Funding competition Environmental Monitoring Innovation

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £5 million for collaborative projects to develop innovative solutions in environmental monitoring. This funding is from Innovate UK and The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

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Competition sections

Description

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Innovate UK (IUK), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will invest up to £5 million in innovation projects.

This partnership funding is part of the Innovation in Environmental Monitoring programme.

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative projects that develop environmental monitoring solutions to enable improved monitoring of environmental variables.

We are looking for projects that will:

  • support the development of new sensing systems and monitoring capabilities that will either improve existing approaches or introduce new ones
  • support the testing of these products, including ‘ground-truthing’ with existing monitoring regimes, verifying their accuracy and reliability, and potential for deployment at scale
  • help the UK environmental monitoring sector in anticipating and responding to growing markets for environmental sensing, delivering economic growth to the UK
  • deliver new and strengthened partnerships between academia, public and private sectors, and across disciplines, stimulating innovative approaches

Your project must focus on one or more of the following challenge areas:

  • biodiversity and natural capital
  • soil health (including measuring soil carbon)
  • water quality
  • greenhouse gas (GHG) and ammonia emissions from Defra sectors

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process.

This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated in this Innovate UK competition brief. We cannot guarantee other government or third party sites will always show the correct competition information.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £150,000 and £450,000

Accessibility and Inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes making reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us.

You can contact us at any time to ask for guidance. We recommend you contact us at least 15 working days before this competition’s closing date to allow us to put the most suitable support in place. The support we can provide may be limited if you contact us close to the competition deadline.

You can contact Innovate UK by email or call 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm UK time, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £150,000 and £450,000
  • last between 3 and 18 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • start by 1 August 2024
  • end by 31 January 2026
Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Your project team must have the relevant environmental monitoring expertise for the environment they are testing in , or have experts involved in an advisory capacity.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in two further applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

All other organisations can collaborate on any number of applications.

Use of animals in research and innovation

Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.

Applicants must ensure that all proposed work within projects, both in the UK and internationally, will comply with the UKRI guidance on the use of animals in research and innovation.

Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations and compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

You can make a maximum of 2 submissions to Innovate UK with any given proposal. If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be counted towards this maximum.

If your application goes through to assessment and is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.


This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

Funding

Innovate UK and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have allocated up to £5 million to this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If 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 but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

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
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative projects that develop environmental monitoring solutions to enable improved monitoring of environmental variables.

We are looking for projects that will:

  • support the development of new sensing systems and monitoring capabilities that will either improve existing approaches or introduce new ones, including improving the sustainability and connectivity of data collection, analysis and reporting
  • support the testing of these products, including ‘ground-truthing’ with existing monitoring regimes, and verifying their accuracy and reliability, thus improving their chances of being successfully deployed at scale
  • help the UK environmental monitoring sector to anticipate and respond to growing public and private markets for environmental sensing, whilst delivering economic growth to the UK
  • deliver new and strengthened partnerships and collaborations between the public sector, academia and private sector, helping to connect across disciplines and stimulate innovative approaches

This competition is limited to terrestrial geographies, including near shore regions in transitional and some coastal waters, such as estuaries and salt marshes, provided they can be accessed from land.

Your proposal must develop new, or repurpose existing sensor systems and capabilities, such as:

  • observation systems, in-situ sensors or samplers, sensor or sampler carrying platforms
  • data processing, analysis, modelling or visualisation systems
  • post-acquisition sample or data processing or analysis and reporting

You must:

We encourage proposals that include testing in end user conditions and include a rigorous comparison against the current best practice, to allow ground truthing of the solution and data to verify reliability and accuracy. We also strongly encourage proposals that fit into the soil health challenge area.

Portfolio approach
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities, regions, scope areas and project sizes. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

Your project can address one or more of the topics listed below. These lists are not exhaustive and if you are seeking to address a different topic, you must provide a strong rationale within your application.

