235 Days Left

Net Zero Living: User focused design

Fund Name

Net Zero Living: User focused design

Project Length

6 - 12 months

Project Value

£50k - £100k



Innovate UK will work with micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest up to £3.8 million in innovation projects to support the net-zero agenda. The Design Council will support the implementation of this competition by providing bespoke support to your project.

The aim of this competition is to support ambitious, early-stage growth businesses in developing their net zero products or services to meet demand.

This support will include a budget to hire the expertise of living laboratories to test your products or services with end users, so they better meet the requirement of the target market.

Check Your Eligibility

Fund details

This competition will support you to utilise design thinking methods to link your innovations with the market. Behaviour changes in both places and businesses will focus on finding a market for a solution and support the uptake to create a valid business model. This includes access to living laboratories and other activities to test consumer response to products or services.

This competition will require a user focus, meaning that you will have to demonstrate how you will take into account the user needs and requirements and include them in your product or service development. This can include testing or demonstrations in a living laboratory. The living laboratory user focus expertise and cost must be justified.

The Design Council will offer bespoke support to each business, assisting in the understanding and reception of those products or services to users and those with a significant interest in the supply chain.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • power
  • heat
  • mobility
  • product manufacture and usage

This competition will not fund projects that are at the discovery and definition stage of a product or a service to answer a specific problem, as this stage should already have been reached. This competition will only focus on supporting projects that have a product or service that needs to be tested and developed with a user-focused design.

Innovate UK is NOT funding projects that are:

  • generating novel propositions based on design research aimed at understanding the needs and challenges of users
  • not focusing on net zero themes
  • not able to explain how the user focus will support the development, testing and demonstration of their product or service


Your project must:

  • have a total grant funding request between £50,000 and £100,000
  • start by 1 February 2024
  • end by 31 January 2025
  • last between 6 and 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK


Up to £3.8 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation


Contact us