Emerging & enabling technologies – Round 1

Key Features

Businesses can apply for a share of £15 million for innovation projects to stimulate the new products and services of tomorrow

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £1,400,000

Opens: 3rd Oct 2016

Closes: 7th Dec 2016

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to help businesses innovate to find new revenue sources. Proposals should show how to achieve a step change in business growth, productivity and export opportunities for at least one UK small and medium-sized enterprise (SME).

There are 2 streams to apply into this competition, dependent on project size and length:

Stream 1 is for projects under 12 months duration and under £100,000.

Stream 2 is for projects lasting longer than 12 months or costing over £100,000.

The aim of this competition is to help businesses broaden out innovation activities, to find new sources of revenue from new products, processes or services. Projects will:

  • harness E&E technologies across the economy
  • develop and scale-up research and development to bring ideas, processes and products closer to availability at scale and commercial release
  • use design processes to understand customer motivations and behaviour and use that insight to create better products, services and processes

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects that include:

  • technical feasibility
  • industrial research
  • experimental development

Projects must clearly show high-growth potential innovations in one or more of the following areas:

  • any emerging technology that can demonstrate a step change in performance and the potential to disrupt existing industrial approaches; Innovate UK are particularly looking to fund projects in energy harvesting, imaging technologies, graphene or biofilms
  • any enabling technology in: satellite applications; electronics; sensors; photonics; digital; internet of things; data; cybersecurity; virtual or augmented reality; and distributed ledger technology


To lead a project, you must:

  • be a UK-based business (of any size)
  • have at least one SME involved in your proposal
  • carry out your project work, and intend to exploit the results, in the UK
  • work alone or in collaboration with others (businesses, research base and third sector)

Funding and project details

All projects must involve at least one SME and a business must lead the project.

Stream 1: Project costs of up to £100,000

  • If you are an SME and expect your eligible project costs to be up to £100,000, you may deliver the project on your own
  • You may also work with other businesses or research organisations

The type of innovation project will depend on the challenges and opportunities your business faces.

Proposals must show how project success will improve business growth and productivity and/or encourage export opportunities, including for at least one UK small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) involved in the project.

Specific competition themes

Innovation in emerging technologies that show significant industry and commercial improvement in novel applications of:
• energy harvesting
• imaging technologies
• graphene or biofilms
• other areas of emerging technology

Innovation in enabling technologies that:
• show benefits across multiple industrial sectors or markets
• provide new products and services
• allow new applications for existing products and services
• enable new capabilities or business models

Innovate UK particularly encourage proposals that address:
• systems that combine multiple technologies to deliver a focused, real-world outcome, for example, combining earth observation data from satellites with other technologies to improve business performance
• smart sensor systems that allow intelligent decisions to be made by looking at miniaturisation, low-power processing and communications
• smart technology that provides a richer and more informative output to the end user
• photonics for manufacturing, healthcare and imaging
• digital technologies with substantial potential to change and disrupt sectors of the economy; for example, distributed ledgers, or augmented and virtual reality.