Innovate UK Launchpads: Unlocking Innovation and Growth Across the UK

Innovate UK, in partnership with local leaders, is set to revolutionize the business landscape in the United Kingdom. Eight new Launchpads are opening for applications, each catering to specific geographic clusters and offering a plethora of support, networking opportunities, and funding to businesses of all sizes. These Launchpads are part of a broader effort to fuel innovation, foster growth, and scale businesses, all while addressing key challenges that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) face in their respective clusters.
What are Innovate UK Launchpads?

Net Zero Industry Launchpad (South West Wales)
The Net Zero Industry Launchpad, located in South West Wales, is a haven for sustainable solutions in the field of net-zero industrial emissions. As the world strives for a greener future, this Launchpad offers businesses a platform to innovate and pioneer technologies that reduce carbon footprints and promote eco-friendly industrial practices.

Digital Technologies Launchpad (North East England)
Situated in North East England, the Digital Technologies Launchpad is poised to lead the charge in the application of digital technologies across fast-growing and emerging markets. Businesses in this cluster can expect to find support, funding, and guidance to stay at the forefront of the digital revolution.

Health Technologies Launchpad (West Yorkshire)
In West Yorkshire, the Health Technologies Launchpad is dedicated to pioneering breakthroughs in health technologies, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes. This Launchpad is a vital resource for companies looking to make a difference in the healthcare sector.

Agri-tech and Food Tech Launchpad (Eastern England)
Nestled in Eastern England, the Agri-tech and Food Tech Launchpad is set to revolutionise the way we produce and sustain our food. By driving innovation in food production and sustainability, it aims to transform the agricultural and food sectors.

Marine and Maritime Launchpad (Great South West)
The Great South West region hosts the Marine and Maritime Launchpad, which supports initiatives in marine and maritime industries. By fostering growth and sustainability in this sector, it creates opportunities for businesses to thrive in this unique environment.

Bio-based Manufacturing Launchpad (Scotland)
In Scotland, the Bio-based Manufacturing Launchpad is committed to driving innovation in sustainable production methods. This Launchpad is for businesses seeking to make a significant impact on the environment and promote more eco-friendly manufacturing practices.

Immersive and Creative Industries Launchpad (Coventry and Warwickshire)
The Immersive and Creative Industries Launchpad, centred in Coventry and Warwickshire in the West Midlands, champions groundbreaking technologies for the creative industries and immersive experiences.

Life and Health Sciences Launchpad (Northern Ireland)
Northern Ireland hosts the Life and Health Sciences Launchpad, which is dedicated to the advancement of healthcare solutions and medical breakthroughs. It's the ideal place for businesses aiming to make a difference in the healthcare landscape.

These Launchpads build on the success of pilot programs in 2022 for the Advanced Manufacturing cluster in Liverpool City Region and the Net Zero cluster in Tees Valley. They are unique, co-developed programs designed in close collaboration with local leadership to address the specific needs of each cluster. By being embedded in the local innovation ecosystem, these Launchpads aim to provide tailored support to businesses, enabling them to flourish.

How do these Launchpads work, and who can apply?
Each Launchpad supports businesses in their innovation projects, fostering collaboration within a supportive ecosystem. The support offered includes funding for research and development, access to innovation specialist support, and opportunities for networking and collaboration. This comprehensive approach enables businesses to develop new products or services and test and validate innovations through Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs).

Moreover, in addition to providing direct support to innovative organizations, each Launchpad aims to stimulate innovation and growth within the local economy. By supporting emerging clusters of innovative businesses and working closely with local leadership, Innovate UK's goal is to create world-leading and globally connected innovation clusters across the UK.
To be eligible for an Innovate UK Launchpad competition, organizations must be based in the UK and demonstrate strong potential for growth and innovation. They must also be active or growing their work activities within the Launchpad's cluster and have the potential to support economic growth in the local area.