If your project does not fall within the topics listed then you must provide justification by email to support@iuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your topic area.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Biodiversity and natural capital

  • improving the collection of balanced biodiversity data on the distribution and abundance of species
  • monitor the short and medium term trends in species and habitats following interventions that aim to improve biodiversity
  • improving the ability to measure habitat connectivity and species mobility at a landscape and national scale
  • development of new approaches to verify biodiversity credits

Example end users: citizens, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and government statutory monitoring including protected species, protected areas, Environment Act 2021 (targets), landowners, biodiversity net gain, ecosystem and service markets.

Soil carbon and soil health

Including organic and peat soils.

  • improved methods of monitoring, reporting and verification to carbon markets and other users, which can include the sequestration and flux of carbon in soils in suitable frequencies and scales
  • new approaches toward the measurement of the biological, chemical, and physical properties of soil
  • the integration of individual data flows to better understand soil interactions and properties
  • improve current approaches or methodologies for assessing soil health and biodiversity for use in policy making and environmental or natural capital markets

Example end users: participants in environmental or natural capital markets, Government, land managers, agri-food sector.

Water quality

  • delivering low-cost, real-time measurement of key parameters in association with water quality and quantity
  • improving the accuracy and precision of field-based sensors, their maintenance and calibration
  • combining sensor networks and citizen science outputs to monitor and report multiple water quality parameters and optimise current monitoring regimes
  • improve monitoring of organic and inorganic pollution in riverine and groundwaters, lakes and estuaries, with reference to diffuse sources, industry discharges, wastewater treatment facilities and combined sewer outfalls

Example end users: Government delivery bodies, water companies, NGOs, civil society, local authorities, private companies.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) and ammonia emissions from Defra sectors

  • improve the quality of contributions to the UK’s GHG inventory from landfill, agriculture, agroforestry, forestry, anaerobic digestion plants, wastewater treatment, estuarine and freshwater bodies across a range of site types, conditions, and seasons
  • develop new approaches to monitor ozone depleting substances and fluorinated gases, with the aim of improving current global coverage
  • develop innovative approaches to improving the frequency of monitoring, compiling and quality-assessing agricultural emissions, with cost-effective direct assessment approaches, for example, tall tower systems
  • develop new methodologies to fill data and information gaps of the emissions inventory on farming practices, for example, livestock feed composition and diets
  • develop measurement technology and techniques for long and short term measurement of nitrogen-related pollutant concentrations, and fluxes under a range of environmental conditions and spatial scales
  • priorities for GHGs are carbon dioxide and methane but proposals making a strong case for others, including indirect greenhouse gases, will be considered

The scope is limited to nitrogen-related pollutants that deposit and impact biodiversity and ecosystem function, primarily ammonia but also NOx as they affect nitrogen deposition.

Example end users: participants in carbon markets, Government (devolved administrations, Defra, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero), landfill companies, water companies, farmers and companies wanting to monitor their environmental impact.

Your solution can significantly improve on current approaches to environmental monitoring such as providing:

  • improved insights and analytical capability
  • improvements such as reliability, accuracy, precision resolution and sustainability
  • increased range of environmental variables monitored and frequency of data collection
  • optimised methodology for the cohesive use of sensors and systems
  • easy integration with existing systems allowing straightforward use by non-experts such as citizen scientists
  • reduction in the overall costs of environmental monitoring

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • include marine monitoring
  • develop new sensing systems and capabilities that are unlikely to generate a viable business proposition
  • focus on the collection of new research or commercial data
  • do not focus on nitrogen-related pollutants

If you are addressing GHGs, the scope is limited to nitrogen-related pollutants that deposit and impact biodiversity and ecosystem function.

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

22 January 2024
Online Briefing event: watch the recording
22 January 2024
Competition opens
31 January 2024
Online collaboration event: register to attend
6 March 2024 11:00am
Competition closes
25 April 2024
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete
  • all partners have completed all assigned sections and accepted the terms and conditions (T&Cs)

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into four sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.
  4. Project Impact.

Accessibility and inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us.

You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.

You can contact us by emailing support@iuk.ukri.org or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

1. Project details

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on your project and invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from questions 1 and 2. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess and how we select applications for funding.

You must answer all questions. Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any partners or subcontractors working on your project. You must specify if any test bed partners are participating in your project.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Animal Testing (not scored)

Will your project involve any trials with animals or animal testing?

