Open programme round 3

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £15 million. This is to deliver game-changing, cutting-edge innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £700k

Opens: 12th Jun 2017

Closes: 9th Aug 2017

! This scheme is now closed

Innovate UK’s open competition aims to overcome barriers to cutting-edge, game-changing innovation becoming a successful commercial reality and/or resulting in significant, sustainable business growth.

This funding is for innovation-based enterprises. Such enterprises should demonstrate their readiness to deliver a project leading to new, highly-innovative processes, products or services.

The open research and development (R&D) competition provides support for businesses to undertake an innovative project and is designed to:

  • help businesses overcome barriers to innovation
  • reduce the risk financially and technically in developing an innovative idea or concept for commercialisation and scale up
  • enable businesses to address high-growth opportunities if their concept doesn’t fit one of the Innovate UK sectors or has multiple themes with differing scopes
  • speed up the journey from an idea to commercialisation where timing can make all the difference to prospects
  • position businesses to be able to access private investment to support their innovative ideas
  • provide crucial support for businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth, to develop highly innovative products, processes or services with commercialisation potential and scale up, preferably with access to global markets


The competition is open to the best business-led cutting-edge or disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation.

These can be drawn from any technology and applied to any part of the economy. This area can be one that fits into, or be outside of, any one or more of Innovate UK’s 4 priority sectors for growth.


To be in scope, a proposal must:

  • demonstrate cutting-edge, game-changing or disruptive innovation leading to novel, new products, processes or services
  • articulate a clear, anticipated growth and commercialisation impact for businesses with considerable, demonstrable potential (as you would set out in a pitch to any serious investor) to lead to a significant return on investment (ROI)

Funding and project details

The percentage of costs that Innovate UK will pay through a grant varies. It depends on the type of research being carried out and size and type of organisation involved.

Projects can focus on:

  • feasibility studies which may include market research
  • industrial research
  • experimental development depending on the challenge identified and proposed solution

For feasibility studies and industrial research, you could get:

  • up to 70% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get:

  • up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME

Projects may last between 6 and 36 months.

Total eligible project costs should range from £25,000 to £1m.