General guidance - Innovate UK


Before you start an application

Read our guidance on what to do before you start an application (PDF, 706KB).

You must read the full eligibility, scope and guidance for the competition you wish to apply into.

We strongly advise that you also attend the online or otherwise stated, applicant briefing event. We will provide all information relating to the competition and aim to answer any questions from you.

If you are unable to attend the briefing event, a video link will be made available for you to view after. The competition guidance documents include all information about how to complete the application and what you need to include.

Submitting your application

Most of our competitions close at 11:00am UK time, but full details are always found in the specific guidance for each competition on the Innovation funding Service. We cannot guarantee other government or third party sites will always show the correct competition information.

We strongly advise that you get your application reviewed by a member of your team and you do not leave it until the last minute to submit your application.

Any technical difficulties when submitting your application caused by your own circumstances, such as poor internet connection, will not be considered for an extension.

The application automatically closes on the deadline and we will not discuss any late submissions.

Previous applications

You can make a maximum of two submissions to Innovate UK with any given proposal. If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be counted towards this maximum.

If your application goes through to assessment and is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more.

Your previous projects

Before you start your application you must make sure that any previous projects have fully complied with the awards terms and conditions.

A previous project is defined as one where the research and development work has been completed and the final reports have been submitted.

You are still able to apply for a competition if you are currently involved in a live project and the competition allows.

If you have been awarded funding by Innovate UK or UK Research and Innovation in a previous competition, as the lead or sole organisation, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, your organisation will not be awarded any more funding by us.

You will not be able to contest our decision.

We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by three team members, and communicate it to you in writing

Under the terms of Innovate UK funding, you must submit either a statement of expenditure (SoE) or an independent accountant’s report (IAR) with your final grant claim.

Any partners with individual total eligible project costs above £50,000 must provide evidence with an IAR.

If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an SoE or IAR on a previous project, we will not award funding to you in any other competition until we have received the documents.

Application form

We will not send your application for assessment:

  • if you:
    • deliberately increase word count using punctuation
    • use unprofessional, aggressive or threatening language
    • submit with a notable lack of content
    • apply with no clear innovation
  • if it is the same as, or very similar to, an application or project:
    • that is receiving or has received funding
    • that has already been submitted for assessment in two competitions
  • if you are resubmitting an application or project to a competition that does not allow a previously submitted application
  • if your application does not meet the competition eligibility criteria or scope

If you are submitting a new application and are unsuccessful, you can only resubmit an updated application into one future competition that allows you to resubmit.

You can improve your application based on the assessors’ feedback and the scope of the competition. Addressing assessor feedback in a previously submitted application does not guarantee a higher score.

Last updated: 12 July 2024

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