Innovate UK recently published its three-year Strategic Delivery Plan that details how it will spend ~£2.6bn in UK Government funds to support UK business innovation and its commercialisation. Our team have dissected the details so that you don’t have to. The blog explains how Innovate UK will distribute the funds from their Strategic Delivery Plan and how this could impact grant funding applicants.
Read on for more details and our take on the plan.
Whilst it’s not the detailed funding roadmap that some had hoped for, the plan does confirm a substantive increase in Innovate UK’s core annual budget, to ~£1bn/year within three years, reflecting its growing importance as a key conduit for UK R&D funding. A proportion of this funding will be directly available to UK businesses in the form of accessible R&D grants. In addition to this budget increase, Innovate UK’s grant funding budget will be further swelled through collaborations with other Government departments & affiliated agencies, including BEIS, DfT, DEFRA and the British Business Bank.
Of particular interest is that Innovate UK has highlighted three primary focus areas and their budget assignments. They are:
It’s likely that between ⅔ to ½ of these budgets will be distributed in the form of R&D grants within these broad sectors, with the remainder supporting UK research infrastructure, networks, training and IUK affiliates.
IUK has also confirmed that increased budgets for Innovate UK EDGE (up to £50m/year by 2025) & Innovate UK KTN (£15m/year) as well as new funding support for collaborations between academia and UK business e.g. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, ICURe and new pilot products e.g. Accelerated Knowledge Transfers (AKT).
The plan also lays out some specific commitments to key funds (although detail regarding specific timing and exact funding amounts available is still to be confirmed). This includes a renewed commitment to continue with SMART (~£75-100m/year) and FAST Start innovation grants (~£30m), with a particular focus on early-stage, high-potential businesses. It also includes confirmation that Innovation Loans are now an established offering with £50 million pledged to support 10 rounds of competitions in 2022–2023 plus an additional £15m committed for DASA Innovation Loans.
Place-based strategy has become a central feature of IUK’s approach, aligning closely with efforts to use innovation as a way to reduce the UK’s inter-regional differences in productivity and business growth. This includes Innovate UK’s involvement in the establishment of three Innovation Accelerators, in conjunction with BEIS, based in Glasgow, Greater Manchester, and West Midlands respectively. There will also be continued investment in UK Catapults (£280 million in 2022–23).
Further changes to the UK’s grant funding landscape are likely as the UK’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss seeks to quickly assert her authority. In particular, it seems likely that the future of the UK’s association with Horizon Europe will continue to be linked with ongoing Brexit re-negotiations. Whilst this may lead to uncertainty in the short-term, the current administration seems unlikely to change its fundamental approach to business-led innovation and we believe that the majority of the Innovate UK Delivery Plan will therefore be enacted as currently planned.
Overall, the future seems bright if you’re looking to apply for R&D grant funding for your innovation within the next three years. The increase in Innovate UK’s core annual budget to ~£1bn/year shows a strong commitment from the Government to continue to invest and put the UK at the forefront of innovation.
Granted Consultancy has over a decade of experience within the grant funding landscape. We have weathered the changes of new Government Party leaders, change in Government budgets and a recession and, throughout those challenges, we still continued to secure transformative grant funding for our clients. Our team has a track record of success spanning a variety of sectors from Cleantech to Health and Life Sciences to Digital Technology – why not get in touch today to explore how we can support you?