General guidance - Innovate UK


Updates to general guidance

This guidance was first published on 22 October 2014 and last updated on 23 November 2023.

23 November 2023

Added in new wording in Accessibility and Inclusion section and what constitutes a UK registered business.

31 March 2021

Replacing State Aid section with Subsidy Control section (including subheadings.) Added disclaimer.

26 February 2021

Replaced Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) with Innovate UK EDGE.

22 September 2020

Edited the ‘Before you start an application’ section to explain:
– how previous projects may affect a new application
– when an application will not be sent for assessment
– how to contact us

27 May 2020

We have combined the information about the programmes of funding Innovate UK offers with our general guidance for applicants. We have also added or improved guidance on anti-harassment, applying through the Innovation Funding Service, accessibility needs, third sector organisations, the assessment process, the Enterprise Europe Network, claims and auditing, the transition period for the UK leaving the EU, state aid and de minimis.

18 February 2019

Updated information to include Innovate UK Smart grants, the new name for the Open programme, and linked to the guidance page:

16 August 2018

Added information on the Biomedical Catalyst and Energy Catalyst and links to guidance with more information on these funding programmes.

12 June 2018

Updated the types of funding opportunities that are available to UK businesses to include the innovation loans and investment accelerator pilot programmes. Changed the focus to reflect Innovate UK’s reorganisation towards ‘open’ and challenge-themed opportunities. Slightly edited the subheadings to better reflect the user journey in applying for funding.

18 May 2017

Added the ATI competition under ‘Other funding opportunities for businesses’.

9 May 2017

Updated sections for general guidance for applicants and project costs guidance.

8 May 2017

Defined and added links to the relevant sections in the guidance for applicants. Added links to the Innovation Funding Service, project cost guidance and all European funding opportunities. Removed section on how to register and what happens after you apply as this is covered in the general guidance for applicants.

6 May 2016

Duplication of information which is contained in guidance for applicants.

6 May 2016

Link and information on project costs guidance for Innovate UK.

22 April 2016

Changes made on ‘How to apply for an innovation grant’. Eligibility rules now vary with each competition. Updated guide on what happens if you are successful. We no longer hold new project workshops.

7 April 2016

Innovate UK has simplified the way it offers funding opportunities. Our competitions now come under one of 4 sector groups or are ‘open’ to any idea.

The Innovate UK open programme invites applications for any cutting-edge innovative idea regardless of industry or sector. This competition covers applications that may previously have been made into Innovate UK’s Smart programme (which is no longer available in its previous form).

All Innovate UK funding competitions will continue to be published on the Innovate UK website with news announcements when they are opening for applications.

4 February 2016

Removed out of date references to 2014-15 action plans.

Clarified information on Innovation Vouchers and Smart. These are not open all the time but have opening and closing dates for applications.

1 December 2015

Removed information about SME support as this is now closed for new applicants

21 April 2015

Factual update to funding offered all the time to any business

27 January 2015

New videos to find out about our funding rules and application process.

18 December 2014

Added content about our new SME growth support.

22 October 2014

First published.

Last updated: 5 January 2024

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