UKRI Circular fashion programme: recycling and sorting demonstrator

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £4 million for a demonstration of innovative technologies, services and processes for the UK’s Fashion and Textile sector.

Opportunity Details


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Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £3 million and £4 million. This can cover up to 70% of costs depending on business size.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to invest up to £4 million in an innovation project. This will be to develop and demonstrate closed-loop recycling for the fashion and textile sector at scale. This is the initial activity of a £15 million UKRI Circular Fashion Programme.

The aim of this competition is to fund a research and development activity demonstrator. This will demonstrate new technologies, services, processes and business models capable of addressing the recycling and sorting challenges, as part of the UK’s fashion and textile sector and their direct supply chains.

Your proposal must be for a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, demonstration project.

Your project must support a demonstration of innovation at an industrially relevant scale, which will:

  • increase the proportion of postconsumer fashion and textiles that are retained in a closed loop system
  • increase the market value of processed post-consumer fashion and textiles
  • reduce the proportion of post-consumer fashion and textiles which is sent to landfill, destroyed or exported
  • develop and disseminate best practices in technologies, services, processes and business models to wider industry and policy makers

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £3 million and £4 million
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 18 and 22 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK


To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • involve at least one academic institution (can be non grant claiming)
  • involve at least one relevant trade association (can be non grant claiming)

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Innovate UK encourage collaborations from the fashion and textile supply chain including:

  • manufacturers
  • retailers
  • recyclers


Your project must focus on mixed fabrics.

In addition, we also encourage applications focussing on one or more of the following materials:

  • wool
  • cotton
  • polyester

An online briefing event will be held at 10am on Friday 18th November: click here for the joining link.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Materials team (or for wool, contact Jo Gosling from the Agrifood team).

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