Innovate UK’s recently published Strategic Delivery Plan sets out how it will support UK business innovation over the next three years. There are several key highlights for UK grant applicants to be aware of, as summarised below:

New innovation focus areas

Over the next three years, Innovate UK will focus on innovation and commercialisation in the following areas:

  1. Net Zero – As part of an overall investment of over £1.2 billion in Net Zero, Innovate UK will focus on key challenges and technologies through Catapults, ISCF challenges, and targeted programmes. Key themes include power, mobility, and green finance.
  2. Healthy Living and Agriculture – Over £600 million will be invested in Healthy Living and Agriculture over the Spending Review period. Significantly, there will be an expansion of the Biomedical Catalyst programme.
  3. Digital and Technologies – With a £380 million budget, Innovate UK will invest in new programmes in five key areas: Creative Catalyst, Bridge AI, Quantum, Services, and Semiconductors.
Increased range of innovation finance support 

Innovate UK will ensure that businesses can access funding at all stages of innovation. They will:

  • Continue to provide grant funding for high-potential early-stage innovation ideas on the route to commercialisation through Innovate UK Smart Grants.
  • Launch the full national roll-out of the Innovation Loans programme, committing £50 million for 10 competitions in 2022–2023.
  • Provide early-stage funding through Fast Start: Innovation grants for small and microbusinesses that have not previously received Innovate UK funding.
  • Roll out a scaled-up programme of Investor Partnerships for investment-ready SMEs.

In addition, there will be growth and commercialisation support through Innovate UK EDGE for high-potential scaling businesses.

Supporting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Innovate UK will also take steps to create a more diverse innovation ecosystem in the next three years. For example, they are planning to:

  • Introduce the No Limits Mission in 2022.
  • Deliver a new £2.5 million cohort of Women in Innovation awards and a new £2.4 million cohort of Young Innovators awards.
  • Launch the Inclusive Innovation Awards to celebrate success and showcase good practice.
  • Act to engage and enable disabled innovators to benefit from Innovate UK support.
Levelling up

To support the government’s commitment to level up the UK, Innovate UK will:

  • Invest in the Catapult network and Innovate UK KTN to deliver Government priorities across the UK.
  • Implement a programme of Launchpad investments across the UK.
  • Deliver three new Innovation Accelerator pilots in partnership with BEIS and local leadership.
  • Increase funding for global programmes by 2025 to build partnerships with key countries in areas of complementary strengths.
How RedKnight can help

RedKnight has a strong track record of securing innovation funding and can help you develop a competitive application! If you would like to explore an Innovate UK application, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.

The Strategic Delivery Plan is available to read here.