Project funding

Supply Chain Refill Infrastructure Grant

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced that £475,000 of funding has been made available for refill projects in the second round of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) competition.
With funding coming from the UK Government’s Plastics Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF) as part of the UK Circular Plastics Flagship Projects, the competition will award grants of £50,000-£150,000 to projects that trial new ways of implementing refill infrastructure in existing or new supply chains. The deadline for expressions of interest is 6 August 2020.

Low Carbon Innovation Fund

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) provides equity finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England that are contributing to the low carbon economy.

LCIF co-invests alongside private sector investors such as founders, angel investors and/or other funds to provide finance to early and growth stage businesses in a variety of sectors to enable them to develop.

LCIF 2 is now open for investments between £25k and £1m. They would like to hear from suitable companies from any sector who are seeking investment to grow and develop and which match LCIF’s criteria.

Eligible companies must have an impact on carbon reduction by:   

  • Providing products that are more resource/energy efficient
  • Developing technologies or
  • Providing products or services that reduce carbon emissions for customers

Technation’s new Net Zero Programme

Technation have launched a new programme for companies that help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. With the aim to help scale UK tech that is working towards a more sustainable future, Net Zero 1.0 is open to digital tech or hardware businesses which help the UK reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly or indirectly.

They are specifically looking for digital and hardware companies which operate across key sectors including electricity and energy, transport and mobility, agriculture, food systems, manufacturing and building technology. Companies may directly contribute to net zero, with emission reducing and carbon capture technologies or may contribute indirectly by changing consumer behaviour or increasing efficiencies.

The programme will run for 6 months and will cover key scaling challenges specific to the sector.

Arts Council National Lottery project grants

The Arts Council has reopened its National Lottery Project Grants which will focus on supporting independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers.

Arts & Culture Impact Fund

The Arts & Culture Impact Fund is a new £20 million social impact investment fund for the UK’s arts, culture and heritage social enterprises. The fund offers loans to organisations in the arts, cultural or heritage sector of between £150,000 and £1 million, repayable over a period of up to 10 years.

Medtech Innovation Grants

Having access to the right knowledge and expertise is an essential part of successfully developing and commercialising new products and services for the health and care market.

MedTech Navigator Innovation Grants from Health Enterprise East are designed to facilitate interactions between Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England and eligible knowledge providers, such as NHS Trusts or Universities, during the product development process. Each Innovation Grant is worth 50% of the total project costs up to a maximum of £15,000, with businesses paying the remaining 50% and any project costs over and above the £15,000 cap.

The grants are designed to help SMEs gain access to the right knowledge and expertise during the product development process from eligible Knowledge Providers. Typical projects might include:

  • Helping to develop, or test, new or improved products, processes and services
  • Access to information and expertise on care pathways and workflows
  • Tapping into clinical and scientific expertise

Sustainable Innovation Fund

The Government’s new Sustainable Innovation Fund aims to help companies recover from the impact of coronavirus by developing new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector while helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting Innovate UK's website.

The Government has initially published two opportunities to apply for funding:

Funding opportunities to innovate

Innovate UK have a range of funding programmes currently open for applications. They include:

Covid-19 Capital Grant Scheme

The Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority’s ‘Covid-19 Capital Grant Scheme’ offers grants from £2k to £150k to small and medium-sized businesses for new capital investment projects. The object of the scheme is to help the qualifying companies strengthen their capacity to survive the emergency and bounce back strongly when it passes.   

Examples of investments which could attract such grants include buying new kit, building new extensions, the updating of production lines, IT infrastructure, and upgrading logistics.

This Grant Scheme is now paused as it is over-subscribed. However, you can still register your interest in the scheme by completing an application form.

Funding for space enabled solutions to the Coronavirus crisis

An initial £2.6 million is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to the challenges created by the Coronavirus crisis, in a joint initiative with the European Space Agency (ESA) in support of NHS England. The space-enabled solutions could include satellite communications, satellite navigation, Earth observation satellites or technology derived from human spaceflight. The funding is for projects which will address at least one of the following:

  • Logistics within the health delivery system, for example, with drone deliveries
  • Managing infectious disease outbreaks
  • Population health and wellbeing
  • Recovering health system function and handling backlogs after the crisis
  • Preparedness for future epidemics

Emergency funding for food redistribution

Funding is available from WRAP and Defra to assist surplus non-for-profit food redistributors in overcoming challenges that they are currently facing in obtaining surplus food from food businesses (such as retailers and food manufacturers) and distributing this to people in need or those considered vulnerable. The grant can be used to fund both capital and revenue costs associated with redistribution activities such as:

  • access to surplus food through logistical collections
  • sorting, storing, freezing, labelling / repackaging food
  • onward distribution of food to charities or end beneficiaries

Get funding for ideas that address COVID-19

Funding of up to 80% of project costs is available from UK Research and Innovation for short-term projects that address and mitigate the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Excellent proposals of 12-18 months duration will be supported which meet at least one of the following:

  • new research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts
  • supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Grants to support the reuse or recycling of textile waste

WRAP is offering £1.5 million in grants to support projects that provide innovative ways for textile waste to be recycled or re-used, keeping it out of landfill or incineration so that it remains a valuable resource.

WRAP is looking to support projects that demonstrate a level of innovation beyond normal industry practice. This may include new technologies, equipment not tried and tested before, or interventions that help to address and overcome barriers to textile recycling or re-use.

  • The grant will now fund 100% capital costs.
  • The grant will now be released in advanced milestones payments.
  • The grant can be used to fund any capital costs associated with a business reconfiguration in response to Government guidelines on COVID-19 safety measures, where this forms an integral part of an innovative proposal/project.

Grant awards will range in value from £20,000 to £170,000. The grant monies can be used to fund up to 100% of eligible project costs. Round 4 of this scheme closes on 30 October.

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