Competition dates vary depending on the Launchpad:
• Agri-tech and Food Tech in Eastern England: Open from the week commencing 23 October 2023 and closing on 6 December 2023.
• Marine and Maritime in the Great South West: Open from the week commencing 23 October 2023 and closing on 6 December 2023.
• Immersive & Creative, centred on Coventry & Warwickshire: Open from the week commencing 23 October 2023 and closing on 6 December 2023.
• Bio-based Manufacturing in Scotland: Open from the week commencing 30 October 2023 and closing on 13 December 2023.
• Net Zero Industry in South West Wales: Open from the week commencing 30 October 2023 and closing on 13 December 2023.
• Life and Health Sciences in Northern Ireland: Open from the week commencing 30 October 2023 and closing on 13 December 2023.
• Health Technology in West Yorkshire: Open from the week commencing 30 October 2023 and closing on 13 December 2023.
• Digital Technologies in North East England: Open from the week commencing 30 October 2023 and closing on 13 December 2023.

Visit Innovate UK's funding pages to learn more and start your application today.

How to find funding for your research and innovation project

Undertaking a research and innovation project is an exciting journey that can lead to ground breaking discoveries and advancements in various fields. However, securing the right funding for your project is a critical factor in ensuring its success. European funding sources offer a wealth of opportunities for researchers and innovators. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps and strategies to help you identify relevant European funding for your research and innovation project.

Define Your Project Goals and Objectives
Before delving into the world of European funding, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your project's goals and objectives. What problem does your research aim to address? What innovative ideas or technologies will you be developing? Defining the scope and objectives of your project will not only help you target the right funding sources but also enable you to communicate the project's value proposition effectively to potential European funders.

Tip: Many programmes fund projects based on the technology readiness level (TRL) of the innovation. If you are not familiar with the TRL scale, read more to better understand what each level means and map your product, process or service onto it. This will help you refine the competitions you should be looking at.

Identify Your Funding Needs
Once you have a well-defined project plan, it's time to determine your funding needs. Estimate the total budget required for your research and innovation project, considering all expenses, including personnel salaries, equipment, materials, travel costs, and other operational expenses. Understanding your funding requirements will help you identify European funding opportunities that align with your project's financial needs.

Explore European Union (EU) Funding Programs
The European Union offers an array of funding programs to support research and innovation projects. These programs are designed to promote collaboration across Europe and address a wide range of societal challenges. Some of the most prominent EU funding programs include:

• Horizon Europe: Horizon Europe is the EU's flagship research and innovation program. It offers various funding instruments, including grants, prizes, and loans, to support projects in areas such as health, climate, digitalization, and innovation.
• Cohesion Policy Funds: These funds aim to reduce economic and social disparities across EU regions. Depending on your project's location, you may be eligible for funds like the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) or the European Social Fund (ESF).
• European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): EIT supports innovation ecosystems across Europe by fostering collaboration between universities, research centres, and businesses. It provides funding through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) in various thematic areas.
• European Research Council (ERC): The ERC offers competitive grants for researchers at different career stages, from Starting Grants for early-career scientists to Advanced Grants for established researchers.

Tip: To explore EU funding opportunities, visit the official EU Funding and Tenders Portal (formerly known as the Participant Portal) and search for relevant calls and programs.

Investigate National and Regional Funding Sources
In addition to EU funding, many European countries and regions offer their own research and innovation funding programs. These programs may have specific priorities and criteria, making them valuable options for researchers seeking local support. To identify national and regional funding sources, consider the following steps:

• National Research Agencies: Each European country typically has a national research agency responsible for distributing research funding. Examples include the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the French National Research Agency (ANR).
• Regional Development Agencies: Regional governments often provide funding to promote innovation and economic development in their areas. Contact your local or regional development agency to inquire about available programs.
• Collaborative Projects: Some funding programs encourage cross-border collaboration between neighbouring countries. Look for initiatives like Interreg programs, which support transnational projects aimed at addressing common challenges.

Tip: Some regional development agencies will have pots of money to facilitate international cooperation and bid-development, so be sure to ask what financial support is available to help you apply for European funding.

Seek European Private Sector Funding
Private sector funding in Europe can come from corporations, foundations, venture capitalists (VCs), and angel investors. European companies may be interested in supporting innovative projects that align with their business goals or corporate social responsibility initiatives. To find European private sector funders:

• Networking Events: Attend industry-specific conferences, innovation expos, and networking events in Europe to connect with potential private sector investors and partners.
• Venture Capitalist (VC) Firms: European VC firms actively seek opportunities to invest in innovative start-ups and early-stage companies. Research firms that specialise in your industry or technology sector.
• Corporate Partnerships: Large European corporations often engage in research collaborations with academic institutions and start-ups. Explore partnerships that offer both funding and access to resources.

