Innovate UK Launchpads

Innovate UK’s Launchpad programme is aimed at supporting clusters of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the most innovative businesses to progress their ideas toward commercialisation, contributing to local economic growth. Each Launchpad has been developed in collaboration with local leadership, to strengthen innovation in targeted clusters across the UK.

Innovate UK Launchpads

Innovate UK’s Launchpad programme is aimed at supporting clusters of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the most innovative businesses to progress their ideas toward commercialisation, contributing to local economic growth. Each Launchpad has been developed in collaboration with local leadership, to strengthen innovation in targeted clusters across the UK.

Funded by Innovate UK, Launchpads align with the UK government’s goals outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Each Launchpad cluster benefits from various forms of support such as funding for research and development, opportunities for networking and collaboration, and access to innovation specialists including Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs).

Innovate UK has opened eleven Launchpads. In 2022 two pilots were opened for Liverpool City Region and Teesside, through which £15 million of funding was provided. In 2023 a further eight Launchpads were rolled out to support clusters across the UK, into which an initial £16 million of funding has been offered to support over 100 new projects. Over the coming year, further investment of up to £44 million will be made available across these eight clusters. Most recently, an additional Launchpad of up to £5 million was announced in Spring Budget 2024 for mid and north Wales, which will soon open for its first applications.

Click on each of the Launchpads below to read more about the cluster and the related funding and support opportunities.

  • Located in the South West of Wales, this Launchpad is dedicated to the pursuit of sustainable solutions in the realm of Net Zero industrial emissions. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with Welsh Government.

    Initial funding has been offered for six projects – four collaborative consortia projects plus two solely for SMEs. The themes of the projects offered funding include green hydrogen, modular solar power, and floating wind technologies.

    Latest news: The next funding opportunity in this Launchpad will open in the 7th May under the New Innovators programme.  This funding is open to micro and small business that are new to Innovate UK funding support.  100% MFA funding (with 70% of grant being made available at the start of the project) will be on offer.

    Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 19 June)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered

    Watch recording of Q&A Briefing Event (recorded 14th May 2024)

    This Launchpad will be supported by Net Zero Industry Wales, who have been awarded the Cluster Management Organisation (CMO) grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners.

  • Positioned in North East England, this Launchpad will be at the forefront of digital technologies applied into fast growth and emerging markets. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and North of Tyne Combined Authority.

    Thirteen projects are moving forward with their offer of funding – two collaborative R&D projects and eleven solely for SMEs. Eight of the projects are focused on making significant advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning. More than half of the business offered funding through this Launchpad are to receive Innovate UK funding for the first time.

    Latest news: The next funding opportunity in this Launchpad will open in the 7th May under the New Innovators programme.  This funding is open to micro and small business that are new to Innovate UK funding support.  100% MFA funding (with 70% of grant being made available at the start of the project) will be on offer.

    Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 19 June)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered

    Watch recording of Q&A Briefing Event (recorded 14th May 2024)

    This Launchpad will be supported by the Innovation SuperNetwork, who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners.

  • Based in West Yorkshire, this Launchpad is dedicated to pioneering breakthroughs in technologies that will improve healthcare outcomes. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

    Innovate UK has offered funding initially to ten projects for this cluster, two collaborative R&D projects and eight solely for SMEs. Four of the projects are centred on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data within healthcare.

    Latest news: The next funding opportunities for this Launchpad opens on 10 June 2024.

    Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 17 July)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered

    Register for online briefing event | Monday 17 Jun, 12pm

    This Launchpad will be supported by Health Innovation Yorkshire and Humber who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners.

  • This Launchpad will drive innovations in bio-based manufacturing, promoting sustainable production methods. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with Scottish Enterprise.

    In this cluster, Innovate UK has offered funding to thirteen projects – four collaborative R&D projects and nine solely for SMEs. Projects are located across Scotland and cover a wide range of innovations including feedstocks, sustainable peat-free growing media, seaweed processing and wastewater treatment screening. One of the projects is to be led by a previous Young Innovators award winner, supporting advancements in their unique technologies.

