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UK Research and Innovation strength in places fund


Consortia of UK businesses and research organisations can apply for ‘seed corn’ funding of up to £50,000 to develop full applications for wave 2 of the UKRI Strength in Places Fund.

Consortia of UK businesses and publicly funded research organisations can apply for between £10million and £50m per full stage application.

Your application must build on your partners’ existing research and innovation capability and present a valid plan of new research and innovation activities. These must have a clear pathway to delivering a significant positive impact on economic growth within the defined economic geography.

All project partners should be based in the project’s geographical area and have the support of local civic leadership.

Projects must be led by either a UK-based business or a UK publicly-funded research organisation.This first competition stage is an expression of interest (EoI). Consortia will set out plans for large collaborative proposals. Following assessment, successful EoIs will be selected to receive up to £50,000 in ‘seed corn’ funding to develop a full stage proposal.

Open Date:


Close Date:


Projects must focus on any one technological area, sector or discipline. At full stage your proposal can draw on a mix of capital and revenue funding appropriate to the activities proposed.

Your project proposal should take a place-based approach to research and innovation funding. It must describe the business need that can be met by existing research strengths in your defined geographic area. Successful projects will undertake a range of research and innovation activities which must demonstrate a way to grow economic ‘clusters’ that support local economic growth.

You must outline the activities you will undertake within a full stage project proposal if successful. These can include, where appropriate:

  • Scale
  • Nature of partnerships
  • Co-investment

The fund will support geographic areas within the UK. These range from city-scale to areas that cover multiple local authorities, as well as those crossing regional and/or country boundaries. The size and scope of the area must match the economic geography of the supply chain or local industry that the proposal focuses on. You must give evidence to justify the choice of area. This geographical area should also reflect the range and choice of partners involved in the collaboration.

Innovate UK will only fund projects based on:

  • Existing research excellence and high-quality innovation capability that focus on creating opportunities for economic growth, in line with the needs of local industry
  • Activities that bring significant economic impact and regional growth, relative to the baseline economic activity for the defined or relevant geographic area

In scope activities for full proposals include:

  • Providing the capacity to commercialise ideas (such as research outputs)
  • Assessing the potential for demand for the new technology and the potential for scale up
  • Drawing in overseas research and development or business
  • Reviving underlying technologies
  • Transferring technologies between industries

The final number and size or mix of projects supported will be determined through the assessment process. UKRI reserves the right to take a portfolio approach to achieve a balanced portfolio of investments that recognises business needs.

Your full stage project’s total eligible costs must be between £10million and £50m.

Applications for full phase projects are anticipated to open in July 2020 and close in December 2020. Innovate UK will confirm the start date and duration for full phase applications closer to the time.

To lead a project your organisation must be:

  • A UK-based publicly funded research organisation (university, research institute, public sector research establishment, research council institute, Catapult or other research and technology organisation (RTO))
  • Or a UK-based business of any size

Your project must be collaborative and include at least one business and at least one research organisation in the consortium. All collaboration partners must be invited on to the application.

The lead organisation must demonstrate ability and experience in running large-scale research and innovation grant awards.

Successful projects will be subject to additional SIPF terms and conditions for this competition. These will be available from July.

Proposals that were unsuccessful in the wave 1 expression of interest are eligible for resubmission in this EoI. You must:

  • Have acted on all feedback
  • Declare that your proposal is a resubmission

Innovate UK will not fund projects that cover:

  • New national infrastructure that would be supported through other UK Research and Innovation programmes, such as new Catapult centres
  • Regional activity that recreates existing national programmes at regional level, and therefore duplicates funding through other UK Research and Innovation programmes, such as the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF)
  • Outreach programmes which aim to transfer local expertise to other regions outside of the consortium’s geography

Consortia are invited to express an interest in submitting a full stage project to be funded between £10million and £50m.

Innovate UK expect full stage projects requesting funding at the higher end of the scale to be exceptions. Your application must display a suitably large economic impact.

The lead organisation must allocate funds to partners in line with a collaboration agreement.

Consortia must be prepared at full stage to describe how all activities are in line with state aid rules. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid. Innovate UK are not authorised to provide advice on state aid, if you are unsure please take legal advice.

At the EoI phase, if the lead organisation is a non-profit distributing research organisation it will be eligible for up to 100% of the £50,000 seed corn award.

Research organisations engaged in economic activity as part of the project will be treated as business enterprises for the purposes of funding.

You should make sure that your approach to costing your proposal is clear and transparent. Research organisations should follow the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) principles. Proposals do not have to be costed on the basis of any stated full economic costing (FEC) rate or percentage of that. In determining the costing approach used, organisations should consider the financial sustainability of the activities being undertaken.

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.