A range of funding opportunities and competitions are available through Invest NI, Innovate UK, the Small Business Research Initiative and Horizon 2020.

Invest NI

Invest NI Innovation Vouchers
What could a £5,000 Innovation Voucher do for your business? An Innovation Voucher provides funding to small and medium sized businesses to work with an expert Knowledge Provider from a university, college or other public sector research body bringing new knowledge to help businesses innovate, develop and grow. Find out more >>

Innovation, research and development grants
Invest NI can offer funding support to eligible businesses looking to plan or undertake R&D projects. The funding can help you to plan, develop and test your ideas; build and test a prototype; create and refine your concept design; and secure intellectual property.  Find out more >>


Innovate UK and UKRI funding

£30m 5G Create Testbeds and Trials
Up to £30m of funding is available to explore and develop new use cases and sustainable business models for 5G applications and services. This funding competition is open to all sectors, including Creative Industries, Utilities, Health and Social Care and Logistics. DCMS is holding a briefing event in Belfast on 31 March 2020 at The Mac. Find out more >>

£98m Healthy Ageing Challenge 
As part of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Healthy Ageing Challenge asks industry and researchers to develop products and services to support an ageing society. Up to £98 million will be invested in research and innovation that supports people as they age. Over the coming years, there will be a series of opportunities for UK-based businesses and researchers. Find out more >>

ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: feasibility studies (Closing date: 26 February 2020)
Apply for between £75,000 and £250,000 to test the feasibility of solutions that can transform food production and help the industry move towards net zero emissions by 2040. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Find out more >>

ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: demonstration (Closing date: 26 February 2020)
Apply for between £400,000 and £4 million to demonstrate solutions that can transform food production and help the industry move towards net zero emissions by 2040. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Find out more >>

UK-Israel open collaborative R&D competition 2019 (Closing date: 26 February 2020)
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million to develop innovative technologies targeting global markets in partnership with Israeli companies. Find out more >>

APC 15: developing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability (Closing date: 4 March 2020)
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million for UK-developed late stage R&D, to support growth in advanced low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector. Find out more >>

Cyber security academic startup accelerator programme year 4: phase 1 (Closing date: 4 March 2020)
Individuals based in a UK academic institution can apply for a share of £800,000 to join the cyber security academic startup accelerator programme (CyberASAP). Find out more >>

ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: feasibility studies and industrial research (Closing date: 1 April 2020)
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million for early-stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Find out more >>

Demonstrators addressing cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things (Closing date: 15 April 2020)
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative R&D projects addressing major cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things. Find out more >>

Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020 (Closing date: 22 April 2020)
Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy. Find out more >>

UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability (Closing date: 20 May 2020)
UK businesses with Canadian business partners can apply for a share of up to £2 million, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for innovative projects that enhance productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems. Find out more >>


SBRI funding competitions

The Small Business Research Initiative supports a range of competitions with public sector organisations and departments.

SBRI rail demonstrations: first of a kind 2020 (Closing date: 11 March 2020)
Businesses from the UK, EU or EEA can apply for a share of up to £9.4 million, including VAT, to develop demonstrators for sustainability, customer experience, operations or maintenance. Find out more >>


Horizon 2020 funding

There are also opportunities for funding through the Horizon 2020 programme which focuses on European projects in research and innovation.


More information

Find out more about funding opportunities on the Innovate UK website, Invest NI website and NI Business Info website.

If your business is located within the Belfast City Council area, you can also receive support and advice from the council’s Economic Development Team at belfastcity.gov.uk/business.