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Multiple funding & business support opportunities for SMEs
& academics in the digital sector



SETsquared is the link between world class University digital technology research teams and fast-growth start-ups and scale-ups developing breakthrough technology for the new decade. So far, through our Scale-Up Programme we’ve supported over 80 bids, over a third of which have been successfully awarded.

With up to £15k of funded support available per proposal, the team will help you to:

identify high-potential funding calls

frame your grant project proposal

commission a professional bid writer (subject to internal panel review)

project manage the consortium development and bid submission

attend conferences and travel to meet partners (where possible) to build your project consortium

For companies, we can also help link you to the considerable research expertise of the our Scale-Up Partner Universities – Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey and provide opportunities to join consortia.

We are here to help you build relationships with research institutes and write compelling funding proposals. We’ve identified some key Government funding calls, listed below, for which we can provide support. We keep this list as up to date as possible, but if you have another specific funding call you want to submit an application for, please contact us. So if you are considering a bid to any of these funding calls now is the time to apply for this support to boost your chances of success. We welcome early stage discussions to check the viability and feasibility of grant proposal ideas before you commit.

Our Scale-Up Programme provides a broad range of support to innovative, growing SMEs, if you’re not looking for support to bid for R&D funding, check out our main Scale-Up landing page to find out more.

Supported funding calls

5G enabled road and rail transport trials in the West Midlands, round 2

If you’re developing new services and products that improve road and rail operational efficiency, better-connected transport or improved traveller experience, SETsquared can support you to apply for funding through the 5G Enabled Road & Rail Transport Trials competition. Your project would need to research and validate improvements 5G can bring to your products and services, in partnership with sector organisations in the West Midlands. SETsquared can help you to establish an impressive consortium including our University partners, to increase your chances of winning grant funding up to £500k.

Apply now to engage with collaborative R&D researchers  at SETsquared partner universities and potentially receive paid-for grant writing support for your application.

Applications for funding close 11am 2 December 2020

Apply Now

SBRI competition – Modernising Energy Data Applications phase 1

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by UKRI, and sponsored by BEIS and Ofgem. The aim of the competition is to develop data applications that address the challenges faced by organisations and individuals to deliver net zero local energy systems. The data-driven applications must facilitate progress towards net zero local energy systems whilst improving people’s lives, by combining energy data with data from other sectors. The outputs should benefit the users of local energy systems and provide scalable commercial opportunities to the funded organisation. This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2.

The first phase involves research and development (R&D) contracts being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. Feasibility study R&D contracts can be up to £150,000 per project, inclusive of VAT. Projects are expected to start by 1 March 2021, end by 31 May 2021 and can last up to 3 months. Projects must build upon work with Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) competition winners. Applications should demonstrate how the open source software solutions developed under the MEDA competition can facilitate better access and interoperability of energy data for innovators, by building upon the approaches developed through the MEDA projects.

Applications for funding close at 11am on Wednesday 18 November, so please submit your application as soon as possible.

Apply Now

Robotics for a More Resilient Future: Feasibility and R&D Strands

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £6 million to support R&D projects to advance or develop solutions in service robotics for a more resilient future. The aim is to encourage R&D investment in service robotics capabilities made in the UK. Both strands are looking for robotic solutions that exploit business opportunities in areas such as, but not exclusively: healthcare; logistics, warehousing and transportation; agriculture and food production; construction; ‘general-purpose’ remote working; and robotics that can contribute towards the UK’s Net-Zero greenhouse gas commitment. Participation and engagement of end-user organisations as either funded or non-funded partners is encouraged.

For the Feasibility strand, projects must have total eligible costs between £25,000 and £100,000, start on or after 1 April 2021, and last between 3 and 12 months. For the R&D strand, projects must have total eligible costs between £75,000 and £500,000, start on or after 1 April 2021, and last between 6 and 12 months. The competition is looking to fund projects across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities, and research categories.

Applications for funding close at 11am on Friday 20 November, so please submit your application as soon as possible.

Apply Now

Application form

If you wish to apply for funding and support for the R&D opportunities shown above either to send complete the form below to join the Scale Up Programme as an associate – which is free and without commitment. Read a guide on how to make a good application


Alternatively, if you are unsure which opportunity is for you still complete the form below and we will get in touch to discuss your proposal and check it’s in scope for the support programme.

Associate membership of the Scale Up programme is open to any company who meets the criteria and is free of charge. Full Membership will be offered to companies who access the CR&D proposal development support or investment raising support services. Full membership is subject to payment by the member company of a one-off fee and Membership is valid for one year. For the year 2019/20 the Membership Fee is £1,600 ex VAT. Any eligible company can waive the fee under the De Minimis State aid regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) NO 1470/2013) (DMR) providing they have not received in excess of 200,000EUR of aid within a 3 year period . This requires eligible companies to complete a Statement of Previous Aid declaration

The Scale-Up Programme is a partnership between: