Innovate UK open programme funding competition 2017

The new round of Innovate UK’s Open Programme Funding Competition opened today.

Do you have a cutting-edge project? Do you have disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation?  Then you may want to apply to the second round of Innovate UK Open Programme Funding Competition! The application deadline is 8 February 2017 at noon, and here is a recap of what you need to know before you start.

Project size

Innovate UK has allocated up to £20m. That means you can get funds from £25k and £2m, depending on the duration of the project:

6 to 18 months £25,000 to £500,000
19 to 36 months (must be collaborative projects) £25,000 to £2,000,000


NB: all costs are not totally covered by the grant, the percentage covered will vary depending on 1- the type of research being led and 2- the size of the applicant(s). For instance, the fund will cover up to 70% for the feasibility studies done by small businesses but only up to 60% for those made by medium businesses.


The competition is open to UK-based companies only. You will thus have to carry out the project and exploit the results here. What’s more, all projects must include at least one SME in the consortium.

To apply for the grant, your project has to display specific characteristics. It must:

  • be a game changer, potentially leading to novel products, services or processes
  • have a clear market potential
  • be carried out by a skilled and experienced team
  • demonstrate an awareness of risks and a plan to mitigate them
  • include financial plans and timeline

How to apply to the funding competition

Innovate UK has produced a guide, available here, to help you through the process. 

NB: the application is split into three sections:

Project details This section helps the assessors decide if the project fits in the scope of the competition. It is not scored.
Applicable questions Ten questions help you present your project in details. Assessors will mark your application depending on your answers to these questions. 
Finances The last section covers the budget of the project and the organisational and funding details. More details here

How to maximise your chances to get a grant

To start with, you can read our “where the heck do I start?” posts, but actually, WE would maximise your chances of success. Get in touch!