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GrantTree’s Grant Watch – December 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Grant Watch, a monthly roundup of new and exciting grant competitions open to UK innovators. 

‘Tis the season of gingerbread houses, chocolatey treats, and decking the halls with holly and tinsel. It’s also the last month of the year, which means it’s time for the final Grant Watch of 2021! Bah humbug! 

As usual, we’ve selected competitions that speak to a wide range of sectors and technologies. In this issue, we’re looking at sustainable manufacturing, innovations in aerospace, and digital approaches for diagnosing dementia.  

Take a look, and see if there’s anything that might be right for your company and projects. If you want to discuss your eligibility for these and other grant funding with one of our experts, just get in touch!

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Invention for Innovation - Dementia Call (NIHR)

Project size: Projects are expected to last for up to 60 months and cost up to £2 million.


The National Institute for Health Research’s Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme has opened a dementia-specific funding call aimed at developing digital approaches for the early detection, diagnosis and stratification of people suffering from the disease.


The competition will support the advancement of innovative medical solutions with a demonstrated proof of concept and a clear developmental pathway towards creating products that will be used by the NHS.


To qualify, your proposal must address one or more of the following aims:

  • Validating digital biomarkers for dementia (DBDs) on a large scale
  • Developing DBDs into advanced diagnostic or prognostic prototypes or products
  • Clinical evaluations toward near market-ready solutions


Being a biomedical grant, the entry requirements for this competition are highly particular. You can read them in full, here


Opens: 10 November
Closes: 26 January 2022



Made Smarter Innovation: Sustainable Smart Factory (Innovate UK)

Project size: Your project must have total eligible costs of between £1 million and £8 million.


The Sustainable Smart Factory Competition will see Innovate UK invest up to £20 million in digital technologies that reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. 


The competition is split into two strands:

  • Strand 1 – Digital innovation with manufacturing data 
  • Strand 2 – Digital innovation in manufacturing processes

You can apply to either strand. 


To qualify, your project must look to apply digital technology to manufacturing processes within a production facility in order to reduce their material or energy consumption. 


Your project must start by 1 September 2022 and last for between 12 and 24 months. You must involve both manufacturing and digital technology capabilities in your consortium.


Opens: 1 November 2021
Closes: 16 January 2022



NATEP helping SMEs innovate in aerospace (Innovate UK)

Project size: Your project must have total eligible costs of between £150,000 and £300,000.


Innovate UK is partnering with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide up to £2.5 million in funding for SMEs that are developing innovative aerospace technologies. 


The competition is part of the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme – NATEP – a £10 million initiative designed to mature 60 aerospace technologies invented in the UK. 


This Autumn 2021 competition is the fourth of six calls. New calls open every six months with each one offering up to £2.5 million in funding.


To qualify, your proposal must align with the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace technology strategy, ‘Accelerating Ambition’. These priorities span a range of technical and environmental issues such as vehicles, propulsion, systems, and aerostructures. 


In addition, your project must end by 31 March 2024 and last for between 12 and 18 months. You must carry out all of your project work in the UK. 


Once submitted, your proposal will be subject to an independent assessment by Innovate UK and strategic review by the ATI. Your proposal will need to pass both assessments to be recommended for funding. The final decision will be made by BEIS.


Opens: 15 November 2021
Closes: 12 January 2022



SMART Grants: October 2021 (Innovate UK)

Project size: Projects running for 6-18 months must have total eligible costs of between £25,000 and £500,000. Projects running for 19-36 months must have total eligible costs of between £100,000 and £2,000,000 and must be collaborative.

On 7 October, Innovate UK will launch the latest round of SMART, the grant body’s largest open funding call.


While most Innovate UK competitions are focused on specific sectors and technological fields, SMART is open to companies in any industry, so long as they can demonstrate they are working on a game-changing, commercially viable innovation.


Because they are sector-agnostic, SMART grants are highly competitive. They receive thousands of applications from startups and scale-ups all across the country, with only a small percentage receiving funding.

So, before you go through all the effort of writing your SMART application, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re eligible for the competition and work out whether you have a reasonable chance of winning.


You can also boost your chances of success by downloading GrantTree’s Innovate UK application guide, in which our expert grant writing team delivers actionable, expert advice on creating a more competitive bid.

Note: Innovate UK recently extended the application deadline from 5 January to 12 January to accommodate additional submissions.


Opens: 7 October 2021
Closes: 5 January 2022



UK Seafood Fund: Seafood Innovation Fund (Defra)

Project size: A maximum of £50,000 worth of funding is available for projects lasting up to five months.


The Seafood Innovation Fund’s (SIF) third funding call is now open for applications. Successful applicants will receive up to £50,000 to finance feasibility studies for products and services that benefit the sustainability and productivity of the UK seafood industry.


SIF is part of the UK Seafood Fund, a £100 million programme managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that looks to support British seafood by accelerating projects in three areas: science and innovation, infrastructure, and skills and training.


Funding from the UK Seafood Fund is split between two schemes: the Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships (FISP) scheme and SIF. SIF is administered by the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), while FISP is managed by Defra.


To qualify, your project must provide an innovative idea or solution relevant to the UK’s seafood industry and demonstrate long-term sustainability and environmental benefits.


Companies in all sectors are welcome to apply for SIF. Applications for collaborative projects featuring seafood sector organisations and technology businesses are encouraged.


If your feasibility study is successful, you will be able to apply for larger funding once your project is complete.


Opens: 7 October 2021
Closes: 7 January 2022



Maximise your chances with a our grants experts

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