Funding competition Future Leaders Fellowships: round 9, business and non-academic

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £110 million for ambitious research and innovation projects in any sector, and tailored support to develop careers for future leaders. This funding is from UKRI.

This competition is now closed.

Start new application

Competition sections


The aim of this competition is to:

  • support ambitious research and innovation to tackle difficult and novel challenges
  • support excellence in innovation, across interdisciplinary boundaries and sectors
  • develop, retain, and attract the next wave of research and innovation leaders

Working with a host organisation a Future Leaders Fellow will receive at least four years of funding to pursue an ambitious programme of innovation. The fellow will also have access to tailored opportunities and resources to develop their career as a future leader in their field.

 The Future Leaders Fellowships programme is open to all early-career innovators and researchers. Applicants working in academia and eligible Independent Research Organisations must apply through the UKRI Funding Service.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition has a funding limit, so we will not be able to fund all the proposed projects. It may be the case that your project scores highly, but we are still unable to fund it.

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


Project size

Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £300,000 and £3 million.

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 a grant funding request of between £300,000 and £3 million
  • last for a minimum of four years, with the option to extend for a further three
  • carry out all its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit results from or in UK
  • be based at, or have the support of, an eligible non-academic host organisation

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project can start from 1 September 2025, subject to agreement and authorisation. 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.

If you require further guidance on your proposals grant funding request or duration you must provide justification by email to at least 15 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead organisation

The application must be started by the fellow as a representative of the host organisation.

To host a Future Leaders Fellow your organisation must be a UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • charitable organisation
  • catapult
  • public organisation
  • Agri-tech Centre
  • eligible research organisation

Research organisations eligible to receive UKRI funding cannot apply to host a fellowship through this application form. Fellowship applications for these organisations must be made through the UKRI funding service. This does not apply to Catapult centres, Catapult centres must apply for this competition through this application form.

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

Fellow Applicants

You must demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to deliver the proposed project.

You do not need to hold a PhD, and there are no eligibility rules based on the number of years since your PhD. If you do not hold a PhD, you must be able to demonstrate equivalent research or innovation experience or training.

Fellows are welcome from outside of the UK with the support of an eligible UK based Host Organisation. Researchers and innovators are eligible for a Global Talent visa under the ‘exceptional promise’ category for future research leaders.

Future Leaders Fellowships offer flexibility to support outstanding individuals:

  • from diverse career backgrounds
  • returning from a career break or returning to research or innovation following time in other roles
  • wishing to work part-time or in job shares to combine the fellowship with personal responsibilities

Fellows can spend up to 50% of their time (not funded by FLF) on other activities, where these activities are shown to benefit or be necessary for their career. Non-fellowship activities can include business-as-usual, Innovate UK grants or ongoing contracts. The duration of the fellowship can be increased to pro-rata the time spent on the fellowship back up to a maximum of 100% if requested.

If you are interested in submitting an application as a job share, please contact

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses or partners providing support at their own cost. These are defined as third party organisations who provide cash or other types of support, estimates of their costs and letters of support must be included in the application. They cannot request funding for a salary. Minor travel and subsistence costs can be requested and should be fully justified. Non-funded partners can provide human tissue or recruit human participants. This must be fully justified and detailed within the application and letter of support.

Subcontractors, co-investigators and visiting researchers

Subcontractors, co-investigators and visiting researchers are allowed in this competition.

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.

Co-Investigators are only permitted when bringing complementary and different skills to the project. Their role should be clearly defined in the application.

Co-Investigators must:

  • be from a UK based eligible organisation and hold a contract of employment for their time on the project
  • not be costed or named for full duration, only a limited period of the project
  • have a PhD or comparable research and innovation experience

Visiting Researchers are permitted from UK or abroad for a limited period of 12 months over the lifetime of the project.

Visiting researchers must:

  • receive the same salary and conditions as staff at the organisation they are employed with
  • claim salary costs only for time on the project
  • only claim expenses for travel for themselves but not their family

All costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A fellow can only lead on one application.

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 of the proposed work within projects, both that 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, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

Human Participation:

Applicants applying for research grants involving human participants will need to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT).

Full guidance and the template to be submitted can be found in the Online SoECAT Guidance | NIHR.

Previous applications

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

You can resubmit an application previously submitted to the Future Leaders Fellowship programme. You will be asked to identify your application as a resubmission in your application form.

We will not award you funding if you have failed to comply with grant terms and conditions.

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding to enterprises using the Research, Development and Innovation Streamlined Subsidy Scheme.

The Research, Development and Innovation Streamlined Scheme can be viewed on the subsidy database here: SC10780.

This is in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (

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 the Windsor Framework 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.


Up to £110 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this round of the programme. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If as a host organisation your 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.

The balance between your total project costs and the amount of grant awarded must be funded by the organisation receiving the grant.

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
  • up to 100% if you are classified as an eligible research organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation
  • up to 100% if you are classified as an eligible research organisation

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

Public bodies:

There may be costs that cannot be funded to avoid double counting of public funds.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to:

  • support ambitious research and innovation to tackle difficult and novel challenges
  • support excellence in innovation, including at interdisciplinary boundaries and across sectors
  • develop, retain, and attract the next wave of research and innovation leaders

Your project must:

  • deliver research or innovation above and beyond the standard activities of the organisation
  • maximise the impact and influence of the proposed work
  • include a clear programme of skills development, allowing you to fully develop your leadership potential through, for example, mentoring and professional development training
  • have the full support of your host organisation

Your project can:

  • be made up of a single programme of work, or multiple consecutive or concurrent projects led by the Fellow, known as a ‘Portfolio Fellowship’
  • be altered once underway to react to changes in the research landscape or react to business needs

Intellectual property (IP)

All participants in the scheme and their Host Organisations are required to give due regard to the appropriate protection of any IP arising from the project. You must describe effective routes to exploitation which have the potential to achieve maximum benefit for the UK economy and wider society.

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, technological maturities and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach. UKRI has the final funding decision. If there is an evidenced need, UKRI may make appropriate and proportionate interventions, including in final funding decisions. This is in accordance with their duty to advance equality of opportunity between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

UKRI Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.
Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Specific themes

Proposals are invited from all areas of research and innovation, including:

  • the arts, humanities, and social sciences
  • the seven technology families outlined in the UK's innovation strategy
  • applications that are multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary

Research and innovation is considered in its fullest sense including business, creative, cultural, service and knowledge-based sectors.

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that are:

  • submitted by senior innovators
  • led by an applicant who has achieved research or innovation independence, for example, managing their own significant programme of work within a business

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
7 March 2024
Competition opens
11 March 2024
Online briefing event: watch the recording
25 June 2024 11:00am
Competition closes
12 May 2025
Interview panel starts from
11 June 2025
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 responsibility of the fellow that started the application, 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

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 three sections:

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

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).


Written response to assessor feedback

Following the first written assessment stage you will have the opportunity to respond to the assessors’ feedback. Your response to feedback must be a single PDF or word document up to a maximum of three A4 pages and can include charts or diagrams.

Along with your written application your response to assessor feedback will be considered by the shortlisting panel, who will make the recommendation for the applicants to be invited to interview.


An expert interview panel will conduct interviews with invited applicants after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

We expect interviews to be held in May 2025. If you are selected for an interview, we will contact you with details of the time and date of interview. Interviews will last for up to an hour and will require a short presentation.

1. Project details

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

Application team

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

Application details

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

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

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.


Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope, it will not be eligible for funding.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from questions 1 to 7. 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. 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 non-grant funding partners or subcontractors working on your project.

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

Question 2. Host organisation (not scored)

You must provide the name and role of your host organisation contact.

Your answer can be up to 200 words long.

Question 3. Project partners (not scored)

Will your proposed research include project partners?

You must select one option:

  • Yes
  • No

If you answer ‘yes’ you must add details of project partners’ contributions and letters of support as an appendix.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer, containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you are including as a project partner. These must be on headed paper and signed by project partners. These must be in English or Welsh only. The appendix must be a PDF and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect contributions, for example expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

You must include the project partners name, organisation name, address and the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value. For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Question 4. Resubmissions (not scored)

Is this application a resubmission of a proposal to the Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) scheme?

If this application is a resubmission, you must provide the Je-S grant reference of your previous submission and briefly outline changes that have been made to your application. You can also include how this submission addresses feedback from reviewers and interview panel where applicable.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 5. Reduced hours (not scored)

Do you wish to take your fellowship as reduced hours?

Type “Yes” or “No”. If requesting reduced hours, you must provide a percentage of the hours in relationship to 'full time' (100%) and justification for this.

Your answer can be up to 100 words long.

Question 6. 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 7. Permits and licences (not scored)

Will you have the correct permits and licences in place to carry out your project?

We are unable to fund projects who do not have the correct permits or licences in place by your project start date.

You must select one option:

  • Yes
  • No
  • In process of being applied for
  • Not applicable

Question 8. Vision

What are your plans for the fellowship?


  • the main motivation for your project
  • how your proposed work is of excellent quality and is timely
  • the business need, technological challenge, organisational objective or market opportunity
  • whether you have identified any similar innovation and its current limitations, including those close to market or in development
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example, if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the potential direct or indirect benefits of your innovation and who the beneficiaries might be

Your answer can be up to 1500 words long.

Question 9. Approach and innovation

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


  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how your approach will be effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • how you will use a clearly written and transparent methodology, if applicable
  • how your approach will build on previous work, if applicable
  • how you have ensured access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposed work
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project, and how you will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • how you will improve on any similar innovation that you have identified

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. 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.

Your answer can be up to 1500 words long.

Question 10. Your capability to deliver

Why are you the right person to deliver this work?


  • your experience and how it makes you an excellent candidate for FLF funding
  • how your skills will allow you to deliver the work
  • how you have contributed to developing a positive working environment and wider innovation community
  • how you have demonstrated team working or leadership skills

You must frame your response using the following headings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation, users and audiences, and towards wider societal benefit

You can provide further details relevant to your application that do not fit within the specified headings. Describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your response such as, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them.

Your answer can be up to 1650 words long.

Question 11. Career development

Why is this fellowship the right way to develop your career and how will you use it to benefit others?


  • your career development goals and how the fellowship will support your personal development and help you to achieve these goals
  • how you will develop skills, for example, in research, leadership, communication, and management
  • your proposed mentoring arrangements and how they are appropriate to support your career development
  • how you will support your team in their continued research and professional development
  • how you will instigate positive change in the wider research and innovation community through, for example, Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), advocacy or advisory roles, stakeholder engagement, participation in peer review, influencing policy, public engagement, or outreach

Your answer can be up to 1000 words long.

Question 12. Host organisation support

How will the host organisation support your fellowship?


  • how your host will support you in your career development and delivery of your innovation
  • how your research or innovation environment will contribute to the success of the work, in terms of suitability of the host organisation and strategic relevance to the fellowship
  • how the host organisation will ensure your time commitment to the fellowship is protected
  • what development and training opportunities will be provided and how they form a cohesive career development package tailored to your aims and aspirations as a future leader
  • what financial or practical support, such as access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment, is being provided and how this strengthens your application
  • details of any fellowship work to be conducted at another UK or overseas host organisation and how they will support you, if applicable

Your answer can be up to 1000 words long.

Question 13. Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

What are the ethical and RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work?

You must demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

You must explain why, if you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues.

You must complete the attached template and additional animal research question template.

If your proposed work involves human or animal participation, you must complete the required information in the templates.

If this is not applicable you must upload a blank template stating ‘template not applicable’ in your answer to the question.

You must upload the templates as a PDF with a file size of up to 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 14. Project management

How will you manage your project effectively?


  • the main work packages of your project
  • 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.

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 15. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?


  • 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.

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 16. Added value

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your innovation? What impact would this fellowship have on your career development that another grant would not?


  • the likely impact of the project outcomes on the organisations involved
  • how any existing or potential investment or support will be used in conjunction with the grant funding
  • how this fellowship will support your research and innovation, beyond what other smaller or project grants could support

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 17. 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 this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to your project
  • any NHS costs

For more information on NHS costs please see the SoECAT guidance.

You must fully justify your projects larger costs in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration, not including regular travel between collaborating organisations or conferences
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • training costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts 

Your answer can be up to 1000 words long.

Question 18. Data Management and Sharing

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

Explain how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Your answer can be up to 1000 words long.

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.

Background and further information

Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) support talented people in universities, businesses, and other research and innovation environments. They also allow universities, research institutes, independent research organisations and businesses to develop their most talented early career researchers and innovators or to attract new people to their organisations, including from overseas.


You can request access to research organisation facilities. They will request a facility form be completed before access is granted. The full list can be found on the Research Council websites:

Facilities and resources – BBSRC – UKRI

Facilities and resources – EPSRC – UKRI

Facilities and resources – ESRC – UKRI

Facilities and resources – NERC – UKRI

Facilities and resources – MRC – UKRI

Facilities and resources – STFC – UKRI

Facilities and resources – Innovate UK – UKRI

Some facilities will require a technical assessment, access the Je-S Handbook to check if this is mandatory. These forms do not need to be submitted at the point of application. Ensure you are aware of the facility requirements when applying, any forms required will be requested for successful applicants post interview.

NERC British Antarctic Survey ship time and aircraft requests:

For requests relating to ship and aircraft please note these can take up to three months and approvals will need to be sought in advance of applying.

Antarctic Logistic Support – UKRI

How to apply for marine facilities – UKRI

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and Medical Research Council (MRC) (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 MRC 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 MRC 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 MRC will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy

UKRI’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.


Your application will be reviewed by up to three 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 Innovation Funding Service (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, if required
  • an exploitation plan

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 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).

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