Unlocking Space for Business

Key Features

Proposals are sought for innovative pilot projects, funded by the UK Space Agency’s Unlocking Space for Business programme.

Programme:     UK Space Agency

Award:     Share of upto £3.5 milion

Opens: 27th Mar 2024

Closes: 22nd May 2024

! This scheme is closing soon


Proposals are sought for innovative pilot projects, funded by the UK Space Agency’s Unlocking Space for Business programme.


The aim of the Unlocking Space for Business competition is to offer financial services and transport & logistics companies, alongside satellite data and service partners, the chance to apply for a share of up to £3.5 million, inclusive of VAT and subject to affordability, to trial new solutions that use satellite data and services to benefit their organisation.

Projects must provide benefit to an end-user business within either the Financial Services or Transport & Logistics sectors, and must have a positive economic benefit to end-users within the UK.

This grant call is targeting medium-to-high technology readiness level (TRL) solutions that can deliver a tangible end-user benefit within the 9-month maximum project duration.

Awarded projects are expected to start from July 2024 and must have fully completed by March 2025 with a maximum duration of 9 months.

Projects will involve one or more of the three types of commercial satellite data and services in combination with complementary terrestrial data and technologies (e.g. AI, machine learning, quantum, drones, geospatial data), which are:

  • satellite imagery (earth observation)
  • satellite connectivity and communications
  • position, navigation & timing (PNT)

The Agency welcomes proposals that meet at least one of the Agency strategic objectives, which are:

  • new revenue growth opportunities
  • improved customer experiences
  • enhanced decision-making capabilities
  • environmental, social and governance (ESG) benefits

An online briefing event will be hosted by UK Space Agency on Wednesday 10 April 2024, 11am-11.45am BST with the aim of informing potential applicants about the Unlocking Space for Business Programme competition, including its scope, application process and timelines. The event provided an opportunity for potential applicants to ask questions about the competition.

Register here for the briefing webinar.


Applications are encouraged from companies within the financial services or transport & logistics sectors interested in piloting new solutions that use satellite data and services within their organisation to solve key challenges. Companies are expected to apply as a consortium with a satellite data or service supplier alongside any other relevant aggregator organisations needed to deliver their pilot project.

Acceptable activities

Applicants for the grant should engage in a variety of acceptable activities that align with the objectives of the funding programme. These activities may include:

  1. Pilot Projects and Demonstrations: Applicants propose pilot projects and demonstrations to highlight the potential impact and feasibility of space-derived data applications in real-world settings. These pilot projects should be designed to test hypotheses, validate assumptions, and assess the scalability and sustainability of proposed solutions. Pilot projects may include activities such as data collection, analysis, modelling, and visualisation, as well as the development of proof-of-concept prototypes or minimum viable products.
  2. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: Applicants should implement robust monitoring, evaluation, and learning mechanisms to track progress, measure impact, and identify lessons learned throughout the duration of their projects. This may involve developing performance indicators, data collection tools, and evaluation frameworks to assess project outcomes, identify success factors and challenges, and inform adaptive management strategies to optimise project implementation and maximise impact. It should be noted that due to the scale and complexity of managing several projects, we have engaged third party reporting partners (BryceTech) to manage reporting requirements from an authority perspective.
  3. Knowledge Sharing and Dissemination: Although not a direct requirement UK SPACE AGENCY would encourage, subject to confidentiality, commercial sensitive IP, and data, applicants to engage in knowledge sharing and dissemination activities aimed at sharing lessons learned, best practices, and insights generated from their projects with the broader community. This may include publishing pilot project findings, white papers, case studies, and technical reports, as well as organising conferences, webinars, and community forums to facilitate knowledge exchange and dialogue among stakeholders.

Organisation Eligibility

The lead applicant must be an end-user business within either the Financial Services or Transport & Logistics sectors.

For Financial Services, this includes, but is not limited to banks, insurance companies, asset managers.

For Transport & Logistics, this includes, but is not limited to logistics companies, transport operators, businesses with fleet networks.

As part of the application, the lead applicant must set out how they are or plan to be an end-user of satellite data within either of the two target sectors.

There are a series of requirements for eligibility to receive grant funding, which are:

  • grant recipients must demonstrate the ability to effectively manage a project
  • applicants should be able to demonstrate their capability to match fund the pilot
  • applicants must show they are registered as a UK organisation
  • grant recipients must have a UK bank account and all grant payments will be made in UK sterling (as per grant funding agreement)
  • all project members must have in place and provide evidence of appropriate anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies
  • all project members must provide evidence of a process for declaring and managing conflicts of interest
  • all project members must be able to provide evidence that they are GDPR compliant
  • projects cannot work in areas that are in active conflict and any travel to overseas must comply with FCDO recommendations
  • projects must pass due diligence checks on company viability (financial standing assessment, governance, conflicts of interest, technical expertise)
  • formal teaming, or equivalent agreements between project partners must be in place within 60 days of grant signature
  • projects must comply with the rules stated in this guidance document

Applications will be assessed under the review process outlined in Assessment of Applications section.


The following costs are ineligible:

  • Payment that supports for lobbying or activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, government, or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action
  • Using grant funding to petition for additional funding
  • Input VAT reclaimable by the Grant Recipient from HMRC
  • Payments for activities of a political or exclusively religious nature
  • Goods or services that the Grant Recipient has a statutory duty to provide
  • Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector grants
  • Contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money)
  • Depreciation, amortisation, or impairment of fixed assets owned by the Grant Recipient
  • The acquisition or improvement of fixed assets by the Grant Recipient (unless the grant is explicitly for capital use – this will be stipulated in the Grant Offer Letter)
  • Interest payments (including service charge payments for finance leases)
  • Gifts to individuals
  • Entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations)
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines, or penalties; or liabilities incurred before the issue of this funding agreement unless agreed in writing by UK Space Agency
  • Employee paid benefits and bonuses
  • Alcohol

Funding Costs

Under this programme the total amount of grant funding available is up to £3.5 million (subject to availability). The maximum amount of grant funding per project is expected to be up to £400,000 (total project costs may be higher when accounting for match-funding). In exceptional circumstances, the UK Space Agency reserve the right to adjust the value or duration of the grant funding available.

These grants are being awarded under the streamlined subsidy scheme, Research, Development & Innovation. Companies wishing to apply will need to demonstrate eligibility to this scheme, including not having received previous project funding that is in excess of the cumulation caps (£3 million) identified within the scheme.

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.