You must select one option:

  • Yes
  • No

We will only support innovation projects conducted to the highest standards of animal welfare.

Further information for proposals involving animal testing is available at the UKRI Good Research Hub and NC3R’s animal welfare guidance.

Question 3. Need or challenge

What is the business need, technological challenge, or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Explain:

  • the environmental monitoring problem, need, technological challenge or market opportunity identified
  • why your proposed solution will be in demand from end users
  • how your solution would deliver significant improvements on existing sensing systems and capabilities, improving sustainability, connectivity, data collection, analysis, reporting and cost-savings
  • how your project will help industry transition towards net zero emissions, and support environmental outcomes
  • how your solution could be integrated into existing systems, and any specific features that allow its use by non-experts
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural and government policy priority which are influential in creating the solution, such as incoming regulations

Question 4. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Explain:

  • the approach or innovation and how will it address the identified problem, need or challenge
  • how your solution will improve on existing approaches to sensor systems or capabilities in one or more of the priority areas
  • the technological maturity of your solution at the start and expected at the end of the project
  • whether the solution will focus on existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas, or be a totally disruptive approach
  • how the solution fits with your current product, service lines or offerings.
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project, for example, reports, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design, and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • why the test site is suitable to test your solution, including how it fits with your target market, if you are working with a test site partner,
  • how your project will demonstrate the solution’s output in the appropriate relevant environment if you are not working with a test site partner

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts explaining how your solution is the best approach to meet your selected challenge. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • how existing and new users of environmental monitoring sensors and systems will be engaged in the development and testing of your solution
  • the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for

You can submit one appendix, with a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. Market awareness

What does the market or markets you are targeting look like?

Describe:

  • the target markets for the solution and any other potential markets, either domestic, international or both
  • the size of the target markets for the solution, backed up by references where available
  • your target customers or end users, the level of demand expected from end users, the value of the solution to them and why they would use or buy your product or service
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 7. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project?

Explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your route to market for your solution
  • how you are going to profit from the solution, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the solution will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example, through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale.
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities.

Question 8. Competitors and barriers

Who else is operating in this space and what barriers limit your ability to exploit your project output?

Explain:

  • the freedom you have to operate
  • the process you have completed to evaluate the work of competitors including those near market, or in development
  • how does your proposal build on or differentiate from competitor offerings
  • what regulatory, cultural or other barriers exist, both in the UK and internationally that prevent you from fully exploiting this opportunity, where applicable

Question 9. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe and, where possible, measure:

  • the environmental, sustainability and resilience benefits from the project to external parties, for example, contributing to net-zero targets for emissions halting biodiversity loss, or reduction of waste
  • any other expected impact on government priorities or legal obligations, such as Environment Act 2021 targets or statutory monitoring requirements
  • the economic benefits from the solution to external parties, such as productivity increases and import substitution at a regional or national scale
  • the long term social and welfare impacts from the project
  • how you have determined that the solution will not widen any social inequalities, including any negative environmental impacts that you have identified, and how you will mitigate against these

Question 10. Project management

How will you manage your project effectively?

Explain:

  • the main work packages of your project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 11. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and other requirements identified, and how you will manage this

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long, and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 12. Added value

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation? What impact would this award have on the organisations involved?

Explain:

  • what advantages public funding would offer your project, for example, appeal to investors, more partners, reduced risk or a faster route to market
  • the likely impact of the project outcomes on the organisations involved
  • what other routes of investment or means of support you have already approached and why they were not suitable
  • how any existing or potential investment or support will be used in conjunction with the grant funding
  • what your project would look like without public funding
  • how this project would change the R&D activities of all the organisations involved

Question 13. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

In terms of your project goals, explain:

  • your total project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to your project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to your project

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance. You can also view our Application Finances video.

4. Project Impact

This section is not scored but will provide background to your project.

Each partner must complete the Project Impact questions before being able to submit the application.

More information can be found in our Project Impact guidance and by viewing our Impact Management Framework video.

