The Sustainable Innovation Fund: round 2 (de minimis)

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £26 million for new projects focusing on sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19.

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Opportunity Details


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Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £50,000 and £100,000. Up to 100% of costs can be funded.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £26 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of The Sustainable Innovation Fund.

The aim of this competition is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.

All projects must be led by a business. Proposals can only be from a single business.

Innovate UK provides research, development and innovation funding opportunities within the agriculture and fisheries sectors through other forms of aid. However, we will not fund the following through de minimis.

  • aid subsidising any primary production within fishery and aquaculture sectors
  • aid subsidising any primary production of agricultural products

De minimis aid cannot be used for costs associated with:

  • many export-related activities towards third countries or member states
  • activities that favour domestic goods over imports
  • activities related to purchasing of road freight transport.

For any other activity which involves hire or reward in the road freight transport sector, aid is limited to 100,000 euros over 3 fiscal (tax) years.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £50,000 and £100,000
  • be ready to start by 1 November 2020
  • last between three and six months

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • 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

We have allocated up to £26 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

You can receive funding of 100% of your total eligible project costs, up to £100,000.

We 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. This will be taken off the first and any subsequent claims.


COVID-19 has affected R&D across all sectors, and our 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.

You must consider your proposal’s impact on climate change and/or environmental sustainability.

We 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.

We will fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, regions, technological maturities and research categories, including the themes listed below.

Specific themes

Your project can also focus on:

  • 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

An online applicant briefing was held on Thursday 30th July: click here for the recording.

KTN held a Q&A session 9.30am-10.30am on Friday 31st July, with Jonny Voon from Innovate UK: click here to see the recording.

EEN will be holding a session on “Writing a Compelling Grant Application to Increase Success” at 11am on Friday 31st July: see the recording here.


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