Innovate UK (UKRI)
In April 2018, Innovate UK merged with the UK’s Research Councils to become part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UKRI brings together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England. Whilst there are other significant sources of R&D funding for UK based companies, Innovate UK is by far the largest and best known.
The UK government have committed to increasing funding in research and development by £4.7 billion over 4 years through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. As part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, the long-term plan aims to raise productivity and earning power and bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time.
Fund focus – Innovate UK SMART Competition
SMART is Innovate UK’s flagship fund. UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million to deliver game-changing or disruptive innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy. These can come from any technology and apply to any part of the economy.
Projects should aim to lead to new products, processes or services (or novel use of existing ones) believed to be significantly ahead of anything similar available in the field. They must focus on commercialisation, growth or scale up.
“Our research has shown that the UK’s public funding for businesses is increasingly pivoting away from regional growth funding to funding through UKRI with funds such as Open Call which aims to accelerate commercialisation of innovative, British-science backed products and services.
Innovate UK’s annual funding budget is set to increase to £2bn by 2021 and this innovation funding is increasingly being directed towards small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in priority sectors.
To provide businesses with clarity of funding trends, we have analysed the non-dilutive funding distributed by Innovate UK in the 2018 Grant Report. In this report, we explain how businesses can take advantage of future trends including a move towards funding SME’s, regional differences and new opportunities for priority sectors such as driverless cars, clean energy, A.I. and space technology.”