    Latest news: New competition funding in support of this Launchpad will be announced in the late summer. Details will be made available through Innovate UK and Scottish Enterprise.

    This Launchpad will be supported by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners.

  • Situated in Northern Ireland, this Launchpad is dedicated to the advancement of healthcare solutions and medical breakthroughs. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with Invest Northern Ireland.

    Funding has initially been offered to fourteen projects, across digital health, biotech therapeutics and diagnostics and medical technologies disciplines – two collaborative R&D projects and twelve projects solely for SMEs.

    Latest news: The next funding opportunity in this Launchpad will open in the 7th May under the New Innovators programme.  This funding is open to micro and small business that are new to Innovate UK funding support.  100% MFA funding (with 70% of grant being made available at the start of the project) will be on offer.

    Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 19 Jun)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered

    Watch recording of Q&A Briefing Event (recorded 14th May 2024)

    This Launchpad will be supported by Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI) who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. HIRANI will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners.

  • Centred on Coventry and Warwickshire in the West Midlands, this Launchpad will champion technologies for the creative industries and immersive experiences, paving the way for groundbreaking innovations. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Innovate UK will also deliver this Launchpad in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) who support the universities at the heart of this cluster.

    In this cluster, Innovate UK has offered funding to thirteen projects – two collaborative R&D projects and eleven solely for SMEs. The projects are developing technologies for the creative industries and immersive applications in industry.

    Latest news: The next funding opportunity in this Launchpad will open in the 7th May under the New Innovators programme.  This funding is open to micro and small business that are new to Innovate UK funding support.  100% MFA funding (with 70% of grant being made available at the start of the project) will be on offer.

    Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 19 June)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered

    Watch recording of Q&A Briefing Event (recorded 14th May 2024)

    This Launchpad will be supported by a Cluster Management Organisation (CMO) who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners. The CMO will be announced shortly.

  • This Launchpad will develop revolutions in agri-tech and food technology, driving innovation in food production and sustainability. Innovate UK is partnering on this Launchpad with the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.

    Innovate UK has offered funding initially to twelve projects for this cluster – five collaborative R&D projects and seven solely for SMEs. The projects cover the full breath of the sector including improving the yield and nutritional value of crops, automating harvesting, and producing food and drinks with enhanced health benefits. The projects are led by businesses in each of the four areas and two of the successful applicants previously had the support of Innovate UK’s Young Innovators programme.

    Latest news: The next funding opportunity in this Launchpad will open in the 7th May under the New Innovators programme.  This funding is open to micro and small business that are new to Innovate UK funding support.  100% MFA funding (with 70% of grant being made available at the start of the project) will be on offer.

    Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 19 June)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered

    Watch recording of Q&A Briefing Event (recorded 14th May 2024)

     

    New! Collaborative R&D Funding

    This Launchpad is also pleased to announce open CR&D competition funding for innovative projects. Competition opens on 7th May, closing 11am 19th June 2024 and will run separately to the New Innovator competition for those new to Innovate UK funding support.

    Apply for the CR&D Agri-Tech and Food Round 2 Competition including details on scope, key dates, support and eligibility (closing date 19 June)

    Watch recording of CR&D Competition Briefing Event (recorded 9th May)

    This Launchpad will be supported by a Cluster Management Organisation (CMO) who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners. The CMO will be announced shortly.

  • Located in the Great South West, this Launchpad will support initiatives in marine and maritime industries, fostering growth and sustainability in this sector.

    Innovate UK has offered funding to twelve projects in this cluster – three collaborative R&D projects and nine solely for SMEs. Applications were across clean maritime, marine autonomy and digital marine technologies with an emphasis on water quality and monitoring and uncrewed surface vessels. All the projects aim to make our oceans safer and support the transition towards a net zero ocean economy.

    Latest news: New funding opportunities in support of this cluster will open in the autumn. Details will be made available through Innovate UK and Maritime UK South West.

    This Launchpad will be supported by Maritime UK South West who have been awarded a grant by Innovate UK due to their sector and regional knowledge. They will enrich the strategies and impact of innovators in the cluster, alongside providing a hub of intelligence and community engagement for the wider cluster practitioners.

