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Grants Watch: February 2024

Welcome to the February 2024 edition of Grants Watch, GrantTree’s monthly roundup of grant funding opportunities open to UK organisations.

This bumper edition includes competitions for companies working in health, the automotive space, the creative sector, environmental monitoring, agriculture, and battery technology. Plus two competitions – Smart and Innovation Loans – that are industry agnostic. 

Before you look through the competitions, make sure you subscribe to GrantTree’s newsletter to receive the latest edition of Grants Watch straight to your inbox every month.

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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APC25: Industrialising net zero automotive technology

Opens – 15 January 2024
Closes – 13 March 2024 11:00 am

Innovate UK, working with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), is offering grants of up to £20 million to fund late-stage, collaborative R&D projects that help accelerate the UK towards “a net zero automotive future”.

Your project must: 

  • Supports the UK’s vision by securing long-term R&D investment
  • Create or safeguard high-value jobs when undertaking it and as a result of any post-project R&D and manufacturing activities
  • Achieve, through the associated supply chain, the design, build, test and manufacture of net zero vehicles
  • Support the UK’s transition to zero-emission vehicles and a pathway to net zero automotive industry

Your grant funding request must be worth between £2.5 million and £20 million. At least 50% of your project costs must be match-funded, i.e. funded by other sources.

Competition website

Creative Catalyst 2024

Opens – 23 January 2024 
Closes – 6 March 2024 at 11 am

The Creative Catalyst competition is offering grants of up to £50,000 and a package of tailored support to small businesses in the creative industries sector.

Fully funded by UKRI, this competition is designed to support untapped innovative businesses and increase investment in creative talent with a combination of funding and project development assistance. The competition is part of the Creative Catalyst, which seeks to de-risk innovation in the creative industries and help businesses to grow.

To apply for this competition, your project must:

  • Have total costs of no more than £50,000
  • Start between 1 August 2024 and 1 October 2024
  • End by 31 March 2025
  • Last between 3 and 6 months

You must be a micro or small business that has never won Innovate UK funding before. You must also be from or support the creative sector and have “demonstrable ambition for growth”.

Learn more about this competition.

Diet and health innovation: Early-stage feasibility projects

Opens – 14 February 2024
Closes – 8 May 2024 11:00 am

The Diet and health innovation competition is designed to help UK registered businesses and UK research organisations to design and develop innovative food products that support sustained health and well-being.

The competition’s £2.5 million funding pot is provided by Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Businesses of any size can apply for this competition, but lead applicants and partners must be members of a Diet and Health Open Innovation Research Club (OIRC) hub.

To qualify, your project must:

  • Be an early-stage feasibility study*
  • Have total costs between £100,000 and £250,000
  • Last 9 to 18 months
  • Start by 1 October 2024
  • End by 31 March 2026

*Feasibility studies determine whether an early-stage technology works in laboratory or simulated conditions.

Find out more about this competition.

Environmental Monitoring Innovation

Opens – 22 January 2024
Closes – 6 March 2024 11:00 am

As part of the Environmental Monitoring Programme, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Innovate UK are partnering to offer grants of up to £315,000 to fund collaborative projects that “develop environmental monitoring solutions to enable improved monitoring of environmental variables.”

The two organisations are looking to fund projects that will: 

  • Support the development and testing of new sensing systems and monitoring capabilities
  • Help the UK environmental monitoring sector respond to growing markets for environmental sensing 
  • Deliver new and stronger partnerships between academia, public and private sectors

Your total project costs must be between £150,000 and £450,000. You can apply for a grant worth up to 70% of your total investment if you are a micro or small organisation, 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation, and 50% if you are a large organisation.

Not sure if you’re a micro, small, medium or large business? Check out the official definition. 

Learn more about this competition

Farming Innovation Programme: Large R&D Partnerships Round 3

Opens – 8 January 2024
Closes – 13 March 2024 11:00 am

Defra is offering grants of up to £3,500,000 in grant funding for innovation projects that drive the development of commercially relevant solutions to major on-farm or immediate post-farmgate challenges and that have the potential to improve overall productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability.

