Launchpad: Net Zero, MFA, Tees Valley, R2

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million for projects that grow activities in the net zero innovation cluster centered on Tees Valley. This Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) 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 Liverpool City Region and the Tees Valley.


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 centered on Tees Valley.

The geographical requirement is set to align this competition 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 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 £25,000 and £100,000
  • start by 01 September 2023
  • end by 30 September 2024
  • last between 6 and 12 months
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be active or growing your work activities in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley
  • have a demonstrable ambition for business growth

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.

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

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • be active or growing your work activities in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley
  • have demonstrable ambition for business growth

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Their involvement must contribute to the growth of the cluster

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 project costs.

A business can lead on only one MFA application.

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

Innovate UK will monitor closely for this separation if you are awarded funding in both competition strands.

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

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.

Further information about the UK subsidy control requirements can be found in:

  • the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement
  • guidance from BEIS

EU Commission rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK’s International Obligations to Subsidy Control or the De minimis rules, you should take independent legal advice.


Innovate UK are not funding projects:

  • submitted by applicants who led a successful application to the Launchpad Tees Valley MFA 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 centered on Tees Valley
  • that involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • that involve primary production in agriculture
  • with activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • 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 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.

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

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

You can request up to 100% funding for your eligible project costs up to a maximum of £100,000.

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.