  • In the Spring Budget 2024, UK Government announced up to £5 million for an agri-food Launchpad in Mid and North Wales. This Launchpad will support a critical mass of business-led projects that grow activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Mid and North Wales.

    Latest news: This Launchpad will be supported by a Cluster Management Organisation (CMO) which will also be awarded through open competition. Funding details including scope, eligibility and support information (opening date 10 June 2024)

    New Innovators:  The next funding opportunity in this Launchpad will open in the 10 June under the New Innovators programme.  This funding is open to micro and small business that are new to Innovate UK funding support.  100% MFA funding (with 70% of grant being made available at the start of the project) will be on offer.  Apply for funding including scope, eligibility and support information (closing date 17 July)

    New Innovators Funding Launchpad FAQ (PDF): Your questions answered.

    Register for online briefing event | Monday 17 Jun, 12pm

Pilot Launchpads

Manufacturing Launchpad in Liverpool City

This pilot focused on the manufacturing sector, with digital technologies and net zero outcomes, building on the local economic strengths, R&D assets and strategic priorities. Innovate UK partnered on this Launchpad with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The area includes STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory at the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus. A total of 34 projects received funding from Innovate UK and the cluster management project led by Lyva Labs provides ongoing cluster support.

Net Zero Launchpad in Tees Valley

Tees Valley was selected as the location for Net Zero Launchpad with the initial focus of offshore wind, hydrogen production, distribution and usage, and carbon capture, usage and storage within the net zero theme. Innovate UK partnered on this Launchpad with the Tees Valley Combined Authority. 24 projects received funding from Innovate UK and the cluster management project led by Tees Valley Business provides ongoing cluster support.

 

Next steps

As described in the listings above, the next funding opportunities are tailored to the needs and opportunities evidenced by Innovate UK and our Launchpad partners.

The cluster management projects for each cluster are also in start-up phase and more information on their activities will become available in due course.

Please visit our funding pages to find open opportunities, or get in touch with our expert for more information.

Bruce McLelland

Our Expert

Bruce McLelland

Read full profile

Related Opportunities

New Innovators in health technologies, West Yorkshire

Opens: 10/06/2024 Closes: 17/07/2024

UK registered small and micro businesses can apply for a share of up to £500k to grow innovation activities in the health technologies cluster in West Yorkshire.

More Information

New Innovators in digital technology, North East England

Opens: 07/05/2024 Closes: 19/06/2024

UK registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5m for projects that grow their innovation activities in the digital technology cluster in North East England.

More Information

New Innovators in immersive & creative, Coventry and Warwickshire

Opens: 07/05/2024 Closes: 19/06/2024

UK registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million for projects that grow their innovation activities in the immersive and creative industries cluster centred on Coventry and Warwickshire in the West Midlands.

More Information

New Innovators in life and health sciences, Northern Ireland

Opens: 07/05/2024 Closes: 19/06/2024

UK registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million for projects that grow their innovation activities in the life and health sciences cluster in Northern Ireland.

More Information

New Innovators in net zero industry, South West Wales

Opens: 07/05/2024 Closes: 19/06/2024

UK registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5m to grow innovation activities in net zero industry in South West Wales.

More Information

Agri-tech and food technology in Eastern England

Opens: 07/05/2024 Closes: 19/06/2024

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4.5m for business led innovation in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Eastern England.

More Information

Mid and North Wales Launchpad: Cluster Management

Opens: 10/06/2024 Closes: 10/07/2024

UK registered organisations can apply for up to £150k to develop and manage the agri-tech and food technology innovation cluster in Mid and North Wales.

More Information

New Innovators in agri-tech & food technology, Mid & North Wales

Opens: 10/06/2024 Closes: 17/07/2024

UK registered small and micro businesses can apply for a share of up to £400k for innovation activities in the agri-tech and food technology cluster in Mid and North Wales.

More Information

New Innovators in Communication Networks 2024

Opens: 01/05/2024 Closes: 12/06/2024

UK registered micro & small businesses can apply for a share of up to £500k to develop innovations within communication networks.

More Information
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