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GrantTree’s Grant Watch – October 2021

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

Yes, October is here.

Last thing I remember I was getting ready for the summer holidays. BBQs, weddings, picnics in the park. All of a sudden the leaves are changing and it’s pumpkin spice latte season! 

How did that happen?

Still, there is some good news for all you warm weather fans. The start of a new month means – rousing fanfare, please – it’s time for another episode of Grant Watch. 

If this is your first time reading Grant Watch, welcome! 

Grant Watch is where we – and by ‘we’, I mean GrantTree’s team of grant experts – highlight some of the most exciting competitions open to innovative businesses over the next 31 days. 

As usual, our team has drawn up a list of grants that target a wide range of sectors, including biomedical science, agriculture, and energy distribution. 

Take a look, and see if there’s anything that might be right for your company. If not, don’t worry. There are plenty of other competitions available. 

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Biomedical Catalyst 2021 Round 2

Project size: Total eligible project costs must be between £50,000 and £1million.


Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst is designed to help businesses develop innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes to fight disease. 


Round 2 combines the two strands of the Biomedical Catalyst: the Feasibility Award and the Primer Award. 


Funding from The Feasibility Award will help companies explore the commercial feasibility of innovative projects. It is open to companies that have developed an innovative concept or arrived at an experimental proof of concept. 


Funding from The Primer Award will help eligible businesses use modelling to test their proof of concept. 


Projects must start on 1 April 2022 and last for between 3 and 24 months. All work must be carried out in the UK.


Opens: 18 October 2021
Closes: 1 December 2021 



Healthy Ageing Challenge

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 



Innovate UK SMART Grants: October 2021

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



Ofgem 2021

Project size: Discovery phase projects must have total eligible costs up to £150,000.


Financed by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets’ strategic innovation fund, Ofgem 2021 is a series of competitions funding projects that offer value to energy consumers and society through energy network innovation.


The overarching competition is currently in its Discovery phase, which is made up of four challenges:


  1. Ofgem 2021: whole system integration
  2. Ofgem 2021: data and digitalisation
  3. Ofgem 2021: zero emission transport
  4. Ofgem 2021: heat

Discovery is the first of three phases that will comprise Ofgem 2021. The Alpha and Beta phases will open in the coming months. Only companies which successfully apply to the Discovery phase will be invited to apply for the Alpha phase.


To lead a project, your company must be a gas distribution network, transmission network operator, or electricity system operator. You must also work with a mobility technology or infrastructure provider and at least one third-party innovator as a subcontractor.


Your project must start on 1 March 2022 and end on 30 April 2022.


Opens: 31 August 2021
Closes: 17 November 2021



SMEs Transforming Food Production

Project size: Total eligible costs must be between £1 million and £3 million.


Through the SMEs Transforming food production competition, Innovate UK will invest up to £5 million to help micro, small and medium-sized companies transform food production through experimental R&D projects that are close to market. 


Innovate UK will be working with a select pool of private investors that will invest in successful applicants, as well as providing leadership, market access and other resources. Innovate UK has chosen investors that have demonstrated the “credibility, capability, capacity, and appetite to invest in innovative, technology-led businesses.”


You can find a full list of investors, alongside their investment preferences, on the KTN website.


To qualify for this competition, projects must


Winners will receive grant funding from Innovate UK and aligned investment from the programme’s investors.


Opens: 18 October 2021
Closes: 17 November 2021 



Maximise Your Chances with a Grants Experts

Are you thinking about applying for an innovation grant? Do you want to maximise your chances of winning and securing funding for your development work?

Working with GrantTree can significantly increase your chances of success. Just drop us a line and a member of our grants team will be right with you.