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 >>


Future Screens NI

Future Screens Open Calls are targeted towards funding co-created collaborative partnerships between industry and academic research partners at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. Applications are welcome across the full spectrum of the creative industries undertaking research and development across new, immersive and emerging technologies.

There are two funding streams available for this current call:

  • Proof of concept – up to £20,000
    Future Screens NI Proof of Concept Funding is directed towards addressing research and development led challenges at the earliest stage of marketable product development.
  • Pre-commercialisation – up to £50,000
    Future Screens NI Commercialisation Funding is directed towards research and development led product development which is ready for market, with the overall aim of realising commercial potential through the stimulation of commercial outcomes with impact.

For more information, visit www.futurescreens.org/funding.


Innovate UK and UKRI funding

View the full list of funding opportunities on the Innovate UK and UKRI websites.

Automotive Transformation Fund (Closing date: 14 October 2020)
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 billion for capital investment and R&D projects that help industrialise the electrified automotive supply chain at scale in the UK. Find out more >>

Women in Innovation Awards (Closing date: 14 October 2020)
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is offering 10 Women in Innovation Awards to female entrepreneurs across the UK. The winners will receive a £50,000 grant and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support. Find out more >>

APC17: Developing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability (Closing date: 14 October 2020)
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £27 million for UK-developed late stage R&D, to support growth in advanced low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector. Find out more >>

Agri-tech catalyst: Agriculture and food systems (Closing date: 21 October 2020)
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to work on agri-tech and food chain innovations in Africa. Find out more >> 

ATI Programme (Closing date: 21 October 2020)
The ATI Programme funds industrial research and investment aid for research infrastructures to make the UK civil aerospace sector more competitive. Find out more >>

Knowledge transfer partnerships (Closing date: 28 October 2020)
UK registered higher or further education institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £10 million to help fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profit organisations. Find out more >>

IETF industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation studies (Closing date: 28 October 2020)
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £30 million for grants to carry out feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation. Find out more >>

Innovation continuity loans (Closing date: 4 November 2020)
Innovate UK can provide additional COVID-19 innovation continuity loans for the continuation of planned or existing innovation activity. Find out more >>

Healthy Ageing: Investor Partnership Programme (Closing date: 4 November 2020)
Investors can apply to partner with Innovate UK to align their investments with up to £12 million grant funding in UK registered SMEs delivering innovation in the healthy ageing market. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Find out more >>

Innovate UK Smart Grants (Closing date: 25 November 2020)
Opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. Find out more >>

5G enabled road and rail transport trials in the West Midlands (Closing date: 2 December 2020)
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to support development of 5G enabled transport innovations. This funding is from West Midlands 5G (WM5G). Find out more >>

Faraday Battery Challenge (Closing date: 9 December 2020)
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million in grant funding for innovation in electric vehicle battery technology. Find out more >>

UKRI Funding – Ideas that address COVID-19 
Proposals are invited for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. 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 >>


SBRI funding competitions

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

Using geospatial data to solve transport challenges (Closing date: 4 November 2020)
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million to develop feasibility studies to identify innovative geospatial solutions to current transport challenges and enable the future of mobility. Find out more >>

ISCF Transforming foundation industries: Building a resilient recovery (Closing date: 4 November 2020)
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of £8 million in grant funding for projects supporting recovery and growth of the UK’s foundation industries. Find out more >>

Sort and segregate nuclear waste (Closing date: 11 November 2020)
Organisations can apply for a share of £3.9 million to develop an autonomous, integrated toolkit to sort and segregate nuclear waste. Find out more >>

Modernising Energy Data Applications (Closing date: 18 November 2020)
Organisations can apply for a share of £750,000 to develop data applications that help to address core challenges faced in the UK. Find out more >>

Next generation home vision testing (Closing date: 18 November 2020)
Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000 to develop remotely deployed vision testing. 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.