Leverage Academic and Institutional Funding
European universities, research institutions, and academic organisations can offer a range of funding opportunities for researchers and innovators. These opportunities can vary by institution and may include:

• Internal Grants: Many European universities and research centres allocate funds to support faculty-led research projects. These grants can cover various aspects of research, from initial concept development to project completion.
• Student Scholarships and Fellowships: If you are a student or supervising students as part of your project, inquire about scholarship programs and fellowships within your institution.
• Research Centres and Institutes: Some European universities host specialized research centres or institutes with dedicated funding for specific fields of study or innovation.
• Collaborative Initiatives: Collaborate with colleagues and researchers within your institution to explore joint funding opportunities. Collaborative projects often receive greater attention from funding bodies.

Tip: Academic and institutional funding opportunities are typically smaller than the large grants offered by the larger grant programmes such as Horizon Europe, but they can be a useful way of moving your project along incrementally, and also building a track record of accessing funding if you are new to the scene.

Utilise Online Grant Databases
Online grant databases and search engines can simplify your search for European funding opportunities. While some of these databases cover global opportunities, you can filter your search to focus on European options. Useful databases include:

• CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service): CORDIS is the European Commission's primary source of information on EU-funded research and innovation projects. It provides details on open calls, project results, and funding programs.
• FundingBox: This platform offers a comprehensive database of European funding opportunities, with a particular focus on innovation and technology-related grants.
• EURAXESS: EURAXESS provides information on research careers and funding opportunities in Europe. It also offers job postings and mobility support for researchers.

When using these databases:

• Keyword Selection: Use specific keywords related to your project to narrow down your search and identify European funding opportunities that align with your research.
• Filter by Location: Some databases allow you to filter results by country or region, making it easier to find grants that are geographically relevant to your project.
• Set Up Alerts: Consider setting up alerts or subscribing to newsletters to receive notifications about new European funding opportunities that match your research interests.

Collaborate and Network
Collaboration and networking are essential components of the European research and innovation landscape. Consider the following networking strategies:

• European Research and Innovation Networks (for example, ERRIN, CrowdHelix): Join or engage with European research and innovation networks and communities related to your field. These networks often organize events, webinars, and workshops to facilitate collaboration.
• Horizon Europe National Contact Points (NCPs): Each European country has designated NCPs who can provide guidance on Horizon Europe and other EU funding programs. They can help you navigate the application process and connect with relevant contacts.
• European Conferences and Workshops: Attend European conferences and workshops in your research area to meet potential collaborators and funders. These events offer opportunities for networking and showcasing your project.
• Online Platforms: Utilise online platforms and social media, such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate, to connect with fellow researchers, institutions, and potential partners across Europe.
• Collaborative Proposals: Consider collaborating on proposals with researchers and organizations from different European countries. Collaborative projects often have higher success rates in securing EU funding.

Tip: Building connections with potential collaborators, partners, and funders can significantly enhance your chances of securing European funding.

Navigating European funding for your research and innovation project offers a myriad of opportunities to turn your ideas into reality and make a meaningful contribution to your field and society. By defining your project goals, identifying your funding needs, exploring diverse European funding sources, and networking effectively, you can enhance your prospects of securing the right funding for your project.

Remember, persistence and adaptability are essential traits in the pursuit of European research and innovation funding. With dedication and a well-crafted proposal tailored to European priorities, you can bring your innovative ideas to life and contribute to the progress of Europe's research and innovation landscape. Whether you are seeking funding from EU programs, national agencies, or private sector investors, the path to success lies in your commitment to excellence and your ability to align your project with European aspirations for a brighter future.

It’s official: UK to associate to Horizon Europe

After more than two and a half years of uncertainty and negotiations, the UK government and the European Commission (EC) have reached a landmark agreement to enable the UK's association with Horizon Europe. This momentous announcement brings a sigh of relief to UK and EU scientists who have been in limbo since 2021, uncertain about their future in collaborative research endeavours. This article explores the significance of this agreement, its implications for UK scientists and researchers, and the rocky road that led to this crucial decision.

A Milestone Agreement

The joint statement released today (7th September 2023) by the UK government and the European Commission marks a turning point in UK-EU relations, particularly in the realm of scientific cooperation. EC President Ursula von der Leyen aptly described this agreement as proof of the EU and UK's status as key strategic partners and allies. This collaboration reaffirms their commitment to being leaders in global science and research.

