Innovate UK Transformative Technologies

Key Features

UK registered small and micro businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million for affordable, adoptable and investable innovations in transformative technologies.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £20 million

Opens: 20th Feb 2023

Closes: 29th Mar 2023

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK is offering UK registered small and micro businesses a share of up to £20 million in grants. In addition to the grant support, you will be offered tailored business support delivered by Innovate UK EDGE.


The aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to enable ambitious UK registered micro and small businesses in transformative technologies to reach their potential.

You must focus on one of the transformative technologies and how you can enable affordable, adoptable and investable innovations.

Your innovation must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available, or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.

In your application, you must demonstrate that you:

  • have a great idea
  • need public funding
  • have the capability to deliver the project
  • will deliver the project

Innovate UK are particularly interested in how your proposal will help you:

  • develop both your ambitious idea and your business
  • create a new revenue stream, for example new products, services or IP
  • evidence and enable your market, funding and commercialisation plans
  • show what is feasible, in helping you decide whether to pursue your idea further
  • catalyse further innovation on your path to commercial success
  • respond to changing market conditions

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across:

  • specific challenge themes and technologies
  • project durations
  • project costs, including demonstrating value for money
  • UK regions

Specific Themes

You must focus on one of the transformative technologies and how you can enable affordable, adoptable and investable innovations for:


  • with improvements and scale up for semiconductor manufacture within the UK
  • identifying or delivering a clear, game-changing intervention and address an identified industrial requirement or improvement
  • realistically and significantly meeting and providing a long-term commitment to supporting the UK semiconductor industry

Future Telecoms

  • applying innovation from at least one technology area utilising distributed computing, multi agent systems or the application of AI into networking technologies
  • developing new business models and innovation within both wired and wireless communications, including but not limited to:

– neutral host networks
– citizen WI-FI
– mesh networks,
– energy efficient networks
– satellite and non-terrestrial networking solutions

Innovate UK encourage projects to build on or contribute to open standards development or the extension of OpenRAN

Artificial Intelligence Assurance

  • with the development of novel solutions and processes to advance trust in the compliance and risk of AI systems
  • delivering a clear, game-changing intervention for one or more of the following:
– auditing
– impact assessment or evaluation
– reliability and robustness testing

Engineering Biology

  • with innovation that harnesses advances in biology, and the engineering of biological systems and organisms, to address challenges and improve productivity in:
– human and animal health, from discovery to manufacture
– environmental solutions, sustainability and cleaner manufacturing processes
– food security or biosecurity
  • developing new tools, products, services or processes that exploit engineering biology techniques
  • supporting skills development in the broader engineering biology ecosystem, in areas such as precision fermentation and scale-up


  • with quantum technologies including quantum computing (hardware and software)
  • single photon detection or generation
Sustainable UK Materials and Manufacturing
  • accelerating the development and adoption of resource efficient solutions, with simultaneous demonstration of resilience or technological advancement
  • addressing two or more of the following:
– materials for the future
– smart design
– resilient supply chains
– world class production
– longer in use
– reuse


Your project must:

  • have total project costs and grant request of between £25,000 and £50,000
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 30 November 2023
  • last between 3 and 6 months in duration
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application. If you exceed the total project costs of £50,000 you will be ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

You will be made ineligible if you exceed the Minimal Financial Assistance limit. You must submit a complete declaration as part of your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered micro or small business.

If your business has been funded by Innovate UK previously, you are not eligible to apply for this competition.

Businesses with directors who have previously received a grant or Innovation Loan from Innovate UK as part of a different company, are eligible to apply but will be considered on a case by case basis.

A business with a previous award to a parent or subsidiary would also be eligible to apply, but the parent company must be classified as a micro or small business. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. Innovate UK will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

An eligible UK business can lead on one application. We will only award grant funding to one project per business.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition. This means you can submit an application that was unsuccessful in one previous competition.

If you submit a new application this time you can only submit an updated application into one future competition that allows this.

Grant funding in this competition is awarded as Minimal Financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a 3-year rolling financial period.

In your application, you will be asked to declare previous funding received by you. This will form part of the financial checks ahead of Innovate UK making a formal grant offer.

To establish your eligibility, we need to check that our support added to the amount you have previously received does not exceed the limit of £315,000 in the ‘applicable period’.

The applicable period is made up of:

(a) the elapsed part of the current financial year, and

(b) the two financial years immediately preceding the current financial year.

You must include any funding which you have received during the applicable period under:

  • Minimal Financial Assistance (previously referred to as Special Drawing Rights)
  • De Minimis Regulation

You do not need to include aid or subsidies which have been granted on a different basis, for example, an aid award granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope requirements
  • do not evidence potential for the proposed innovation to lead to significant and positive economic or societal impact
  • do not evidence value for money
  • involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • involve primary production in agriculture
  • have activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • are not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • are not eligible to receive Minimal Financial Assistance

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Innovate UK has allocated up to £20 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Each eligible business can apply for a grant of between £25,000 and £50,000.

You can claim 100% of your eligible project costs up to the maximum of £50,000.

Innovate UK will aim to pay:

  • 70% of your grant request within a month of your agreed project start date
  • a further 20% in arrears, after approval of your 70% claim and the evidence of spend made, submitted with your claim
  • the remaining 10% of the grant 10 to 14 days after Innovate UK approve your final claim

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.