Grants Watch: December 2023

Welcome to this year’s final edition of Grants Watch, GrantTree’s monthly recap of the competitions open to innovative UK businesses. 

In this instalment, we’re looking at grants for companies working in sustainability, semiconductor manufacturing, and transport decarbonisation. We’re also looking at two schemes open to companies from any sector: Smart and Innovate UK Innovation Loans.

Before taking a look at the competitions below, make sure you subscribe to GrantTree’s newsletter to receive the latest edition of Grants Watch straight to your inbox. 

As always, if you want to find out whether your organisation is eligible for any of the grants listed below, GrantTree’s experts would be more than happy to provide a free, no-commitment consultation. 

Just get in touch!

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Fast Start Net Zero Living Digital

Opens – 2 January 2024
Closes – 24 January 2024 at 11:00 am

The Fast Start Net Zero Living Digital competition is offering grants of up to £50,000 to help UK SMEs develop and deliver net zero solutions through data-driven digital applications.

To qualify for this competition, your project must have total costs of £25,000-£50,000, start by 1 April 2024, and end by 30 September 2024. It must also last between 3 and 6 months. 

To lead a project, you must be a micro or small business – see definition here. You cannot apply for this competition if you’ve won Innovate UK funding before. 

Unlike most competitions, this scheme offers grants covering 100% of project costs. 

Read more about this competition.

Improving and Scaling-up Semiconductor Manufacturing – CR&D

Opens – 4 December 2023
Closes – 31 January 2024 at 11:00 am

Innovate UK is offering grants of up to £1.75m to companies working to: 

  • Scale up semiconductor manufacturing within the UK
  • Improve supply-chain resilience within the UK
  • Establish innovations and new manufacturing techniques
  • Expand the capability or performance of existing manufacturing techniques
  • Encourage relationships between product designers and manufacturers to develop new manufacturing techniques or expand capability
  • Encourage new collaborations across industry and academia

You can have total project costs of up to £2.5 million. Your project must start by 1 June 2024, end by 31 May 2025, and last no more than 12 months. 

The project lead must be an SME, and your consortium must include at least one SME. Read what an SME is for grant funding.

Read more about the competition.

Innovate UK Innovation Loans Future Economy: Round 12

While technically not a grant competition, Innovate UK’s Innovation Loans scheme, the twelfth round of which is now open, could be an excellent way to finance your late-stage R&D project. 

Innovate UK Innovation Loans offer between £100,000 and £2 million in debt financing with attractive terms such as a deferred, below-market interest rate of 3.7% during project execution, with a further 3.7% deferred.

In addition, unlike many grant competitions, you can apply for an Innovation Loan covering up to 100% of your project costs. 

Eligibility summary: 

  • You must be a UK-registered SME 
  • You must carry out your project and intend to exploit its results from or in the UK
  • Your business must be in a position to take on a loan

Find out more about Innovation Loans.

Innovate UK Smart Grant - September 2023

Opens – 28 September 2023
Closes – 17 January 2024 at 11:00 am

Unlike most Innovate UK competitions, Smart is open to businesses from every sector, so long as their project is innovative enough.

This highly competitive grant is designed to help cutting-edge SMEs secure the funding they need to drive their project towards commercialisation. 

Smart offers up to £1.4 million for qualifying projects, with funding availability varying by company size and project type. 

Eligibility summary:

  • Your consortium must include at least one UK-registered SME
  • Your project must be game-changing and disruptive 
  • Your project must last 6 to 36 months and cost £100,000 to £2 million
  • You must start your project by 1 July 2024 and complete it by 30 June 2027
  • You must intend to exploit the results of your project from or in the UK

Businesses can apply for a grant covering between 25% and 70% of project costs, depending on their size and what type of project they’re looking to undertake. 

Find out if you should apply for the latest round of Smart.

Transport Decarbonisation Demonstrators

Opens – 27 November 2023
Closes – 8 January 2024 11:00 am

Innovate UK and the Department for Transport are offering grants of up to £500,000 to fund projects demonstrating innovative solutions for decarbonising local transport systems.

This competition aims to reduce transport carbon emissions in local areas and facilitate collaboration between Local Authorities (LA) and businesses. 

To qualify, your project must start by 1 June 2024, end by 31 March 2025, and last 6 to 10 months. Your consortium must involve at least two collaborative grant-claiming partners. 

Projects must be led by a UK-registered business of any size. 

Read more about the competition.

Find out if you’re eligible in one easy call

That brings us to the end of the December 2023 edition of Grants Watch.

If you want to know whether you’re eligible for any of the grants listed above, GrantTree is here to help.

Our experts can give you a free, unbiased assessment of your eligibility and suitability for these grants and any other relevant competitions currently open in the UK. 

To book your eligibility consultation, just get in touch.