Call for Funding Competition: Business-led Innovation in Response to Global Disruption (de minimis)



Deadline: Friday 17 April 2020 12:00pm



Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects.

The aim of this competition is to support UK businesses to focus on emerging or increasing needs of society and industries during and following the Covid-19 pandemic. By fast-tracking innovation, the UK will be better placed to maintain employment levels, a competitive position in global markets and make the UK more resilient to similar disruption.

Your application must demonstrate both realistic and significant benefits for society (including communities, families and individuals) or an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Your proposal must focus on a clear need and the proposed innovation to address it. You must have the ability to deliver the project during the working restrictions of Covid-19 pandemic.

You can claim 100% of your project costs up to the maximum of £50,000. These will be paid in advance of the project start date.

We intend to monitor and review projects during implementation with a view to providing follow-on funding and support for those with the most potential for impact.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £25,000 and £50,000.

Who can apply

De minimis

The funding will be made as a de minimis grant. All applicants applying for a de minimis award must complete a de minimis declaration and provide it to Innovate UK as part of the application. This declares any and all de minimis awards, from any source of public funding, during the current and previous 2 fiscal years. Any applications that exceed the de minimis limit will be considered ineligible.

We will monitor and review projects during implementation with a view to providing follow on funding and support where projects have the potential to provide real impact.

Whilst the intent of this grant is to focus on innovation in the face of global disruption, the de minimis aid itself cannot be used for direct export-related activities (except attendance at trade fairs) or aid favouring domestic goods over imports; this does not prohibit you from exporting your innovation post-project completion.

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £25,000 and £50,000
  • be able to start by 1st June 2020 at the latest
  • be no longer than 6 months in duration

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to deliver the proposed outcomes for UK domestic or global benefit

Sole traders are not eligible to apply for this competition.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. We would expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. 

Multiple applications

Any one business can apply for this competition with up to 2 applications. However, we will only award grant funding to up to 1 project per business.

Previous applications


You cannot use a resubmission to apply for this competition. Any application to this competition identified as a submission to a previous competition (i.e. a resubmission) will be deemed ineligible.

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole organisation and were awarded funding by Innovate UK or UK Research and Innovation, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit the innovation/outputs, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. Our decision on this will be final. 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 3 team members, and communicate it to you in writing

Previous projects

If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an Independent Accountant’s Report (IAR) on a previous project, we will not award funding to you in this or any other competition until we have received the documents.


We have allocated up to £20 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Each organisation can apply for up to £50,000 within de minimis limits.

You can claim 100% of your project costs up to the maximum of £50,000. These will be paid in advance of the project start date.

De minimis

To minimise distortion of competition, the European Commission sets limits on how much assistance can be given without its prior approval to organisations operating in a competitive market. There is a ceiling of €200,000 for all de minimis aid provided to any one organisation over a 3 fiscal year period.

You need to declare any de minimis aid awarded to any public funding body that requests it. You must also keep all documentation associated with the award for 10 years from the date the award is granted.

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