Businesses in the UK can apply for a share of £6.5 million to work with world-leading organisations on solutions to analysis/measurement problems.
IUK has allocated up to £3 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. IUK’s partner organisations will contribute up to £3.5 million, making a total of £6.5 million. Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. There are two streams for funding:
Stream 1: For eligible project costs to be up to £50,000 in total for both the applicant and the funding partner, the awardee can receive 100% funding under the de minimis scheme
Stream 2: For eligible project costs to be £50,000 or above in total for both the applicant and the funding partner, the awardee can receive funding for a percentage of the total costs. Stream 2 funding also applies where the applicant expects eligible projects costs to be under £50,000 but where they are not eligible for funding under the de minimus scheme.
The rules for this funding stream are different from other IUK collaborative competitions. Applicants can receive funding for a percentage of both their costs and the costs of the expertise from funding partners, but they must pay the remainder themselves; both their own costs and those of their funding partners.
IUK expects projects to last 3 to 11 months, ranging in size from total costs of £50,000 to £250,000, depending on the type of project. IUK may consider larger projects but applicants should discuss this with IUK before making an application.
The Analysis for Innovators Funding Competition will invest in innovation projects designed to improve business performance and productivity through the use of advanced analytical technologies. The aim of this two-stage competition is to help companies overcome intractable product or process performance problems through advanced analytical technologies. The ultimate aim is to improve companies’ overall performance and productivity.
IUK is looking to fund projects that can show the negative business impact of an existing process or product variability.
Examples of the types of business problems include, but are not limited to:
- poorly understood structure and properties of emerging technology products where the business impact is high;
- undesirable variation in product or process performance, where the root cause is not understood, but the negative business impact is high;
- repeated unexplained product failures;
- lack of precision in composition measurement or flow of multi-component systems, or processes; and
- lack of detailed understanding of structure, mechanism or function, preventing further product enhancements.
In this competition, IUK cannot fund projects where the business problem could be solved using techniques that are widely available through commercial service companies. Examples include:
- Established measurement services, such as materials or environmental testing and calibration services.
- Mainstream technologies based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), ultra-violet (UV) and gas chromatography (GC).
To lead a project, an applicant must:
- be a UK-based business of any size;
- carry out the project in the UK;
- work with one of IUK’s four partner organisations (STFC, NPL, LGC or NEL) in stage 2.
A company may apply alone, but the project will involve collaborating with one of the four co-funding partners to solve the business challenge.
The percentage of total project costs (including costs of partner expertise) that IUK pays varies but applicants could receive:
- up to 70% for a small business;
- up to 60% for a medium-sized business;
- up to 50% for a large business.
IUK is primarily seeking to fund industrial research or feasibility studies.
Examples of technologies that could be made available under the scheme include, but are not limited to:
- Ultra-sensitive elemental and chemical structure analysis techniques.
- Dimensional measurement of complex or miniaturised parts.
- Non-destructive inspection technologies and engineering measurements.
- Ultra-trace nucleic acid detection technologies.
- Next generation sequencing technologies.
- Advanced hyphenated mass spectrometry tools and techniques.
- Ultra-precise flow measurement of complex fluids.
- Advanced imaging tools and techniques.
- Analysis and modelling requiring novel sequential or parallel processing approaches.
- Environmental measurements.
- Electromagnetic technologies.
- Other technologies, as recommended by an expert panel.
Stage 1 applications must specify the nature of the business problem, and the value of overcoming it. A panel will assess the applications and according to the value of the solution, should it be achieved, and how the partners could help.
Successful applicants at stage 1 must attend mandatory consortium-building events. These allow companies to meet funding partners and discuss the precise nature of the business problem. This will enable applicants to identify the best approaches to solving the problem and develop collaborative project proposals for stage 2. Companies will work with partners to work out costs, resources and plans for a project proposal and grant funding levels.
An independent panel will assess the proposals resulting from this process in stage 2. IUK will then select the projects to fund, to build a portfolio of projects as described in the guidance for applicants.