02.02.23 Market Intel

Key UK grant funders

How much do you know about the key funders in the UK grant funding landscape?
In this blog post, Grant Consultant, Amelia Roe, gives you a brief overview.

The UK funding landscape

In a nutshell, the UK grant funding landscape is the different pathways you can secure funding from. The funders are the organisations that create the “routes”, and the funding competitions are the “routes” clients or companies follow to secure funding for their innovation projects. Find live funding opportunities here.

UK Research and Innovation

Let’s start with UK Research and Innovation, also known as UKRI – one of the main overarching bodies helping to distribute more than £8 billion of grant funding each year, to foster an outstanding UK R&D innovation ecosystem. They are sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (or ‘BEIS’).

UKRI brings together nine councils, with the aim of finding innovative ways to deliver an ambitious agenda. This includes eight research councils (such as the Medical Research Council and Arts and Humanities Research Council), plus Innovate UK.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the most well-known, being the UK’s innovation agency funded by UKRI. Innovate UK provides money and support through grants helping UK businesses grow – ultimately driving growth by de-risking, enabling, and supporting innovation. Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested around £2.5 billion in helping businesses innovate, with an additional £1.8 billion in match funding provided by the industry. Innovate UK has helped 8,500 organisations, created around 70,000 jobs, and added an estimated £18 billion of value to the UK economy.

Examples of Innovate UK funds include:

National Institute for Health Research

Another key funder is the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which aims to “create a health research system that brings to the NHS leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public”.

Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients, and the public, the NIHR fund enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people’s health and well-being and promotes economic growth.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, with its work focusing on early translational research, clinical research, and applied health and social care research.

Common NIHR competitions include:

  • Invention for Innovation (known as i4i)
  • Product Development Awards
  • Connect and Challenge awards – this fund helps de-risk various health technologies and medical devices for ultimate NHS use

Other key grant funders

Other key grant funders, who specialise in a specific domain area, include:

  • SBRI Healthcare
  • Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)
  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Eureka
  • European Space Agency (ESA)
  • The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)
  • Horizon Europe

Now, who’s ready for the quiz? Just joking, there isn’t really a quiz, but you could make one up for fun.

Find live funding opportunities from the above funders here.

If you’d rather listen than read, check out this Agony Grant clip reiterating the above.


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