Under the terms of this deal, UK scientists will regain access to European Research Council (ERC) grants and will be able to coordinate academic-industrial consortia within the Framework program. This move ends the period during which UK researchers had to rely on UK equivalent grants and funding, and it paves the way for seamless integration into Horizon Europe.

Addressing Past Uncertainties

While UK academics have been able to participate in industrially-focused Pillar 2 projects of the Horizon program, the uncertainty surrounding the UK's long-term involvement caused UK participation in the program to decrease significantly. This reduction raised concerns that UK scientists might be excluded from vital European academic networks that had been cultivated over decades.

UK-based winners of ERC grants faced a difficult choice between relocating to the EU to maintain their awards or settling for UK equivalent schemes. This decision was fraught with uncertainty and implications for both individuals and the broader scientific community.

The Long and Winding Road to Association

The journey to re-associate with Horizon Europe has been characterised by twists and turns, and it has been far from straightforward. Initially, the Horizon association was agreed upon in principle at the end of 2020, as part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that outlined post-Brexit relations between the UK and the EU. All that was required to formalize this association was the signature of both parties.

However, 2021 saw relations sour over the Northern Ireland issue, as the UK government threatened to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. This protocol was designed to prevent customs checks on the island of Ireland and to ensure continued peace. The EC, in response to the unresolved Northern Ireland dispute, withheld its approval for the Horizon association.

The Horizon association became intertwined with broader political disputes, remaining elusive until February of the following year when the Windsor Framework addressed the Northern Ireland issue. Despite this progress, negotiations continued to stall, with the UK seeking assurances to prevent substantial financial losses from its late entry into the program.

Details of the Agreement

While today's announcement does not explicitly detail how negotiators resolved these financial concerns, it does mention a "temporary and automatic mechanism" designed to address any significant financial underperformance by the UK. If the UK contributes 16% more than its scientists receive in grants, this mechanism would activate. The UK is set to contribute "almost €2.6 billion" annually for its participation in Horizon Europe.

Additionally, the agreement confirms that the UK will remain part of the EU's Copernicus satellite system, despite initial concerns that the UK had already missed significant calls under the program. Copernicus plays a crucial role in understanding and addressing environmental and climate change-related challenges, making the UK's continued association valuable.

Euratom and ITER: The Missing Pieces

One notable absence in the UK's renewed association with European research initiatives is Euratom, the EU's nuclear research program. As a result, the UK will not participate in ITER, a multi-billion euro collaborative project located in France aimed at building a prototype fusion reactor. The decision not to re-join Euratom was guided by the UK's assessment that its industry's long absence from Euratom and ITER programs could not be reversed.

Instead, the UK will pursue a domestic fusion energy strategy with international collaboration, including partnerships with European counterparts. This alternative program is supported by substantial funding, up to £650 million until 2027, to ensure the UK's research interests and taxpayer funding align with its priorities.

Future Steps

The association deal reached between the UK and the EU will need to be ratified by member states through the Council of the EU, adding another layer of complexity to the process. However, this agreement signals a moment of reconciliation between the UK and the EU after the divisive Brexit debates that followed the 2016 Leave vote.


The UK's re-association with Horizon Europe is a significant milestone for the scientific community on both sides of the Channel. It marks a renewed commitment to collaboration, innovation, and scientific excellence. While challenges remain, including the ratification process, the agreement provides a glimmer of hope for UK scientists who can once again fully participate in Horizon Europe, ensuring the country remains at the forefront of global science and research. This development underscores the enduring power of science to bridge political divides and foster international cooperation for the greater good of humanity.

EIC Pathfinder: nearly €170 million to support novel technologies

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has selected the next set of proposals under the 2023 EIC Pathfinder Open call. 53 new projects will receive up to €169.5m to develop cutting-edge technologies throughout a wide range of fields, including health, artificial intelligence, computing, environment, and energy.

A total of 783 applications were submitted (6.77% success rate), with the highest number of selected applicants coming from France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Participants mostly come from higher education and research organisations, with SMEs accounting for around 18% of participants.

In addition to the grant funding, selected proposals will receive bespoke coaching under the EIC Business Acceleration Services.

