Agronomist Using a Tablet in an Agricultural Field

GrantTree’s Grant Watch – November 2021

Welcome to Grant Watch, a monthly look at some of the most exciting grant funding opportunities for UK innovators.

Autumn is well and truly with us. The nights have drawn in, cozy sweaters and thick coats have been rescued from storage, and the first signs of winter are coursing through the frigid air. 

Yes, the days and nights may be getting colder. But yearn not for summer sun! Grab yourself a cup of cocoa and come warm your cockles on this hot-off-the-presses instalment of Grant Watch, our monthly look at some of the most exciting competitions open over the next 30 days. 

As usual, we’ve chosen grants aimed at a wide range of sectors and companies. This particular issue includes funding for businesses working on solutions in MedTech, AgTech and healthy ageing.  

Take a look, and see if there’s anything that might be right for your company and its 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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Circular Economy for SMEs (Innovate UK)


1) Circular Economy for SMEs (Innovate UK)


Project size: Total eligible project costs must be between £50,000 and £100,000.


Innovate UK’s Circular Economy for SMEs competition is offering up to £1 million to companies conducting feasibility studies, research, and experimental development that address the challenges of transitioning to a circular economy. 


This competition is part of the UKRI’s National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research Programme, aka NICER, which aims to help SMEs engage with and benefit from access to five research centres via ‘collaborative research and development’ – or CR&D – activities.


To qualify for this competition, a project must start no earlier than 1 April 2022 and end by 31 March 2023. In addition, it must last between nine and 12 months and be carried out entirely in the UK. 


Applicants must partner with one of UKRI’s Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centers, or provide a letter of support from one of the centres, to qualify for funding.  


Opens: 11 October 2021
Closes: 8 December 2021 




Farming Innovation Programme (UKRI and DEFRA)

Project size: Total eligible project costs must be between £1,000,000 and £3,000,000.


The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has teamed up with UKRI to launch the Farming Innovation Programme, an £11 million competition supporting projects that:


  • Improve the productivity, sustainability and resilience of the agricultural sector
  • Create positive outcomes for farmers, growers and foresters 
  • Develop new agricultural solutions through collaboration with end-users and the UK research community
  • Accelerate adoption of new solutions by educating the sector and its stakeholders 


The programme is made up of three tracks: feasibility projects, small R&D partnership projects, and the research starter pilot. 


To qualify for the small R&D partnership projects track, a project must start by 1 June 2022, end by 31 May 2025, and last no longer than 36 months. Additionally, at least 50% of the farmers, growers or foresters involved in the project must be based in England. 


Eligible companies must be collaborating with other UK organisations, including at least one SME. 


Opens: 20 October 2021
Closes: 1 December 2021 



Healthy Ageing Challenge (UKRI and Innovate UK)

Project size: Total eligible project costs must be between £500,000 and £1million.


UKRI’s £14.4 million Healthy Ageing Challenge is helping companies deliver game-changing, service-led innovations that help people age “positively, actively, independently, and with dignity.” 


The competition’s aims include addressing the under-provision of age-related products, supporting near-to-market innovations, and encouraging applications from across all four nations of the United Kingdom.


Projects must start by 1 May 2022, end by 30 April 2024, and last between 6 and 24 months. All project work must take place in the UK and applicants must also intend to exploit the results of their project in the UK.


Opens: 20 September 2021
Closes: 17 November 2021 



Invention for Innovation (NIHR)

The National Institute for Health Research’s Invention for Innovation – or i4i – programme is now inviting proposals to Call 23 of its Product Development Awards. 

The ‘PDAs’ were launched to fund disruptive, early-stage medical technologies that address healthcare needs. 

The awards support a range of technologies and solutions, including digital health platforms and in vitro diagnostics. 

To qualify for Call 23 of the Product Development Awards, a project must be led by an SME, NHS provider, or a higher education institution, and they must be based on collaborations between any two of these types of organisations. 

It must last for between 24 and 36 months. The lead organisation must be registered in England.  

Opens: 20 October 2021
Closes: 8 December 2021 


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 £25,000 and £2,000,000.

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. 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.


Opens: 7 October 2021
Closes: 5 January 2022



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