Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

Innovate UK: The Sustainable Innovation Fund: round 1

Opened on the 16 June 2020, this competition strand is to facilitate UK supply chain and manufacturing capability growth in power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD).

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

Grant funding opportunity:

As announced on the Gov.uk website and closing on Wednesday 29 July 2020, the Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies recover from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

All projects must be led by a business and include at least one SME. Proposals can either be from a single business or a collaboration.

This competition is round 1 of a potential 3.

  • Round 1 – Temporary framework (this competition)
  • Round 2 - De Minimis (opening July 2020)
  • Round 3 - Temporary Framework (opening September 2020)

This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

What funding is available?

Innovate UK have allocated up to £55 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

Under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework your business could get up to 80% funding for your eligible project costs, up to a maximum of £175,000 per organisation, regardless of size.

Research organisations working in collaboration undertaking non-economic activity will be funded as follows:

  • universities: 80% of full economic costs
  • all other research organisations: 100% of eligible costs

Innovate UK will provide up to £50,000 to each grant-claiming organisation as an advance on grant payment 10 working days after the return of a fully-signed Grant Offer Letter (GOL). This will be taken off the first and any subsequent claims.

This competition provides state aid funding under the COVID-19 Temporary Framework for the UK. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Please refer to the framework, and subsequent amendments to the framework dated 3 April 2020 and 8 May 2020. There are specific T&Cs under the Temporary Framework, including potential clawback, so it is important that you review these and satisfy yourself that this is the best route for your business. Please get in touch if you'd like to know more about this grant

Your project:

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000.

Each funded partner can claim a maximum of £175,000 against their eligible project costs. This amount cannot exceed their cumulative aid total of €800,000 if they have received other funding as part of the COVID-19 Temporary Framework.

Projects must be ready to start by 1 October 2020. They can last between 3 and 9 months.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • involve at least one SME
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • be able to carry out project work under the current restrictions of COVID-19
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions and research and technology organisations (RTOs) cannot lead or work alone.

Sole traders are not eligible to apply for this competition.


COVID-19 has affected R&D across all sectors, and Innovate UK's aim with this competition is to help all sectors of the UK recover, grow and create new opportunities from the aftermath of the global health pandemic.

Your proposal must show evidence of key challenges as a direct consequence of COVID-19, and how your project can help solve them.

In addition, Innovate UK expect your proposal to ensure that any recovery, growth and opportunity is clean and sustainable.

They expect all projects to consider COVID-19 recovery in a way that has a positive impact on climate change and/or environmental sustainability, and you should explain how this will be achieved, maintained and measured.

Innovate UK would also like you to address where necessary, equality, diversity and inclusion in relation to your project, your organisation(s) and your approach to innovation.

They are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, regions, technological maturities and research categories, including the themes listed below.

  • decarbonisation, circular economy and/or biodiversity
  • climate change and environmental sustainability
  • geographic or regionally-targeted innovation
  • innovation that is aimed at commercial or residential users
  • innovations that work across more than one sector
  • follow-on international opportunities that help the UK lead the world

Project dates:

  • Competition opened: 29 June 2020
  • Competition closes: 29 July 2020 11:00am
  • Applicants notified: 28 August 2020

Interested in applying? Get in touch to learn how Myriad Associates can help:

  • Win Rate - Myriad Associates’ boast a strong success rate with Innovate UK applications. 
  • Proven templates & tools for success - Our templates make it easy to collaborate & prepare a winning bid.
  • Honest & Trustworthy – We will not waste your time or money. If we feel your application won't succeed, we will tell you before we undertake the application process.
  • Highly rated UK & European bid writers - We have a highly experienced team of bid writers with proven UK & European success. In 2018/19, we secured over €50m in grant funding for our clients.
  • Unlimited revisions - Our grant writers provide feedback on both successful and unsuccessful grant applications. We review this feedback with you to give you ongoing advice and guidance.
  • Risk-free Eligibility Call – Call us for a free eligibility call to see if you have an application worth applying for.

Click here to discuss your application with one of our expert grant bid writers or visit Innovate UK to find out more.

Where do I find more information?

For more information on this grant, please visit: https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/651/overview#summary

Alternatively, contact us if you'd like to know whether your project would likely qualify for this grant.

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