Examples of selected projects are:

  • E-COOL - A holistic approach of electric motor cooling: E-COOL develops a holistic cooling technology for electric motors, maximising heat transfer through direct-contact spray cooling optimised with the aid of new Machine Learning (ML) algorithms. The project aims to provide unprecedented cooling rates at local temperature hot spots. The proposed cooling system will significantly contribute to reduce the excess of heat generated during power-demanding operations, making the employment of electric motors in commercial or heavy-duty vehicles possible, for example in earth-moving machines and aircrafts.
  • ICONIC - In-situ and operando organic electrochemical transistors monitored by non-destructive spectroscopies for organic CMOS-like neuromorphic circuits: The ICONIC project will develop ultra-flexible, conformable and implantable artificial intelligence organic electronic devices which hold promise to revolutionize the real-time monitoring and treatment of chronic diseases. ICONIC will combine macromolecular synthesis with in-situ and operando non-destructive spectroscopic methods in an innovative way to investigate with unprecedented accuracy ion-to-electron transduction in organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs), from the molecular to the micrometre scale. In a long-term vision, healthcare devices will enable signal recognition with body-friendly electronics and administer medication without the risk of human error.
  • 4TunaTES - For tunable thermochemical energy storage: 4TunaTES will unlock the potential thermal energy storage by delivering a ground-breaking flexible Thermo-Chemical Energy Storage (TCES) technology that can be easily adapted to different applications (variable in- and output temperatures) and thereby reduce the development costs by 90%. 4TunaTES will develop a TCES-prototype that can be also used for domestic use and addresses different challenges in terms of materials used, heat exchanging components with a high degree of manufacturing flexibility, and revolutionary systems with electricity adapted thermodynamic cycles.
  • FASTCOMET - Future Data Storage Using Colloidal Memory Technology: Fastcomet will develop a new concept for low-cost, high-storage-density memories which are urgently needed to keep storage capabilities in line with the growing demand. It is based on a colloidal memory concept in which colloidal nanoparticles are considered data carriers. The long-term aim is to develop an integrated device that is able to store data using nanoparticles smaller than 15 nm. This would ultimately result in ultra-high bit densities exceeding 100 Gbit per square millimetre and potentially reaching 1 Tbit square millimetre at a lower cost than existing data storage technologies.

Background information

The EIC Pathfinder scheme supports the exploration of bold ideas for radically new technologies. It welcomes the high-risk/high gain and interdisciplinary cutting-edge science collaborations that underpin technological breakthroughs.

Grants of up to €3m (Pathfinder Open call – fully bottom-up) or up to €4m (Pathfinder Challenges call – with thematic priorities) support early-stage development of future technologies (e.g. various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels 1-3), up to proof of concept.  EIC Pathfinder projects benefit from interactions with EIC Programme Managers and can receive additional funding for testing the innovation potential of their research outputs or for working across projects for portfolio actions. In addition, promising results can receive substantial follow up funding through the EIC Transition scheme to create a commercial venture or use the Fast Track scheme to access the EIC Accelerator to bring innovations to the market.

The EIC Pathfinder Challenges 2023 call opened on 20 June 2023 and will be closed on 18th October 2023 at 4.00pm BST/5.00pm CET.

EIC 2023 Challenges Information Days

The European Innovation Council's work programme for 2023 has been adopted by the European Commission. 26 January 2023 Web streaming will be available for all Info Days below; no registration is required. You can access the Web streaming, by selecting each event page below:   

26 January 2023 

Web streaming will be available for all Info Days below; no registration is required. You can access the Web streaming, by selecting each event page below:

31 January 2023 

1 February 2023 

2 February 2023 

3 February 2023 

9 February 2023 

15 March 2023 

Special Report on the SME Instrument

As the SME Instrument has been redesigned into the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot for 2021-2027, the European Court of Auditors was called upon creating a report in which the European auditors assessed whether this instrument has effectively supported innovation by SMEs; whether it has targeted the right type of SMEs; if it achieved wide geographic coverage; if the selection process and Commission support were effective, and if the Commission adequately monitored and followed up the instrument, in order to make improvements.

Overall, the special report concluded that the SME Instrument provides effective assistance to SMEs in developing their innovation projects and that having the EU branding helps companies to attract additional investment; however, the auditors also pointed out that the programme has shown a few short comings that, if assessed properly, would have been able to enhance the SME Instrument efficacy even further.

