How to find the right grant funding opportunities for your innovation

In today’s blog, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about how to find grant funding opportunities for innovation projects. This includes where to look and how to decide if a grant funding opportunity is the right fit for your organisation.

“Where can I find grant funding opportunities?”
  1. Unfortunately, there is no single list of innovation funding opportunities. The main places to look include:
  • UKRI Funding Finder – this contains funding opportunities from across UKRI, including Innovate UK. You can filter the results by funding council, funding type, and submission status.
  • European Funding and Tenders Portal – the Portal contains all funding programmes and tenders managed by the European Commission, including Horizon Europe. However, you can quickly find relevant opportunities by searching for keywords relating to your field of interest or using the portal’s built-in filters to narrow your search.
  • Eureka Network – a list of open calls for transnational research and innovation projects is available on Eureka’s website.
  • You may also want to consider regional funding bodies, such as SMART Cymru for businesses based in Wales.

2. We recommend signing up for newsletters and funding bulletins to ensure you receive the latest opportunities direct to your inbox. Our favourites include UKRI and KTN. We also share the latest opportunities in our free monthly newsletter.

3. It is worth following innovation funding bodies such as Innovate UK and Horizon Europe on social media. This is another place where they tend to promote open or forthcoming funding calls. We also highlight the latest funding opportunities on our Twitter and LinkedIn.

4. If you have a specific project in mind, you should consider speaking to an innovation funding expert. They will be able to talk you through available funding opportunities and point you in the right direction.

“How do I know if a grant funding opportunity is the right fit?”
  • Check the eligibility criteria – this is essential as if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, your application will be rejected and may not even be read. Typically, there may be rules relating to project costs, duration, start and end dates, and whether a project is single or collaborative.
  • Check the project scope – It’s important that you read and understand exactly what a funding call is looking to fund. For example, Innovate UK often highlights specific themes that a project should focus on, as well as projects that they will not fund. Remember, square pegs don’t fit round holes!
  • You should also consider whether it is the right time to apply for grant funding. Is your project at the right stage of development and can you provide the required level of match funding? If not, it may be worth holding off and revisiting an application further down the line.
“I’m interested in more than one opportunity – how do I choose?”

You may not have to choose, as you can generally apply to multiple competitions at the same time. Some of the information from a grant application will be transferable to other applications, and by casting a wider net, you also increase your chances of success. However, if you are successful with more than one application for the same project, you will need to decide which fund to progress with.

More Information

We hope this information helps in your search for grant funding opportunities. If you are short on time and would like our support, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.


European Commission adopts EIC Work Programme 2022

The European Commission has adopted the 2022 work programme of the European Innovation Council (EIC)! In 2022, it will provide €1.7 billion for breakthrough innovators to scale up and create new markets.

EIC Pathfinder

Firstly, the EIC Pathfinder will receive €350 million to fund early-stage technology research. €183 million will be awarded through Pathfinder Open, with submissions open from 1st March until 4th May. The remaining €167 million aims to tackle the following six challenges:

  • Carbon dioxide and nitrogen management and valorisation
  • Mid-long term, systems-integrated energy storage
  • Cardiogenomics
  • Healthcare continuum technologies
  • DNA-based digital data storage
  • Alternative approaches to quantum information processing, communication, and sensing.

These calls will open from 15th June until 19th October.

EIC Transition

Secondly, the EIC Transition will receive €131 million to fund technology validation and spin-out. It will focus on promising results generated by both EIC Pathfinder and European Research Council Proof of Concept projects. Calls open from 1st March, with €70.9 million allocated to EIC Transition Open and €60.5 million to the following Transition Challenges:

  • Green digital devices for the future
  • Process and system integration of clean energy technologies
  • RNA-based therapies and diagnostics for complex or rare genetic diseases
EIC Accelerator

Lastly, the EIC Accelerator will provide €1.16 billion for start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale up high impact innovations. Applicants can submit a short application at any time. Then, the cut-off dates for full applications are 23rd March, 15th June, and 5th October.

