R&D and Innovation Funding in the UK

The ZABALA UK office provides a general update on Research and Innovation funding opportunities in the country and summaries of some of the main calls currently available to UK businesses through "Innovate UK"

With the recent announcement of the General Election and Brexit negotiations looming, the UK has entered a fairly uncertain period in it’s political history. As will be the case with many other industry sectors, we ask ourselves; 

“What does this mean for us? For Research and Development? For innovation?”

Innovators across the UK may be able to take solace in the fact that, of the drastically different views and manifestos from the Conservative and Labour parties, innovation funding appears to be one of the consistent themes across them both. Both parties have stated targets to create an “innovation nation” and increase funding to reflect 3% of GDP in the long term. To quantify that, based on 2016  UK GDP figures, 3% would equate to approximately £56bn of R&D expenditure. 

These common statements help to unveil potential opportunity for the future of innovation in the UK and deliver a clear message to SME’s and large businesses alike – Britain will invest in innovators, disruptive technologies and ideas that will make our world a better place for all.

Zabala aims to be with you every step of the way, helping you identify the most appropriate funding opportunities, to managing and maximising those funds through clear management, planning, grant funding and tax incentives’ expertise.

We have provided summaries of some of the main calls currently available to UK businesses through Innovate UK as follows:

Innovate UK

Materials and Manufacturing – Round 3

At present, there is a call for funding available through Innovate UK for Materials and Manufacturing. From the perspective of Innovate UK, they are seeking to invest in projects that will stimulate and broaden innovation in manufacturing and materials, aiming to improve UK manufacturing productivity, increase materials’ efficiency and sustain any competitive industry advantages that we may currently possess, for the long term. The call is focused on the development of manufacturing concepts and/or the innovative use of materials, but does not include the development of any specific innovative products themselves.

Funding is available in the range of £50,000 to £2 million dependent on project size and impact. Where a proposed budget for a project exceeds the £100k threshold, collaboration with other organisations will be required, including with RTO’s and large companies. It is mandatory to have at least one SME in the consortium for these size budgets.

This current round of funding closes on 12 July 2017 and will likely represent the last round of this nature in this pool, Zabala is available to work efficiently with you to identify if your project meets the scope of the competition and assist you in delivering a compelling case in the proposal. 

Connected Autonomous Vehicles Test Bed

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) has a £100 million fund to invest in CAV test bed infrastructure. This competition is for up to £55 million in projects to develop connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) testing infrastructure.

The aim is to create the world’s most effective CAV testing ecosystem. Proposals should integrate existing proving grounds and public road test sites across the UK’s existing automotive and technology heartlands. They should improve current capabilities and create new ones.

CCAV is expecting to invest from to £7 million to £18 million per project, depending on the competition stream. It expects to support up to 4 projects. Preference will be given to projects that can deliver operational facilities and be open for business within 12 to 18 months.

European Funding

Most of the projects submitted here tend to be collaborative, with the default arrangement under H2020 calls involving at least 3 partner organisations from 3 different member states. Under these calls, we would seek to understand your forward innovation plan with a view to matching your future projects with those of other potential collaborators as part of building consortia. There are also adjacent competitions such as LIFE which rewards projects aiming to solve environment issues. Entering into a collaboration for LIFE funding is not mandatory but it is recommended.

If you would like any further information on the two calls above or any other European funding programmes, please get in touch and we can arrange a conversation at your convenience.

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