First of all, the frequent changes in the objectives and target groups have caused great confusion over the course of the programme and the late adaptation to the type of applicants (who progressively moved to a younger SMEs' audience) have slowed down the growth of the SME Instrument. Also, heavily relying upon local stakeholders (NCP; EEN) to promote the SME Instrument has proved to be an ineffective strategy and seriously lowered the otherwise enormous reach of the programme. In this regard, the report goes on remarking the fact that, whilst the impact of NCPs varied greatly between the Member States, scarce support from the Commission; no budget allocation to sustain dissemination activities and overlapping duties have been reported as the main causes for such shortcoming. Finally, other important matters such as failures in the online submission system; shortage of expert reviewers and no differentiation between resubmitted and new proposals have been highlighted as challenges to tackle in order to improve the impact of the SME Instrument

In conclusion, the Special Report provides a thorough list of recommendations that should be implement buy the start of the next Framework Programme, which include:
1.) Improve marketing and communication strategy from National Contact Points and the Enterprise Europe Network to SMEs by promoting peer-learning projects and the exchange of best practice and ensuring that targeted support to the network of National Contact Points for SMEs is operational at the beginning of Horizon Europe, in order to better raise awareness amongst SMEs.
2.) Provide remote evaluators with additional time to conduct their work by setting up a two-way information channel between remote evaluators and jury members to allow better access to the evaluation and provide with feedback on its quality;
3.) Develop purpose-built IT tools to reliably manage the submission and resubmission process, which should be kept separated and, especially with regards to the resubmission, limited, thus freeing up resources which are currently used to re-perform evaluations of the same proposal in multiple successive cut-offs;
4.) Collaborate with Member States and national promotional institutions to promote and advice on nationally backed financial scheme, similar to Phase 1, that might meet the financial needs of the SME-I beneficiaries.

Full version of the report and its recommendations is available here.

Keep Calm and Carry On

After three and a half years since the "gamble of the Century", the UK Government has finally delivered Brexit and the UK's departure from the EU will become definite at the end of this year. This poses some important questions. What of all the European funding programmes the UK has so successfully taken part in? What of its participation in Horizon 2020? Will the UK participate in Horizon Europe?

In response to these question that have been worrying researchers, scientists and industry, both home and abroad, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) department has released a statement where it urges UK entities to "continue to participate in, bid for and lead projects in the European Union’s (EU) flagship programme Horizon 2020, as if the UK remained a Member State, even after the UK exits the EU on 31 January 2020."

This continued participation, at least for the remainder of 2020, is indeed great news for the UK's national framework which is the second highest recipient of Horizon 2020 funding for science and innovation. On top of that, the transition period, which started on 1st February 2020 will guarantee that researchers and businesses can continue to participate in ALL programmes financed by the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and receive EU grant funding for the lifetime of individual projects, including projects finishing after the transition period ends in 2020. 

So, does this mean that it is going to be "business as usual" until the end of the year? On the whole, yes it does; however, we do still recommend if you double check the eligibility criteria for any programme you are considering applying to as a very limited number of Horizon 2020 programmes, which involve access to security-related sensitive information restricted for EU Member States, may be restricted to UK applicants and experience relevant changes in those cases where the project has already started. In this regard, we strongly advise to wait for formal communication from the European Commission or, in case of urgency, to contact directly

RedKnight's priority remains to assist UK researchers and business to access the best available opportunity for their projects, continuing to invest in our capabilities to secure EU funding, whilst expanding our portfolio to provide our clients with the best possible environment for international collaboration.
For more information on our services, please visit or contact us at

UK access to EU funding secured during transition period

Will UK entities be able to apply for Horizon 2020 funding during the transition period? This has certainly become one of our most FAQs since the December vote to agree the withdrawal agreement.

We are still awaiting official confirmation from the UK Government at this point, but expect that guidance will be updated in the next week or so.

Essentially, if the withdrawal agreement is voted through, it means the UK move into the transition period during which it will continue to contribute to the EU budget and therefore remain in EU programmes (as if a member state). This means UK entities CAN STILL APPLY as they did before and the EU will pay out the grant as currently the case.

So It should be ok to continue to submit bids to the Horizon 2020 programme, but clearly this is dependent on the withdrawal agreement being ratified.