What’s new in the 2022 EIC Work Programme?
  • A new EIC-Scale Up 100 Initiative to identify 100 potential deep-tech unicorns.
  • Equity investments above €15 million for technologies of strategic European interest.
  • Stronger support for women innovators through the development of an innovation gender and diversity index.
  • The EU Prize for Women Innovators includes two new prizes for innovators under 35.
  • More frequent application deadlines.
  • Second-time applicants to the EIC Accelerator can describe and defend the improvements made to their resubmission.
More Information

Further information on each of the calls is available in the EIC Work Programme 2022. There will also be an Information Day on 22nd February. If you are planning to apply for funding and would like bid writing support, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


Grant funding available for UK-South Korea collaborative R&D

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £2 million to fund collaborative innovation with businesses from South Korea. This funding is from Innovate UK in partnership with the Korea Institute for the Advancement of Technology.

Scope

This competition will fund collaborative research and development projects focused on industrial research. All proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation
  • considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy or national productivity
  • the benefits of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where IP can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within no more than 2 to 3 years of project completion
Eligibility

All projects must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Firstly, the consortium must include at least one business registered in South Korea.
  • All projects must last between 24 and 36 months, starting by 1st November 2022 and ending by 31st October 2025.
  • UK applicants can apply for a maximum grant of up to £350,000.
  • They must also carry out the majority of their project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.
More Information

This competition is open from 14th February until 6th July. For more information, please visit the competition page or join the online briefing event on 22nd February.

RedKnight has extensive experience of developing bids for transnational innovation projects. To find out more about how we can help, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


Eureka Eurostars: £2.5 million available for collaborative research and development

A new Eureka Eurostars call is open for applications! Through this competition, UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £2.5 million for collaborative research and development projects. They must develop an innovative product, technology-based application, or technology-based service with high market potential.

Scope

All proposals must demonstrate:

  • a game-changing or disruptive idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses market potential and needs
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy and/or national productivity
  • the benefit of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where intellectual property can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within two years of project completion
Eligibility

UK registered SMEs can apply for a total grant of up to €360,000 or 60% of the total eligible project costs (whichever is the least). To apply, you must fulfil the following seven eligibility criteria:

  1. The project lead is an innovative SME from a Eurostars country.
  2. Your consortium includes at least two independent entities.
  3. Your consortium includes entities from at least two Eurostars countries
  4. The budget of the SME(s) from a Eurostars country, excluding subcontracting, is 50% or more of the total project cost.
  5. No single participant or country is responsible for more than 70% of the project budget.
  6. The project duration is less than 36 months.
  7. The project has an exclusively civilian purpose.
More Information

RedKnight has an excellent track record with supporting applications to Eureka Eurostars. For example, we recently won €674,160 on behalf of the FrOLik consortia – read more about this here.

This competition is open from 21st January until 24th March. For more information and to apply, please visit the competition page. Additionally, if you are looking for bid writing support and would like to arrange a free consultation, get in touch today.


Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2022

Child with jet pack reaching for the sky - Smart Grants innovation conceptInnovate UK has launched a new round of Smart Grants! Through this competition, £25 million will be available for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation. Applications are due between 17th January and 13th April.

Scope

Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘open’ grant funding programme. Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy. This includes the creative industries, science or engineering, and the arts, design and media. Projects can overlap with the grand challenge areas, although Innovate UK is also keen to support projects in other areas.

Proposals must demonstrate:

  • A clear game-changing, innovative and/or disruptive and ambitious idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • An idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • A strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
  • A clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • A team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • Awareness of all the main risks the project will face with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money
Eligibility

Your application must include at least one SME; they can be the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner. The project must start no later than 1st October 2022 and end no later than 30th September 2025. Your project must also follow specific rules based on its duration:

  1. Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  2. Projects with durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £2 million. In contrast to shorter projects, they must be collaborative.

RedKnight Consultancy has significant experience in supporting applications for Innovate UK Smart Grants. You can view one of our success stories here. If you need help putting together a competitive proposal, please contact us today.

You may also be interested in our Innovate UK application guide – subscribe to RedKnight’s monthly newsletter today to receive a free copy direct to your inbox!