Your total project costs must be between £3 million and £5 million. You can apply for a grant worth up to 70% of your total investment if you are a micro or small organisation, 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation, and 50% if you are a large organisation.

You must collaborate with other UK organisations. Your consortium must include at least one SME and one claiming academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not-for-profit, or public sector organisation.

Learn more about this competition

Innovate UK Investor Partnerships: SME round 6

Opens – 9 January 2024
Closes – 27 February 2024 11:00 am

Innovate UK’s Investor Partnerships competition connects winning businesses with both grant funding and capital from a select pool of investors. This unique approach is designed to equip innovative companies with the resources they need to commercialise their development work.

This competition offers up to £900,000 in grant funding, and supports projects with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £2 million and lasting six to 18 months. It is focused on projects that align to four themes: Net Zero; Health and wellbeing; Next generation digital technologies, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

To apply, you must be a micro, small and medium-sized businesses. You need to have discussed and agreed your proposal with your investor partner before submitting your application. 

A full list of the investors participating in this competition can be found on UKRI’s website

Learn more about this competition

Innovate UK Innovation Loans Future Economy: Round 13

Opens – 11 January 2024
Closes – 6 March 2024 11:00 am

While technically not a grant competition, Innovate UK’s Innovation Loans scheme, the thirteenth 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.

In addition, unlike many grant competitions, you can acquire 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

Learn more about Innovation Loans

Innovate UK Smart grants - January 2024

Opens – 18 January 2024
Closes – 24 April 2024 11:00 am

Unlike most grant 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.

It offers up to £700,000 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 24 months and cost £100,000 to £1 million
  • You must start your project by 1 October 2024 and complete it by 30 September 2026
  • You must intend to exploit the results of your project from or in the UK

If you’re a business, you can apply for a grant covering between 25% and 70% of your project costs, depending on your size and what type of project you’re looking to undertake.

Learn more about the latest round of Smart

SBRI: Decarbonising concrete

Opens – 8 January 2024
Closes – 4 March 2024 11:00 am

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is offering up to £500,000 in grant funding for innovation projects that accelerate the commercial adoption of lower-carbon concrete by enabling engagement between projects and end users.

The purpose of this competition is to:

  • Demonstrate market demand
  • Commercially de-risk innovations
  • Encourage investment
  • Accelerate adoption

You can have up to £500,000 in total project costs and apply for a grant worth 100% of your total investment.

Learn more about this competition

UKBIC SME Credit Round 2

Opens – 8 January 2024
Closes – 6 March 2024 11:00 am

This two-stranded competition is offering UK SMEs up to £450,000 in grant funding to support their engagement with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) and help them move their innovations from technological potential towards commercial capability. 

Your total project costs must be between £100,000 and £1 million, and you can apply for a grant worth up to 45% of your total investment. Funding is provided by the Faraday Battery Challenge, a scheme designed to support battery technologies in the UK. 

The two strands of this competition are:

  • Processing for electrode and cells
  • Digital or software

Learn more about this competition

Unlocking nature positive private investment

Opens – 12 February 2024
Closes – 10 April 2024 11:00 am

Innovate UK will award grants of up to £500,000 for companies working on projects to enable private investors to invest in nature-positive projects. The aim of this competition is to mobilise significant private investment to scale nature-positive solutions. 

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes:

  • Data, tools, models and metrics, including decision-making tools
  • Environmental monitoring and verification of investments, over time, cost-effectively
  • Insurance or insurability of projects
  • Solutions that help aggregate projects to attract finance

Your project must also last no more than nine months, start by 1 September 2024, and end by 1 May 2025. 

You must deliver your project in collaboration with other UK-registered organisations and your consortium must include at least one UK-registered SME.

Learn more about this competition

Find out what you’re eligible for

That brings us to the end of the February 2024 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.