ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Demonstrators: £16 million available

Plastic packagingUK registered businesses can apply for a share of £16 million for ambitious demonstrator projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging. The funding, which is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will support projects that demonstrate innovation at a commercial scale.

This is the Expression of Interest stage, at which there is no funding. Successful applicants will receive an invite to proceed to stage 2 and submit a full-stage application.


Firstly, your proposal should address widely known problems in relation to plastic packaging for consumer products. It must also include significant industry investment. Innovate UK is particularly interested in projects which address the UK Plastic Pact targets by demonstrating at scale:

  • minimised or reduced plastic packaging
  • refillable packaging and systems
  • sustainable solutions for film and flexibles
  • food grade recycled polypropylene and polyethylene
  • behaviour change leading to less packaging waste or higher recycling rates
  • solutions for problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging items

Grants of between £1 million and £12 million are available for large-scale commercial demonstration projects. All projects must last between 12 and 36 months, starting by 1st February 2022 and ending by 31st January 2025.

The project lead must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be a UK registered business of any size
  • Collaborate with another UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or research and technology institution
  • Carry out its project work in the UK and also intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Expressions of interest are due by 24th March and successful applicants will then be notified by 30th April. You can find more information on the Innovate UK competition page: ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Demonstrators. To discuss an application with one of our advisers, please contact us today.

£2 million available for sustainable plastic packaging projects

Innovate UK is investing up to £2 million in early-stage projects through the Future Plastic Packaging Solutions competition. This forms part of the wider Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge, which aims to deliver cleaner growth across the supply chain and reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the environment.


This competition will support feasibility studies and industrial research projects that address widely known problems related to plastic packaging. Innovate UK aims to fund projects with either direct or indirect commercial outcomes for the partners.  Additionally, proposals should explain how their innovation addresses one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets.

Projects must deliver one or more of the following:

  • a more circular plastic packaging value chain, with reduced environmental impacts, such as carbon emissions and improved recyclability
  • improved understanding of effective communication techniques to increase recycling rates and uptake of re-use/refill business models
  • more consistent data and increased knowledge relevant to the supply chain.

You can find more information on in-scope projects, including specific themes, here.


Projects can last up to 18 months, starting by 1st June 2021 and ending by 30th November 2022. To lead a project or work alone, your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size, charity, non-government body or not-for-profit. It must carry out its project work in the UK and intend to exploit its results from or in the UK. If you are planning to work collaboratively, you can find the full eligibility criteria here.

To find out more, visit the ISCF Future Plastic Packaging Solutions competition page. Alternatively, if you'd like to discuss your project with one of our expert advisers, please contact us today.

Are you still looking for the right grant funding opportunity? If so, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter today to receive the latest competitions directly to your inbox.