EU Missions receive €673 million investment

Last month, the European Commission adopted an amendment to the Horizon Europe work programme for 2021-2022, increasing its budget to €15.4 billion. This includes €673 million to roll out the following EU Missions:

1) Cancer

This mission aims to improve the lives of more than three million people affected by cancer by 2030. With a total budget of €125 million, it will invest:

  • €60 million in projects developing new methods and technologies for cancer screening and early detection
  • €54 million to improve understanding of the impact of risk factors and health determinants
  • €11 million to develop a set of quality of life and patient preference measures for cancer patients and survivors
2) Adaptation to Climate Change

‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ will help at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030. Its €122 million budget will support a variety of activities, such as the development of climate change risk assessments and large-scale demonstrators of climate resilience.

3) Restoring Oceans, Seas and Waters

This Mission aims to restore, protect and preserve the health of Europe’s oceans, seas and waters by 2030. It will invest €114 million in projects to protect the EU’s waters, prevent pollution, and create a sustainable, carbon-neutral and circular Blue Economy.

4) Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

The 'Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities' Mission intends to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. It has a range of calls totalling €119 million to support the transition towards climate neutrality in cities. They are in areas such as urban planning, the innovation potential of public transport, and Positive Clean Energy Districts.

5) Soil Health and Food

The mission’s goal is to establish 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030. With a total budget of €62 million, the Commission will launch calls to validate and develop indicators for soil health and functions, increase understanding of the link between soil health and safe food, and much more.

The first EU Missions calls are open for applications, with more information available in the updated 2021-2022 work programme. The European Commission has also organised Info Days for prospective applicants on 18th and 19th January – see the full programme here.

RedKnight can help you produce a competitive application, significantly increasing your chances of securing funding! Please contact us to discuss an application in more detail.  


Grant funding opportunity for UK-Singapore collaborative R&D

From 24th January, UK registered businesses will be able to apply for a share of £3 million to develop collaborative R&D with businesses from Singapore. This funding is from Innovate UK in partnership with Enterprise Singapore.

The competition has an open scope, but applications from the following sectors are of particular interest: advanced manufacturing and materials, agrifood tech, mobility and transport, cybersecurity, and health and life sciences.

Scope

This competition will fund business-led, collaborative research and development projects focused on industrial research. All proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation
  • considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy or national productivity
  • the benefits of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where IP can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within no more than 2 to 3 years of project completion
Eligibility

All projects must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Firstly, the consortium must include at least one business registered in Singapore.
  • All projects must last between 24 and 36 months, starting by 1st September 2022 and ending by 31st August 2025.
  • UK applicants can apply for a maximum grant of up to £350,000.
  • They must also carry out the majority of their project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.
More Information

This competition is open until 20th April 2022. For more information, please visit the competition page or join the online briefing event on 3rd February.

RedKnight Consultancy has significant experience in developing bids for transnational innovation projects. To find out more about how we can help, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.


APC 20: £25m available to develop low carbon automotive technologies

Through APC 20, the Advanced Propulsion Centre will invest up to £25m in late-stage, collaborative research and development of automotive technology and processes. This will support the UK automotive sector’s transition towards net zero.

Scope

This competition is seeking proposals for collaborative R&D projects that design, develop and manufacture zero emission on-vehicle technologies for on-road or off-road vehicles. All projects must:

  • support the growth and security of the UK’s automotive supply chain
  • deliver vehicle technologies and associated manufacturing processes which support the transition to net zero
  • align with the UK’s strategic aims in this area, such as the Automotive Council’s Roadmaps

There are several technologies in scope for this competition, such as:

  • battery cell components or systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • electric machines and power electronics
  • fossil-free fuel internal combustion
  • hydrogen storage and management systems
  • recycling or recovering materials from any of the above
  • digitalisation leveraged during the development, production or in-service phases
Eligibility

Firstly, all projects must have total eligible costs between £5 million and £40 million. They must be a minimum of 50% match funded and last between 18 and 42 months, starting by 1st September 2022. In addition, all project work must take place in the UK.

