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


We provide support to companies and researchers to help you submit compelling collaborative R&D bids to major funding calls, which have the best chance of success. So far, through our Scale-Up Programme we’ve supported over 80 bids, over a third of which have been successfully awarded.

Worth up to £15k, the funded support can include commissioning a professional bid writer, project management, conference attendance and travel – as needed to prepare the most compelling bid possible.  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’ve identified some key transport-related Government funding calls, listed below, for which we can provide support. 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.

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:

Automotive Transformation Fund Expression of Interest

The Automotive Transformation Fund is a new programme that aims to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain. It offers a share of up to £1 billion of funding for industrial research and capital projects. This will be to support the industrialisation of a high-value, electrified automotive supply at scale in the UK. This is an expression of interest (EoI) competition. The Scale-Up Programme is supporting applications to the Research and Development (R&D) full stage competition strand only. If your EoI is successful, you will be invited to apply to the Research and Development (R&D) full stage competition strand at which point you may request further bid development support from the SETsquared Scale-Up Programme.

Please submit your application for support in the next round below.

Apply Now

Advanced Propulsion Centre 18 – developing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability

The APC funds propulsion technologies that will lead to a cleaner world. Specifically, this encompasses technology capable of low and zero tailpipe emissions, or demonstrates a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, including motors, batteries, power electronics, hybridisation and alternative propulsion systems.

Applications are now being invited for APC Call 18 on developing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability. Projects are sought that support the UK’s long-term capabilities through securing long-term R&D investment and can be achieved through its associated supply chain in the design, build and manufacture of zero tailpipe emission vehicles.

To be eligible for Scale-Up Programme support, projects must include one of the six university partners (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey) as a member of the project consortium.

The competition deadline is forecast to be 5 September so please submit your application for support below no later than 17:00 on 22 August.

Apply Now

Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme

The ATI works in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK to offer funding streams designed to accelerate innovation in the UK to maintain global competitiveness. The Strategic Programme offers four competitive funding batches per year. It is a comprehensive 2-stage assessment process suited to larger programmes typically accessing grants in excess of £1 million. SETsquared will support applications for the August Expression of Interest, please submit the form below.

Apply Now

Innovate UK Smart Grants: May 2021

An opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of £25million to deliver commercially viable or disruptive R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.

Competition opens:        28 May

Submission deadline:     25 August 2021 at 11:00


Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme. Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy. This includes the creative industries, science or engineering, and the arts, design and media. Projects can overlap with the grand challenge areas.

Proposals must demonstrate:

  • A clear game-changing, innovative and/or disruptive and ambitious idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • An idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • A strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
  • A clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • A team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • Awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays, etc) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions.

View the KTN Good Application Guide


Applications must include at least one SME; they can be the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner.  Projects must start no later than 1 February 2022 and end no later than 31 January 2025.

Requests for Scale-Up Programme Support:

All applications for Scale-Up support for grant submissions to be received no later than 12 noon on Wednesday 11 August.

To be eligible for Scale-Up Programme support, projects must include one of the six university partners (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey) as a member of the project consortium.

Apply Now

Application form

If you wish to apply for funding and support for the R&D opportunities shown above 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.

Membership of the Scale Up programme is open to any company pending internal review of the expression of interest raised by the company and incurs a one off charge of £150 inc. VAT. Full Membership will be offered to companies who are already part of our network and wish to 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 2020/21 the Membership Fee is £1,600 inc. VAT or for any eligible company, it can be waived under the Article 3.2(4) exemption of the Subsidy Control chapter of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("TCA"), and which requires eligible companies to complete a Statement of Previous Aid declaration.

The Scale-Up Programme is a partnership between: