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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:

Faraday Battery Challenge

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has announced two new battery technology funding competitions.

The Innovation R&D, Round 4 competition is for larger, more advanced projects between £300k and £1.5m total value. This is the right competition for research and development of electric vehicle battery technology, building on previous feasibility studies, collaborative R&D or non-funded R&D activity. Small organisations will receive up to 70% funding for industrial research and 45% funding for near-to-the-market experimental development. Potential uses of your technology can be outside automotive, including off-highway, marine, aerospace, defence and rail applications.

The Innovation Feasibility Studies, Round 4 competition is for smaller (£100k – £1m) projects which are earlier stage in the R&D lifecycle, where a 12 month feasibility study can potentially validate a high potential technology approach.

If you would like to discuss partnering with one or more SETsquared Universities for the Faraday Battery Challenge, contact Chris Pett or apply below.

Watch the webinar briefing

Deadline to apply for funding: 2 December

Apply Now

Innovate UK Smart Grants: November 2020

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:        26th November

Online briefing event:    4th December

Submission deadline:     20th January 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 1st July 2021 and end no later than 31st July 2024.

Requests for Scale-Up Programme Support:

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

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

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 November Expression of Interest, please submit the form below.

Apply Now

ATI Programme: R&D funding for smaller business, expression of interest, Autumn 2020

Up to £8 million is allocated from the ATI Programme for SMEs to deliver world-leading aerospace technologies in the UK. The aim of this competition is to help SME’s to develop and encourage technological innovation within the civil aerospace sector, which can be exploited in the next 5 years.

This phase is for expressions of interest. The full stage competition will open on 1 March 2021. Only successful applications from the expression of interest competition will be invited to apply for the full stage competition. Successful applications from this competition will be reviewed alongside the successful full stage applications.

Projects must have total eligible costs between £300,000 and £1.5 million, start no later than 1 September 2021, last between 12 and 36 months, involve an SME, have a creditable route to market, identify end-users, and address the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, “Accelerating Ambition”. The competition is looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Applications for funding close on 6 January, so please submit your application as soon as possible.

Apply Now

Automotive Transformation Fund Programme

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.

Apply Now

Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)

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.

Apply Now

Application form

Please complete the form below if you wish to apply for funding and support for the R&D opportunities shown above.


Unsure which opportunity is for you? Still complete the form below and we will get in touch to discuss the best fit for your business or research.

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: