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Multiple funding & business support opportunities for SMEs
& academics in the area of sustainable innovation



With the recent publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of global warming on health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth, the pressing need to act to create real solutions has never been so clear.

Current UK Government policy supports the objectives of the COP26 UN Climate change conference, and its sustainability policy commitments are predicted to increase. As such a number of new sustainability-related funding opportunities are likely to arise in the coming months.

Anticipating the announcement of these opportunities, we are inviting companies developing innovative sustainable technologies, researchers (from the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey) and consortia (comprised of companies & researchers) to apply for support to develop R&D proposals for funding calls.

In order to support you to submit the most compelling bid possible with the best chance of success, we can provide the following:

  • if you are a business and don’t already have an academic partner, we can help identify the missing expertise to deliver a successful project by linking you with considerable research expertise of our Partner Universities to form a partnership to collaborate on the bid
  • a wealth of expertise and experience of crafting bids for major funding calls – we can review your bid, identify gaps and make suggestions for improvements – essentially acting as a ‘critical friend’
  • professional bid consultant’s time can be allocated to improve the bid.

We’ve identified some key 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.

SETsquared Scale-Up University Expertise Connected to the Sustainable Innovation Sector

Supported funding calls

UK-South Korea Collaborative R&D

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £2 million in innovation projects in partnership with the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT).

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects focused on industrial research. Proposals must include at least one partner from the UK and one partner from South Korea.

Project must focus on one or more of the following sectors: (1) advanced manufacturing and materials; (2) artificial intelligence; (3) clean energy, specifically battery technologies, hydrogen mobility technologies, and future vehicles.

Funded projects are expected to result in a new product, industrial process or service, be innovative, involve a technological risk, and have high market potential in the participating countries.

Applicants can apply for a maximum grant of up to £350,000 for a project, and projects must start by 1 November 2022 and end by 31 October 2025, last between 24 and 36 months, the majority of the work carried out in the UK, and the results exploited from or in the UK.

Applications for funding close at 11am on 6 July 2022 so please submit your application for support below.

Canada-UK Net Zero Value Chains – Transportation

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to invest a total of up to £4 million in innovation projects. These will enable transition to net zero for the automotive, rail, or maritime transportation sectors.

The aim of this competition is to foster and support collaborative research and development (CR&D) through Canadian and UK partnerships. The joint Canadian and UK project must focus on innovations that enable transition to net zero transportation, for the automotive, rail, or maritime sectors. Proposed project can address on-vehicle, including locomotives, or on-vessel technologies, processes, or technology-based services.

This competition covers 4 themes in net zero on-vehicle or on-vessel technologies: 1. Low and zero emission propulsion; 2. Advanced sustainable materials and manufacturing; 3. Highly disruptive technologies; 4. Assistive technologies and control systems.

This competition closes at 5pm UK time (which is 9am PDT and 12pm EDT) on 29 June 2022, so please submit your application for support below.

Net Zero Hydrogen Fund – Strand 1 Development Expenditure (DEVEX)

This competition will support development expenditure (DEVEX) costs for front end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED studies. The aim is to build the pipeline of hydrogen production projects and measurably move them closer to deployment. This competition supports multiple hydrogen production pathways.

Proposals must demonstrate how you will develop a credible project that will contribute to the at-scale production of low carbon hydrogen by 2025. Funded projects must support the delivery towards the 10GW production target by 2030 set out in the Energy Security Strategy.

A project must have a total grant request between £80,000 and £15 million, start by 1 January 2023, end by end by 31 March 2024, and last between 6 and 15 months.

Applications for funding close at 11am on 22 June 2022 so please submit your application for support below.

Net Zero Hydrogen Fund – Strand 2 – Capital expenditure (CAPEX)

This competition will provide capital expenditure (CAPEX) to support low carbon projects to take a Final Investment Decision (FID) and begin deployment in the early 2020s. Your project must not require support from a hydrogen business model (these projects are covered in Strands 3 and 4 of the NZHF). This competition supports multiple hydrogen production pathways.

Projects must address low carbon hydrogen production opportunities and must focus on the construction of new low carbon hydrogen production facilities. Credible projects are expected to utilise one of the following hydrogen production types:

  • electrolysis
  • methane reforming
  • gasification

A project must have a total grant request between £200,000 and £30 million, start by 1 January 2023, end by end by 31 March 2025, and last between 6 and 27 months.

Applications for funding close at 11am on 6 July 2022 so please submit your application for support below.

Farming Innovation Programme – large R&D partnership projects

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will work with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to invest up to £8 million in innovation projects. This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.

The aim of this competition is to drive the development and demonstration of solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability; help the sector mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change; ensure solutions deliver positive benefits for England’s farmers, growers, or foresters in commercially relevant situations; accelerate research development and demonstration of new agricultural solutions by driving collaboration through active engagement of end users and the wider UK research community in the innovation process; and enable adoption by demonstrating knowledge exchange to the wider sector and other stakeholders.

Projects must have total costs between £3 million and £5 million, start by 1 February 2023, end by 31 January 2027, last up to 48 months, and have a minimum of 50% of any grant requested by farmers, growers or foresters, allocated to farmers, growers or foresters based in England.

Applications for funding close at 11am on 29 June 2022 so please submit your application for support below.

Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition – Round 3

Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Loans are for highly innovative late-stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Projects must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. They can also involve a new or innovative business model. The SETsquared Scale-Up Programme is only supporting applications that include at least one of our partner universities (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton or Surrey) in the application.

Applicants can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million to fund the project’s eligible costs. Projects can last up to 5 years, including both the R&D and commercialisation phases. Projects are expected to start by July 2022.

The funding available will be allocated across a series of competitions with the next round opening on the day the previous round closes. The final round 4 will close on 13 July 2022.

Please submit your application for support as far in advance of the final round deadline in July.

Sustainable Innovation Expression of Interest

If you wish to apply for funding and support for the R&D opportunities shown above complete the form below. Read a guide on how to make a good application   


To access these services you will need to join the Scale-Up Programme, please visit our members benefits page to see the support available.

Sustainable Innovation Expression of Interest

    You can choose multiple options.
  • If known
  • We suggest that your summary should cover the market opportunity for the proposed project, your/your collaborators’ approach, what outcomes you anticipate, and project finance. But remember to keep it short & succinct. The purpose of the project summary is to help SETsquared evaluate the project for funding support to further develop the project – it’s unlikely that a project would have the full answers to all of these questions at this stage. (please see project summary guidance) If your project is not fully-formed at the moment, we welcome expressions of interest for future campaigns, just indicate this on the form.

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: