Funding competition EUREKA collaborative R&D: photonics for advanced manufacturing

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million to develop photonic technologies in partnership with organisations from EUREKA countries.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £2 million to fund collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects focused on industrial research.

We will fund projects in photonics for advanced, or ‘industrial’, manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing is commonly defined as the use and/or integration of innovative technologies in order to improve both products and processes.

Your project must aim to develop innovative products, technology-based applications and/or technology-based services with high market potential in the participating countries and/or throughout Europe.

Projects must include at least one partner from one of the participating countries of the EUREKA Network in Photonics. These countries are:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Poland
  • Switzerland

The competition is the result of a long-term co-operation in the area of photonics between Innovate UK and other funding agencies in the Photonics21 mirror group.

All documents required by Innovate UK must be completed and uploaded to the Innovate UK secure FTP site by midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

The EUREKA project application form must be completed and emailed to by 11:59pm Central European Summer Time (10:59pm UK time) on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

Total eligible project costs per project are expected to be between EUR 750,000 and 2 million. This includes costs from all partners, from the UK and all other countries.

Who can apply

State aid

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see our general guidance.

Your project

Total eligible project costs per project are expected to be between EUR 750,000 and 2 million. This includes costs from all partners, from the UK and all other countries.

Your project can last up to 3 years and is expected to start between January 2020 and June 2020. The start date is dependent on the national funding procedures of the countries involved in the selected projects.

Projects must be collaborative.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to by 5 July 2019. We will decide whether to approve your request.

UK lead applicant

To lead a project as a UK based organisation you must:

The organisations from EUREKA Network in Photonics countries must meet the funding and eligibility conditions of their respective countries. These will be provided in the call for proposals document on the EUREKA web page which will be published when this competition opens.

You can also collaborate with other UK based businesses of any size and UK based research organisations.

Research organisations cannot lead or work alone. They must be able to show how they will exploit the results of the project to grow the wider sector in the UK.

UK partners

Each partner must carry out the majority of their funded work within the country from which they receive funding, for example the UK for Innovate UK funding.

Projects are expected to have a balanced contribution of the total eligible project costs among the partners from the participating countries. No more than 75% can be claimed by any single partner or by all partners from a single participating country collectively.

If the lead organisation is from one of the EUREKA Network in Photonics countries, UK based partners can still claim funding from Innovate UK. However, these collaborations must include at least one UK based SME.


Your project can include subcontractors but they must not account for more than 20% of the UK participation total eligible costs.

Partners not claiming funding

A non-grant claiming UK partner cannot lead on a project.

Your collaboration can include organisations from countries that are not part of the EUREKA Network in Photonics, including other EUREKA members, provided:

  • they have secured full funding elsewhere
  • you describe in your application why and how they will be involved and where they have secured financing from

Multiple applications

Any one UK business can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications.

If a UK business is not leading an application, they can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

A UK research organisation can be a collaborator in any number of applications.


The terminology differs between EUREKA and Innovate UK. The lead applicant is responsible for the entire project but EUREKA uses the term ‘main participant’. For partners in the collaboration it uses ‘other participants’.

Previous applications


If Innovate UK decide not to fund your proposal, you will be able to use it to apply into one later competition.

Your resubmission can:

  • take into account the feedback received from the UK assessors
  • be for another Innovate UK competition

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous Innovate UK competition as the lead or sole organisation and were awarded funding by Innovate UK or UK Research and Innovation, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, Innovate UK will award no more funding to you, in this or any other Innovate UK competition. You will not be able to contest this decision. Innovate UK will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members, and communicate it to you in writing

Previous projects

Under the terms of Innovate UK funding, you are required to submit an independent accountant’s report (IAR) with your final claim. If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an IAR on a previous Innovate UK project, we will not award funding to you in this or any other competition until we have received the documents.


We have allocated up to £2 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

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

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

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 business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

The UK research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the UK total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one UK research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

This EUREKA competition specifically addresses photonic technologies in order to improve both products and processes.

Your collaborative R&D proposal must:

  • address at least one of the photonic technologies and at least one of the industry sectors listed below
  • focus on photonic technologies and their integration in specific manufacturing processes and/or products
  • demonstrate the potential to significantly improve the related processes and/or products

Photonic technologies that are in scope include, but are not limited to:

  • laser machining
  • additive manufacturing
  • selective laser sintering
  • photonic curing
  • optical process control
  • process analytical technology (PAT)
  • 3D optical sensing and imaging including spectral and hyperspectral imaging
  • millimetre wave imaging and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technologies
  • photo-, stereo- or laser-based lithography

Industry sectors that are in scope include, but are not limited to:

  • electronic and computer components
  • electro-mechanical engineering
  • transportation and automotive manufacturing, including for sport competition
  • aviation or aerospace
  • materials
  • chemical and pharmaceutical industries
  • food control industries
  • safety and quality engineering
  • manufacturing technologies.

Innovate UK reserves the right to apply a ‘portfolio’ approach for the selection of projects in this competition.

Research categories

Your project must focus on industrial research but can include experimental development activities if we consider it appropriate. Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • work on non-civilian applications for photonic technologies
  • are not in scope
  • do not meet Innovate UK’s eligibility criteria
  • do not submit all mandatory documentation

25 March 2019
Competition opens
4 April 2019
London briefing event
8 April 2019
South Wales briefing event
9 April 2019
North Wales briefing event
24 April 2019
Edinburgh briefing event
15 July 2019 12:00pm
Registration closes
25 July 2019
EUREKA project application form email submission deadline 10:59pm UK time
25 July 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
13 September 2019
Applicants notified

Before you start

Before you apply you must read the guidance for applicants for this competition.

Applications led by UK organisations

UK lead applicants must:

  • download and complete the EUREKA project application form on behalf of their project
  • email it to before the submission deadline listed in the competition dates, using the subject line ‘EUREKA Photonics Call 2019’
  • click the green register button above to create an account on the secure FTP site
  • upload the completed Innovate UK application form, supporting documents and a copy of the EUREKA project application form to the secure FTP site

If you do not submit all required documentation your application will be ineligible.

After the competition deadline Innovate UK will check your application is eligible and in scope.

Applications led by other partner countries

UK grant claiming partners in consortiums led by other partner countries must nominate one UK point of contact. This person must click the green register button above to create an account and submit via the secure FTP site:

  • a copy of the EUREKA project application form that the lead applicant has completed
  • the completed Innovate UK application form and supporting documentation

If you do not submit all required documentation your application will be ineligible.

More information about the application process for partner countries is on the EUREKA calls for projects website once the competition opens.

Background and further information

EUREKA is an intergovernmental network launched in 1985. Its aim is to support market-oriented R&D and innovation projects by industry, research centres and universities across all technological sectors. It is composed of 41 member states, including the European Union, represented by the European Commission, and 3 associated states:

  • Canada
  • South Africa
  • Chile

There is also a partner country, South Korea.

With its flexible and decentralised network, EUREKA offers project partners:

  • rapid access to skills and expertise across Europe
  • national public and private funding schemes

The EUREKA Network in Photonics is a joint initiative between Innovate UK and the funding authorities of the Photonics 21 mirror group, who participate in the current call for proposals. The mirror group aims to promote European research and innovation in the field of photonics, including through joint transnational calls.

Extra help

If you want help to find a project collaborator, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need help with the EUREKA project application form, contact EUREKA directly.

If you need more information on submitting to Innovate UK, email us at or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357.

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