

Transforming your business Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help your business:

  • Embed expertise, generate new knowledge, expand capability and foster a culture of innovation
  • Drive competitive advantage through accelerated innovation and the possibility of creating Intellectual Property
  • Gain privileged and cost-effective access to the UK’s world-class knowledge base and resources
  • Increase revenue through access to new markets and new product development
  • Improve profits through efficiency gains, increased productivity and better processes
  • Benefit from the strategic input of a highly experienced Knowledge Transfer Adviser and access

Closing Date: Open Call


Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP)

A £16 million programme to boost small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) defence innovation launched in July.

With the innovation of SMEs, the resources of big suppliers and initial funding from government, DTEP is designed to bring the key components together to allow pioneering projects to flourish.

The aim is to keep the UK at the forefront of defence technology, improving the capabilities available to ouThe programme is delivered by the Ministry of Defence’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), working with Innovate UK.

Individual grants of up to 50% of a project’s value, to a maximum of £500,000 per grant, will be available through DTEP for collaborative projects between SMEs and larger suppliers.

The grants will support the integration of novel technologies, materials and processes into defence supply chains. The grants will support the integration of novel technologies, materials and processes into defence supply chains.

Closing Date: Open Call

Applying for grant funding can be daunting; from finding the right fund to preparing an application, support is available to you. Reach out to your Innovation Advisor today, to find out more about how we can help you reach your innovation and business goals in 2023.

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Dharma Nurse

Dharma Nurse, Senior Innovation Development Manager

Dharma has considerable experience working with different engineering and manufacturing sectors and supply chains. She has recently worked on the Greater Manchester manufacturing strategy and action plan, and was the North West Business Development Manager of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and Business Growth Service. With a strong background in skills, Dharma helped to set up and run a Sector Skills Council for manufacturing and has worked with a host of companies to deliver key Lean Manufacturing projects. She also managed the piloting of the Food Manufacturing Excellence qualification, focussing on process innovation within the food and drink industry.

Dharma organised collaboration with the National Graphene Institute, Business Growth Hub and Business Growth Service to host a series of commercialisation workshops during Graphene Week 2015 and she has since hosted collaborations with Innovate UK and The Knowledge Transfer Network on this topic at Venturefest North West.  

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