Open programme funding competition

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

Your mission: win a funding competition!

The first round of Innovate UK's Open Programme Funding Competition of 2018 has opened today.

You can compete if you have one of "the best cutting-edge or disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation." It will close on Wednesday, July 11th at noon. This post is a recap of what you need to know before you start your application.

Project size

There are two possibilities


6 to 18 months - £25,000 to £500,000

19 to 36 months (must be collaborative projects) £25,000 to £2,000,000

NB: the percentage of the costs covered by the grant will vary depending on the type of research being led and on the size of the applicant(s). For example, feasibility studies will be covered up to 70% for small businesses but only up to 60% for medium businesses.


The competition is open to UK-based companies who will carry out the project and exploit the results in the country. Several entities, gathered in a consortium, can apply, but all project must include at least one SME.

To apply for the grant, your project must:

  • be a game changer, potentially leading to novel products, services or processes

  • have a clear market potential

  • be carried out by a skilled and experienced team

  • demonstrate an awareness of risks and a plan to mitigate them

  • include financial plans and timeline

How to apply to the funding competition

Innovate UK has produced a guide - available here - to help you through the process. A briefing event will be held on May 14th. The application is split into three sections:

Project details:

This section, though not scored, helps the assessors decide if the project fits in the scope of the competition.

Applicable questions:

Ten questions help you present your project in details. Assessors will score your application, the success of which depends on this score .


The last section covers the project costs and the organisational and funding details.

If this is your first application, you may want to read our "where the heck do I start" posts.

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