RedKnight awarded again Best Grants & Funding Specialists

The best way to conclude 2019 is with another award acknowledging our efforts in supporting innovation and technological development in Wales. Just like last year, RedKnight is proud to announce that it has been awarded as Best Grants & Funding Specialist at the 2019 Finance Awards hosted by SME News (the international provider of corporate news and information, part of the AI Global Media Group).

The award draws on an UK-wide network of industry insiders to reward only the best in their fields, as well as the latest cutting edge features and latest deals from across the UK SME landscape. It is an important recognition to all those UK Based CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders and decision makers always looking to keep their finger on the pulse and stay ahead on the competition.

Of course, everybody at RedKnight is over the moon to receive another award in recognition of our services. RedKnight's Project Manager & Bid-writer, Mr Matteo Radice, said, "This is a most welcomed prize, which rewards us for all the great effort the team has put in over 2019 in maintaining the highest standard this company has set and our clients are accustomed to. This acknowledgement will make us look back at what we have achieved with great satisfaction and will also push us to set even higher standards for the future."

A new report to set up UK's agenda for Research and Innovation after Brexit

The announcement of a further delay on Brexit, and the issuing of a General election that might even turn the entire table, has brought the whole epopee into deeper levels of uncertainty, with some relevant impacts on the growth of many strategic sectors, amongst which the research and development sector stands out by importance.
Stirred by the fact that the EU currently makes for one-seventh of the overall research funding, many UK. researchers are still hoping for a ‘u turn’ on Brexit —or at least a deal good enough – and have urged the government to keep close ties to Horizon 2020 (which provides for the 11% of funding for UK universities), and its successor, Horizon Europe. In the case of a no- deal Brexit, the fear is that missing EU funds could trigger a ‘brain drain’ that would put UK’s competitiveness in danger
Partly in response to those fears, last March 2019, the U.K. science minister, Chris Skidmore, asked for independent advice about how the government should act if the United Kingdom decides to sever the ties with EU’s main funding programmes. The report, delivered at the beginning of November by the director of the Alan Turing Institute, Adrian Smith, and the UCL policy expert Graeme Reid, presents the eventuality of Brexit as an ‘unprecedented opportunity to promote an exciting, well-resourced vision for international collaboration’. Based on the assumption that the UK will be capable to replace the level of funding currently received from EU programmes – around £1.5bn per annum – with public investment, the report sketches out a strategy which advocates for a nationwide increase in spending for R&D, a new research fellowship program, and larger chunks of money for universities to quickly target research opportunities.
According to the report, spending in R&D should aim at meeting the Government’s set target of at least 2.4% of gross domestic product. To achieve this, Smith and Reid suggest four steps that underpin a vision which is even more ambitious than EU programmes such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships and European Research Council grants: an “international version of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF)”; “A coherent Global Talent Strategy, combining reforms to immigration policy”; “Substantial additional funding for basic research” and create a “flagship programme of research fellowships, offering large awards over long periods of time for exceptional researchers in all disciplines.”.
Additionally, the report points out that Brexit my also provide the government with the opportunity to redesign the national research funding landscape, promoting a more evenly spread across all regions of the UK. The current situation is dominated by a so-called “golden triangle” consisting of London, Oxford, and Cambridge, which have been grossly monopolising EU research funds. Smith and Reid suggest that the Government could better administer the geographical reach a post-Brexit funding vision by creating regional research centres, that focus on grand challenges such as reaching a zero-carbon economy.
Finally, the report suggests that in a post-Brexit scenario, Universities should get an increase in unrestricted block grants from the government, a type of funding resembling the EU Horizon Prizes, that would supposedly facilitate scientists to build consortia in a faster and easier way, without the constraints of a project-specific grant.
In conclusion, it is absolutely true that this report delineates a rather broad; ambitious and very optimistic vision for a post-Brexit research and innovation strategy; however, the work of Smith and Reid does not cover all the structural issues that a loss of EU funding would inevitably bring to the table and it leaves some important questions open to answers. For example, it is suggested that Government ministers should have a pot of money for creating policy-specific international partnerships, yet it is not specified specify how big these should be. Nor it is specified whether a completely new agency should be needed to replace the action from Brussels and give out these new funds mentioned: Smith and Reid do warn that replacing the £1.5bn from the EU could indeed over encumber the capacity of the UKRI, yet the ultimate decision on creating an entirely new funding agency to specialize in international partnerships looks like is going to fall on whatever majority will come out of the polls next December 12, 2019.
Source AAAS Science: