Funding Streams for your R&D

There are a range of funding opportunities and schemes available to both industry and academia, but navigating the landscape can be a challenge.

UKTIN is here to simplify the process, helping you understand the type of funding available, and signposting you to current opportunities.

Funding and Support Routes

Match-Funded Grants

Perhaps the most common form of grant funding, funded by UK Government (and administered directly by departments such as the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, or though bodies such as Innovate UK), or by multiple governments through collaborative R&D initiatives.

In match-funded grants, the applicant is required to make a contribution to the granted amount with an amount of their own. This amount may vary depending on the type of funding available and assessment criteria, such as the technical readiness (TR) of the product / project being funded and the size of organisation receiving the funding. 

Fully-Funded Grants

Fully-funded grants are typically provided by government funded bodies such as Innovate UK, primarily for start-ups and early stage companies. Unlike match-funded grants which tend to award funding to a consortium of organisations, fully-funded grants are usually awarded to individual organisations.

Public Sector Loans

Public sector loans are typically provided by government funded bodies such as Innovate UK, primarily for start-ups and early stage companies. They may also be provided by UK Government directly (such as Covid bounce back loans). 

Public sector loans may be offered at preferential rates of interest, but acceptance criteria may be exacting – often including competitions. 

Innovation Programmes, Incubators and Accelerators

A large number of innovation programmes, incubators and accelerators exist throughout the regions and nations of the UK. Each offer something different, from nurturing very early-stage start-ups to accelerating organisations to scale-ups. 

The exact proposition will vary from scheme to scheme and in addition to the specific day-to-day support, participants can benefit from access to test facilities and infrastructure, being part of a start-up community and an estabished ecosystem or larger organisations and potential partners. Where the scheme is operated by a corporate entity there may be commercial and investment opportunities as well.

Although not always the case, some incubators / accelerators require a share in the hosted entity.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is an EU research and innovation programme. It has a budget of €95.5 billion and runs until 2027.

The UK agreed a deal to associate to Horizon Europe on 7 September 2023.

UK researchers can now apply for Horizon Europe funding, certain that all successful UK applicants will be covered through the UK’s association (or through the guarantee) for the remainder of the programme.

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Equity Funding

Equity funding falls almost exclusively into the private sector and relates to the presentation of capital by an investor in exchange for shares in the invested company. 

Many companies engage in successive funding “rounds” (e.g. “friends and family”, seed, series A/B/C/D) before exit (sale). Equity funding is most commonly associated with companies planning a “exit” (company sale) within one to five years (depending on finding round stage). 

Angel investors, Venture Capitalists (VCs) and equity Incubators rarely invest in companies that do not have an exit strategy. Institutional investors (e.g. pensions funds) may be more willing to do so, but are rarely interested in investing in small companies. 

The UKTIN Small Business Support programme offers a fully-funded Investment Workout for companies looking to raise funds.

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