Innovate UK Eligibility Requirements

Every Innovate UK funding competition has eligibility requirements to make sure the funder receives value for money and that the project they are investing in will be a success. Reading through the full eligibility, scope and guidance is imperative, however sometimes it can be hard to navigate through the jargon to become aware of what the funder actually wants.


This blog will help you to get a higher understanding of Innovate UK eligibility by focusing on three key requirements.




Every funding competition will have essential scope details that need to be met for your project to be classed as eligible. A true way to know if your project matches the scope of the competition is to look at examples of what the funder is NOT willing to fund as part of the project. You ought to have the most innovative project in your sector however if it doesn’t meet the scope your application won’t even pass through to assessment.


Example: Innovate UK SMART Grants


  1. *We will no longer fund proposals that do not:
  2. meet the competition eligibility or scope
  3. address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  4. evidence the potential for their idea or concept to lead to significant return on investment (ROI), positive economic impact, growth and scale-up of the business
  5. Example: SBRI competition – Modernising Energy Data Applications phase 1
  6. *We will no longer fund projects:
  7. that do not explain how they will build upon the Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) solutions
  8. that do not combine energy sector data with data sources from at least one other sector
  9. that have not identified a lead customer and explained how they will be engaged as a key stakeholder during project development
  10. for commercial development activities such as quantity production
  11. Example: Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst 2020: round 1, early and late-stage awards
  12. *We will not fund projects that we consider to be at too early a stage


basic research


  1. generation of pure scientific and technological knowledge
  2. development of research ideas, hypotheses and experimental designs that have no practical commercial application
  3. We will not fund tasks that are too close to market or are already in market, such as:
  4. evaluations to inform labelling
  5. laboratory accreditation
  6. distribution or marketing activity
  7. post-marketing studies
  8. post-marketing surveillance
  9. Project requirements


Applying for grant funding is a big commitment and is an activity that need to be considered when planning business growth techniques so you can identify whether your business/project is ready for the challenge.


The three factors below make up the core project requirements that you will want to consider:


  1. Project start date


Will my company/project have all the right resources in area to be able to start on this specific date?


  1. Project duration


Can I commit to the quantity of work that needs to be done within this set timescale?


  1. Total challenge budget


Can I achieve project outcomes inside this budget?


Innovate UK eligibility project costs


The funding rates you can receive will rely on the size and type of your organisation and your function in the project. Organisations typically fall into three categories:


  1. businesses
  2. research organisations
  3. public sector organisations or charities undertaking research activity


Project costs that are classed as eligible for a typical Innovate UK projects include:


  1. Labour costs
  2. Overheads
  3. Materials costs
  4. Capital usage
  5. Subcontractor costs
  6. Travel and subsistence costs


Other costs- Workshop/lab usage charge outs, training costs, preparation of technical reports, market assessment, licensing in new technologies and patent filing costs of new IP


One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “If the fund is £500k should I apply for the maximum amount?”.


The answer is to work from the ground up, build costs based on the work plan that achieves the task outputs, and consider how much you need to obtain your ambitious project in its best form. If this is shut to the maximum amount then that’s okay, but with the aid of working from the ground up you will have developed a justification for the work plan and the associated funding you are asking for. Also, make certain you don’t ask for too little, it needs to be commercially competitive but additionally realistic when viewed next to the proposed work plan.


Do your eligibility research


You can also be thinking ” If I employ a consultancy to write my application for me I don’t want to know any of the above”.


However, from our experience of working with hundreds of clients, these that have done the background research and have regarded at how the funders communicate their requirements feel extra confident when working with us throughout the application process, as properly as when they have been successful and are working through the project.


It is true that making use of for R&D grant funding can be daunting and there is no guarantee of success, but carrying out the heritage research on eligibility ensures your project fits the competition, which in the end maximises your chances of success.


Reach Out

If you have a disruptive enterprising project or innovation, why not contact us? A brief chat with one of our innovation consultants will help you determine whether grant funding could get your project off the ground.


Why use grant funding experts?


Although there are many benefits to seeking grant funding, the thought of applying can be confusing, time-consuming and stressful. Using the creative and technical skills of a professional Innovation grant writing consultancy will strengthen your business in translating technologies and business models into a language and format assessors understand; increasing the chance of success. If you have a disruptive ambitious project or innovation, why not contact Capti Innovation.