To lead a project, your organisation must fulfil the following criteria:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • have an active registered business base in the UK
  • be a grant recipient
  • involve at least one SME if the lead is not one
  • include in your consortium a vehicle manufacturer or tier 1 supplier who supplies parts directly to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • collaborate with others

Innovate UK also suggests that projects should involve a maximum of six partners. The collaborating organisations can be any of the following types of UK registered organisation: businesses of any size, academic institutions, charities, not-for-profits, public sector organisations, or research and technology organisations.

More Information

APC 20 opens on 12th January and closes on 2nd March. For more information, please visit the competition page or attend the applicant briefing webinar on 12th January.

RedKnight can help you produce a competitive application, significantly increasing your chances of securing funding! Please contact us to discuss an application in more detail.  


Funding available to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies

Abstract quantum technologies backgroundFrom 17th January, UK organisations can apply for a share of £6m for projects to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK. This funding is from the ISCF Commercialising Quantum Technologies Challenge.

Scope

Firstly, proposals must identify a clear market opportunity and an innovative project which exploits it. The project must meet the following criteria:

  • study a commercial opportunity
  • quantify performance objectives
  • provide a roadmap of future exploitation
  • exploit second generation quantum techniques.

Specific Themes

In addition, projects must address one or more specific themes:

  • Connectivity: techniques for securing data in storage and in flight.
  • Seeing the invisible: imaging, sensors and detectors for the environment, transport, autonomous systems, infrastructure, and healthcare.
  • Positioning, navigation and timing: developing resilience and precision for situational awareness and time dissemination.
  • Computing: advancing quantum computing for addressing intractable problems through modelling & simulation, machine learning and optimisation.
Eligibility

Projects must have total eligible costs of no higher than £500,000. They should start by 1st November 2022 and last between 12 and 18 months. Innovate UK also requires all project work to take place in the UK and an intention to exploit the results from or in the UK.

To lead a project or work alone, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • involve at least one grant claiming SME

You can also collaborate with other UK registered organisations, such as businesses of any size, academic institutions, charities, not-for-profits, public sector organisations, and research and technology organisations.

More Information

More information is available on the competition page. If you are looking for bid writing support, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.

Not the competition you’re looking for? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter to receive the latest grant funding opportunities direct to your inbox.


2021: Year in review

As 2021 draws to a close, we look back on what has been another busy year for RedKnight Consultancy. Here are some of our highlights:

2020 Year in Review infographic
RedKnight in Numbers

We are particularly proud to have reached the £10 million milestone this year – meaning we have secured over £10 million of innovation grant funding for our clients! Not only this, but we have now submitted almost 200 proposals (between September 2015 and September 2021). Our average application score stands at 77.88%, with a success rate of over 38%.

Projects

This year, we’ve supported projects from a range of sectors, from medtech to advanced materials. This includes a successful application to Eureka Eurostars, securing €674,160 for the Free Space Optical Links for 5G networks (FrOLik) project. Impressively, FrOLik ranked 16th out of all 500 eligible applications to this call!

In more good news, RedKnight has been accepted onto the SETSquared framework, a collaboration between six universities that aims to engage more start-ups and SMEs with funding programmes. We look forward to starting in 2022.

We have also won several awards this year, including 'Most Outstanding Grants and Funding Specialists 2021' in the Global Business Insight Awards and “Start-Up Support Consultancy of the Year” in the Corporate LiveWire Global Awards.

Client Feedback

Above all, we are proud to have received lots of great feedback again this year - there is no better feeling than a happy client! Read some of our most recent testimonials below:

  • “The RedKnight team is a pleasure to work with. Throughout the grant application process, we felt very supported, and really appreciated the extra thought and attention to detail provided by the bid writer.”
  • “A professional and efficient team with an in-depth understanding of the Innovate UK application process.”
  • “Dayne and Hannah were excellent - they were responsive, clear, and really focused on us as clients. It was a great experience, and we’ll definitely use RedKnight again.”

We would like to say a huge thank you to all our clients for your support this year. We look forward to following your projects in 2022 and working with you again in the future!

Are you planning to apply for grant funding in 2022? We’d love to hear from you – please contact us to arrange a free consultation.