Launchpad: Net Zero, CR&D Tees Valley, R2

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £3 million for business led projects that grow activities in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley. This collaborative research and development (CR&D) funding is from Innovate UK.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £3 million

Opens: 13th Feb 2023

Closes: 29th Mar 2023

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest up to £3 million in innovation projects. The funding will support projects across the Launchpad competitions that target the innovation clusters centered on the Tees Valley and the Liverpool City Region.


The aim of this competition is to support outstanding innovation projects led by businesses. Businesses must be active, or growing their work activities, in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley.

This geographical requirement is set because this competition aligns to the Government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Your project must be innovating within the net zero theme for this competition.

Your project must commercialise knowledge through new innovation activities and lead to increased investment into research and innovation. It must contribute to growing business activities and generating economic impact in the net zero cluster centered on Tees Valley.

Your proposal must explain how your team and project will contribute to the equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) of the innovation cluster.

Specific Themes

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

  • materials for the future economy
  • smart design
  • resilient supply chains
  • world class production
  • longer in use and reuse

Projects can also consider the following enabling areas:

  • digital technologies
  • clean energy
  • proactive regulations and policy
  • future skills
  • networked relations
  • evolving value models


Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £150,000 and £1 million
  • start by 01 September 2023
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 6 and 18 months
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

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

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • be active or growing your work activities in the net zero innovation cluster centered on Tees Valley
  • have a demonstrable ambition for business growth

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

The contribution of project partners must add to the growth of the cluster.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Their contribution must add to the growth of the cluster.

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

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

A business, can lead on only one application but can be included as a collaborator in any number of applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

Other types of organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

If you apply to the MFA strand of this competition, as well as this CR&D strand, you must make sure each project is clearly distinctive and separate.

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


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • submitted by applicants who led a successful application in the Launchpad Tees Valley CR&D Round 1 competition
  • that do not align with the net zero theme described in the scope
  • where the work location does not add to the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley
  • requesting grant funding of less than £150,000 or more than £1 million

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £3 million to fund innovation projects selected across the two strands of this Launchpad competition and the two strands of a second Launchpad competition for the innovation cluster centered on the Liverpool City Region.

Funding will be in the form of a grant.

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

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

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For 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

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

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.