Innovate UK open programme funding competition – round 1

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The first round of Innovate UK’s Open Programme Funding Competition of 2018 has opened today.

Do you have a cutting-edge project? Do you have disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation? Will you be ready to start implementing it by March 1st, 2019? Then you may want to apply to the second round of Innovate UK Open Programme Funding Competition! The application deadline is 11 July 2018 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 and you can apply for any amount between £25k and £2m, depending on the length of your 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: the percentage of the costs covered by the grant will vary depending on the type of research being led and on the size of the applicant(s). For example, 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 who will carry out the project and exploit the results in the country. If several entities, gathered in a consortium, can apply, all projects must include at least one SME.

To apply for the grant, your project has to:

  • 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 – which is available here – to help you through the process. Moreover, a briefing event will be held on July 20th.

NB: the application is split into three sections:

Project details This section, though not scored, helps the assessors decide if the project fits in the scope of the competition.
Applicable questions Ten questions help you present your project in details. Assessors will score your application, the success of which depends on this score.
Finances The last section covers the project costs 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!

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