Net Zero Living Digital Accelerator round 1

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million to develop digital applications to solve challenges in delivering net zero for places. This funding is part of the Net Zero Living programme.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1.5 million

Opens: 24th Apr 2023

Closes: 7th Jun 2023

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1.5 million in innovation projects. This funding is part of the Net Zero Living programme.


The aim of this competition is to support ambitious early stage growth businesses in developing and delivering net zero in relation to challenges based on place. This must be done through data driven digital applications and by collaborating with potential customers and product users.

Your proposal must focus on two or more net zero challenges across:

  • power
  • heat
  • mobility
  • product manufacture and usage

Your digital product must be for domestic, commercial, industrial or public authority users. Links to other sectors are also welcome where relevant to the delivery of net zero.

Your project must be a software or data lead solution.

It must make use of a number of open and shared data sets across a range of place relevant topics, including, but not limited to:

  • energy vectors and assets
  • citizens and communities
  • buildings
  • geography
  • transport
  • carbon emissions
  • industry
  • economy

Your digital products or services must help places to accelerate their journey to net zero, and be replicable and scalable. You can focus on decision making tools, cost evaluation, reporting tools, prioritisation, or citizen engagement.

Your businesses is likely to be at least 2 years old. You may have a product being developed or available and have some customer engagement. You could be self funded or have early investors and you may have accessed some public funding in your growth journey to date.

This competition will fund projects that demonstrate and drive forwards best practice in data sharing in Net Zero sectors. Your project must apply best practice principles around data governance and sharing, and must demonstrate how you are adopting the Innovate UK Net Zero Living Data Guidance principles across the project. This includes taking a presumed open approach to data generated throughout the project.

Successful applicants will be provided with technical support in understanding and applying the Innovate UK Net Zero Living Data Guidance principles to your project and business. This will include at least 2 workshops to introduce the guidance and principles. It will also include 20 hours of dedicated technical support for each project from an Innovate UK delivery partner.

You must publish at least one end of project summary report giving an overview of what was undertaken, learned and achieved during the project. This report must be openly published and accessible. You are also expected to partake in at least 2 project ‘show and tell’ events across the project period.


Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £150,000 and £300,000
  • start by 01 November 2023
  • end by 31 October 2024
  • last between 9 and 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • 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 micro or small business
  • collaborate with at least one UK registered business, organisation or public authority of any size
  • collaborate with at least one potential customer or product user as part of the project.

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

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

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, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

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

An organisation can only lead on one application.

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.



Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • focusing on large scale national infrastructure solutions alone, for example, not tackling placed based challenges to net zero
  • focusing on only one sector
  • lead by a long established business with modest growth record and ambitions
  • not utilising a number of shared and open data sets relevant to place

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

Up to £1.5 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

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

The 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 is shared between them. Of that 50% 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