Water Discovery Challenge 2023

A £4 million competition for bold and ingenious innovation that can help solve the biggest challenges facing the water sector today and in the future.

Opportunity Details


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Each entrant can win up to £500,000, split between the Finalist Award (up to £50,000) and the Winner’s Award (up to £450,000). Total funding available is £4m.

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Discovery aims to accelerate the discovery, development and adoption of promising innovations by the water sector. It aims to achieve this by directly supporting organisations with innovative propositions and facilitating their engagement with water companies.

Discovery is a 18-month competition that brings together a blend of financial and non-financial support to support innovations to launch and succeed in the water sector in England and Wales. Finalist and winning teams retain all intellectual property rights and equity in their organisation. Entries can be entered into the Challenge confidentially.

The Water Discovery Challenge opened for entries on 25 January 2023 at 12 noon (GMT) and will close on 5 April 2023 at 12 noon (BST). The online entry form is vailable here.

A range of webinars are available to support you to learn about the water sector and enter your innovation.

Up to 20 Finalists will be announced by the end of June 2023. These entries will enter the Finalist Stage which runs from June to November 2023, with an award of up to £50,000 and a 5-month package of support, including support to produce a Development Plan for submission to the following stage.

Mentors will work directly with each Finalist, providing bespoke support and guidance, insights into the water sector, as well as feedback on each Finalist’s innovation and its demand within the wider sector while also signposting to other stakeholders or useful resources.

Up to 10 Winners will be announced by February 2023. These 10 entries will enter the Winners Stage which runs from February to August 2024, with an award of up to £450,000 and a 7-month package of support.


To be eligible to enter, organisations entering must:

  • Be a UK private limited company, limited liability partnership, incorporated charity or Community Interest Company (sole traders and unincorporated partnerships are not eligible)
  • Hold a UK business bank account upon entry
  • Comply with the Challenge’s Terms and Conditions
  • Not be a regional water or wastewater company in England and Wales


We are seeking bold and ingenious innovation that can help solve the biggest challenges facing the water sector today and into the future.

In particular, we are looking for innovations that:

  1. Have the potential to have a positive impact for water customers, society and the environment, guided by our four strategic innovation themes.
  2. Innovation enablers and innovative solutions ready for concept proofing, testing, early feasibility studies, development and verification in the water sector.
  3. Are delivered by teams that have the capacity, capability and commitment to deliver.
  4. Have the ability to succeed, be sustainable and/or gain wide adoption across the water sector in England and Wales.

All eligible entries will be reviewed against each of the four assessment criteria, weighted as outlined below:

Criteria 1: Positive impact for water customers, society and the environment (40%)

Criteria 2: Innovation enablers and innovative solutions (20%)

Criteria 3: Capacity, capability and commitment to deliver (20%)

Criteria 4: Ability to succeed, to be sustainable and/or gain wide adoption across the water sector (20%)

We recognise that many entrants might not have in-depth knowledge of the water sector at the point of entry. A series of webinars is available during the Entry Period to support potential entrants to familiarise themselves with the sector, its innovation needs and challenges.

Browse the Discovery Webinar Series


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