Background and further information

Innovation in Environmental Monitoring Programme

Defra and UKRI are investing up to £12 million across three years to support research and innovation projects focussed on advancing monitoring capabilities in areas of joint strategic interest.

This programme will support the delivery of Defra’s Environmental Improvement Plan and the targets outlined in the Outcome Indicator Framework, the Environment Act 2021, the Plan for water (2023), England Peat Action Plan (2021) and the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener. It also compliments the implementation of the Nature markets Framework (2023), as well as the Natural Capital Ecosystem Assessment.

Global demand for environmental monitoring is expected to increase due a growing understanding of the need to monitor the state of the environment and how it changes over time. Investors, as well as governments, increasingly demand evidence to underpin their strategies for nature markets, such as carbon and biodiversity markets. The UK has set a spending target of £1bn by 2040 to finance natural capital; a trajectory that other countries may adopt. There is also a growing demand for products to facilitate citizen science.

This integrated innovation programme spans through sensor development and testing, to allow robust and effective deployment of sensing systems in the real world to address environmental challenges. It includes explicit connectivity to industry and the growing UK environmental monitoring sector, ensuring that new sensing capabilities are developed in partnership between the public and private sectors and commercialisation is accelerated.

The objectives of this programme are to:

  1. support the development of new sensing systems and monitoring capabilities that will either improve existing approaches or introduce new ones, including improving the sustainability and connectivity of data collection, analysis and reporting
  2. support the testing of these products (including ‘ground-truthing’ with existing monitoring regimes) and verifying their accuracy and reliability, thus improving their chances of being successfully deployed at scale in the public and private sectors
  3. deliver new and strengthened partnerships and collaborations between the public sector, academia and private sector, helping to connect across disciplines, and stimulate innovative approaches
  4. deliver cross-cutting recommendations and principles for the effective development and real-world deployment of environmental monitoring systems for broader impact and use

This programme is made up of two elements: a NERC-led funding opportunity supporting research-led activity, and this Innovate UK-led funding opportunity supporting business-led activity.

UKRI and Defra intend to bring together the grant holders from both funding opportunities to develop a broad UK community in innovative environmental sensing and monitoring. Successful applicants are expected to engage with community building activities.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and Defra (each an “agency”).

Any relevant information submitted and produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to Defra and vice versa. This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

Innovate UK and Defra are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, and Defra will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy

Defra’s Privacy Policy

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, and is committed to upholding data protection legislation, and protecting your information in accordance with data protection principles.

The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK Business Connect.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK Business Growth

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK Business Growth. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with Innovate UK Business Growth, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Assessment

Your application will be reviewed by up to 5 independent assessors based on the content of your application and their skills or expertise relevant to your project. All of the scores awarded will count towards the total score used to make the funding decision unless you are notified otherwise.

You can find out more about our assessment process in the General Guidance.

Your submitted application will be assessed against these criteria.

Next steps

If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.

You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your IFS Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.

You will need to provide:

  • the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
  • a redacted copy of your bank details
  • a collaboration agreement
  • an exploitation plan

At least one member of your project team must attend a 1 hour briefing webinar within 10 days of receiving your successful notification.

In order for us to process your claims, you must make sure you have a valid UK business bank account. It can take several weeks for a new account to be created if required. We recommend starting this process as early as possible to avoid any delays to your project start date.

The bank account which grant is to be paid into must:

  • be a business account in the same name as the organisation listed in IFS
  • be from a UK bank regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
  • have a cheque and credit clearing facility

Online accounts are eligible as long as they meet the above criteria.

Innovate UK will accept most banking societies apart from:

  • Viva Wallet
  • Intesa Sanpaolo
  • Equals Money UK Limited

If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.

Finance checks

We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.

You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GOL)

Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GOL.

The GOL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this for us to approve. Once approved we will send you an email with permission to start your project on your confirmed start date.

You must not start your project before the date stated on your email and GOL. Any costs incurred before your agreed start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your GOL is approved on or before the fifteenth of the month it will be dated from the first of that month. If your GOL is approved after the fifteenth, it will be dated the first of the next month.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email support@iuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.
Our phone lines are open from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Need help with this service? Contact us