Investment accelerator pilot

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of £8.5 million to fund feasibility studies in infrastructure systems or health and life sciences.


This is a pilot programme for Innovate UK. It provides simultaneous grant funding and venture capital investment for early stage projects led by UK companies.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £150K

Opens: 8th May 2017

Closes: 5th Jul 2017

! This scheme is now closed

This is a pilot programme for Innovate UK. It provides simultaneous grant funding and venture capital investment in early stage projects led by UK companies.

The programme will provide 100% of project costs. The aim is to:

  • bring private investors into Innovate UK grant-funded companies earlier, giving companies greater confidence that investment will continue after the project funding
  • give management teams more time to run the business rather than continually chasing investment
  • remove the need to find match funding
  • give companies direct access to commercial acumen and market opportunities

This competition covers 2 of our sector groups: infrastructure systems and health and life sciences. It therefore has a large scope, comprising the following areas:

Infrastructure systems

  • smart infrastructure
  • energy supply and systems
  • connected transport
  • urban living

Health and life sciences

  • agrifood
  • biosciences
  • advanced therapies
  • medical technology
  • digital health

The aim of this competition is to fund feasibility studies that explore and evaluate the commercial potential of innovative ideas. Applicants should do this through:

  • reviewing research evidence and identifying possible applications
  • assessing business opportunities
  • consolidating the intellectual property position of their idea
  • validating initial concepts or existing demonstrators
  • identifying areas for further development

In all these cases, the aim of the investment accelerator pilot is to fund innovative high-risk projects and invest in companies that have real potential for growth.

Innovate UK will assess applications using the standard Innovate UK assessment process, while the investors will use their own assessment techniques. Both Innovate UK and the investor partner must identify a project as fundable before a grant is offered.

For further details on specific competition themes, please click here.


To apply for this competition and lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business, or have registered a UK business before the point of a grant award. Research and technology organisations and universities may not apply, but spin-out UK companies may
  • be a micro or SME
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • work alone – the grant funding and investment cannot be split with partners

Funding details

Innovate UK has allocated up to £6 million of grant funding for this competition: £3 million for infrastructure systems and £3 million for health and life sciences.

For technical feasibility studies, you could get:

  • up to 70% of your eligible project costs in grant funding if you are a micro or SME

Innovate UK’s investor partners have agreed to match fund the remaining 30% or 40% of project costs through equity investment or convertible loans.

Projects are expected to last 3 to 12 months and to have total costs of up to £150,000.