ISCF Transforming foundation industries: Building a resilient recovery

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £8 million in grant funding for projects supporting recovery and growth of the UK’s foundation industries.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £8 million

Opens: 3rd Aug 2020

Closes: 4th Nov 2020

! This scheme is now closed


The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £8 million in innovation projects. These aim to catalyse innovation to support fast recovery and growth from Covid-19 through innovations that improve productivity and sustainability of the UK’s foundation industries.


Aligned with the objectives of the ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge, projects will have to demonstrate how they address resource or energy efficiency of foundation industries and support resilience and sustainability of the sector and its supply chains.

Projects can include techno-economic assessment of new products, services and business models.

Projects must:

  • help the UK’s foundation industries remain globally competitive and become more environmentally sustainable
  • indicate how the innovation helps meet the needs of business and/or industry as it emerges from Covid-19 pandemic and aids rapid recovery
  • demonstrate that the business has the capability to deliver the project

Projects must focus on resource or energy efficiency in the foundation industries and can focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • establish long-term viability of domestic supply chains
  • new markets
  • new business models
  • new products and services
  • new processes


To lead a project your UK registered organisation:

  • must be either a business of any size or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • must carry out its project work in the UK
  • must intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone. Research and technology organisations cannot work alone.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your UK registered organisation must:

  • be a business of any size, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited by the lead organisation

If the lead organisation is an RTO, the project team must contain at least 2 businesses of any size.

Funding Costs

Up to £8 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £100,000 and £1million
  • last between 3 and 12 months
  • start by 1 April 2021

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

Research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum must be shared between them.


This competition is not funding projects that:

  • focus on fuel switching or greenhouse gas capture technology
  • do not focus on foundation industries and their immediate supply chains
  • focus on skills
  • are capital or infrastructure projects