Shanghai-UK industrial challenge programme

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of £5 million for projects with partners from Shanghai municipality, People’s Republic of China.

Programme:     Innovate UK and the Science Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality

Award:     Up to £350k in the UK

Opens: 12th Apr 2017

Closes: 28th Jun 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to stimulate economic growth in China (specifically Shanghai municipality) and in the UK through business-led innovation. Innovations should draw on the capabilities in both countries to address the industrial opportunities and challenges that will shape the markets of the future.

All projects must show demonstrable benefits of cooperation between the UK and China through the contributions of the participants from both countries. The project effort must be balanced between participants from both countries and significant to both project partners. Projects must show innovation and improve prospects for business growth and productivity and/or create export opportunities for the industry partners involved in the project.

This competition has two priority areas:

  • Open Priority: open to transformational or disruptive innovations leading to novel, new products, processes or services. These should be drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area, with particular interest in the areas of healthcare and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and energy/green technology. Projects should lead to a significant return on investment and have a clear impact on business growth.
  • Future cities: rapid urbanisation, demographic and social change, resource scarcity and climate change put significant pressures on city systems, services and on citizens. On the other hand, those pressures can also stimulate the development of new, integrated solutions. These combine the power of new technologies, digital capabilities, social innovation and novel business approaches while responding to the needs of citizens.

For further details on this priority, please click here.


To apply: you must have at least one UK-based company and one eligible partner from a business operating in Shanghai working together on the project. You can also invite other types of organisations from the UK to join your project.

In the UK

  • lead applicants will be a business registered and operating in the UK
  • UK academic and research entities are eligible to join as partners in the project

In Shanghai

  • lead applicants will be R&D performing companies registered and operating in Shanghai

Funding and project details

Innovate UK and the Science Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality are funding this competition.

Innovate UK has allocated up to £5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Innovate UK will fund the UK project partners. The Science Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality will fund eligible partners from Shanghai.

All projects must

  • Involve at least one UK business and one business from Shanghai
  • The projects must be business led on both the UK and Chinese sides
  • Projects are expected to last up to 36 months

UK project costs should be up to £500,000.

Shanghai projects will get up to 10million RMB funding from the Science Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality.

Project types

In the UK, your project may focus on industrial research or experimental development. This will depend on the challenge.

For 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.