New Innovators in digital technology, North East England

Key Features

UK registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million for projects that grow their innovation activities in the digital technology cluster in North East England.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1.5 million

Opens: 7th May 2024

Closes: 19th Jun 2024

Overview

Innovate UK will work with North East Local Enterprise Partnership and North of Tyne Combined Authority to invest up to £1.5 million in innovation projects.

This funding is from Innovate UK’s Launchpad programme. The Launchpad programme supports the UK government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to enable ambitious UK registered micro and small businesses to develop highly innovative ideas that have a clear route to commercialisation and business growth.

Your project must use the funding to help grow your innovation activities in the digital technology cluster in North East England, both during and after the project.

For this competition, North East England consists of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and County Durham.

Your project must focus on digital technologies that can be applied in growing and emerging markets.

Growing or emerging markets, include but are not limited to:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • agriculture and forestry
  • automotive and transportation
  • creative industries
  • culture, tourism, leisure and sport
  • green industries
  • health
  • offshore industries
  • retail and town centre

Your innovation can 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.

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different durations, locations, markets and themes. We call this a portfolio approach.

In support of the UK government’s Levelling Up goals, we reserve the right to prioritise projects that:

  • significantly advance innovation (the idea)
  • have more innovation activity taking place within the innovation cluster or outside of the Greater South East
  • achieve a balance between the specific themes for this competition

Specific Themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

Immersive technologies

  • extended reality
  • digital twins
  • games engines
  • virtual production

Artificial intelligence

  • data science
  • machine learning
  • neural networks
  • computer vision
  • robotics
  • large language models
  • quantum computing

These lists are not exhaustive. Where you can show your proposal fits within the scope of this competition you can focus on other technologies.

Eligibility

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £25,000 and £50,000
  • have total project costs that equal your grant funding request
  • last between three and six months in duration
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • help to grow your innovation activities during and after the project in the innovation cluster described in the Scope section
  • start between 1 October 2024 and 1 January 2025
  • end by 31 March 2025

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application. If your total project costs exceed £50,000 you will be ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment. If your grant funding request does not equal your total project costs you will be ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

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, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

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

Lead organisation

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

If your business has been funded directly by Innovate UK previously, you are not eligible to be offered funding through this competition.

If you have only received funding directly from Innovate UK Business Growth (previously named Innovate UK EDGE) or a Catapult scheme, you are 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

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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

Innovate UK expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Number of applications

An eligible UK business can submit one application only. Any subsequent applications submitted with the same project lead will be ineligible and will not be forwarded for assessment. This limit extends to current owners, directors and persons of significant interest, prohibiting them from leading multiple submissions through different entities.

Use of animals in research and innovation

Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.

Applicants must ensure that all of the proposed work within projects, both that in the UK and internationally, will comply with the UKRI guidance on the use of animals in research and innovation.

Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope requirements
  • purely result in reports, academic papers or similar
  • do not evidence value for money

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that:

  • 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
  • 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
  • are 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 have allocated up to £1.5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

The total funding available for this Launchpad competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the funding allocations between all Launchpad competitions and strands
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

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

Your total project costs will be 100% funded. Your grant funding request must match your total project costs. If your grant funding request is not 100% of your total project costs then your application will be made ineligible.

Your total project costs detailed within your application must not exceed the maximum of £50,000. If your total project costs are below the minimum of £25,000 or exceed the maximum of £50,000 then your application will be made ineligible.

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.