Summer 2020 Funding Landscape

At NBIC, we feel it’s important for us to keep you informed of the latest funding awards, grants and

competitions to support you in the progression of your research or developments.


Together with our partner Black Kite® Ltd, we have put together some key current opportunities that specifically link to our four Strategic Themes: Prevent, Detect, Manage, and Engineer (PDME). For further information, including advice and guidance on bidding into competitions, please contact us at 

Funding available from UKRI: Research England (RE)


  • This briefing we focus on a relatively New UKRI council funding HEIs for both Research and Knowledge Exchange  in England.

  • They have a £900 m UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and also administer the HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund) a critical fund for all universities.

For more information on all of the available funding below, please visit the UKRI website.

UK Research Partnership Initiative Fund (UKRPIF)

  • Capital funding to research centres and universities under a double-match funding scheme: institution must raise £2 of co-investment from outside sources for every £1 grant awarded.
  • Only half the projects (£210 m worth in 54 projects) allocated.
  • Fund not currently open; open dates will be published on the UKRI website.

Research England Development (RED) Fund

  • Ongoing application & approval process.
  • Panel dates: July, then Oct 2020.
  • Expectation that applications are prepared in collaboration with RE.
  • Possible for industry to partner with an HEI to apply an advanced research technology.
  • Eight current projects: ~£22.7 m; avg ~£3 m (excluding low value outlier).
  • Straight-forward application process; alignment to the fund’s key priorities should be evident.
  • Non-competitive fund; apply any time.
  • Relevant to all NBIC themes as long as a net public benefit will be delivered; collaboration is welcomed.

Research Capital Investment Fund

  • For research groups to maintain or improve physical premises or infrastructure.
  • Minimal information currently available.
  • Not obvious whether the fund is currently open.

International Investment Initiative (I3) Fund

  • Supports existing international collaborations between UK HEIs and international institutions.
  • Current funded projects appear biased towards health and partnering with Australian HEIs.
  • Closed for submissions in 2019; no future rounds are in place as yet.

Connecting Capability Fund (CCF)

  • Supports partnerships between HE, businesses and investors as well as some Catapults.
  • Fund currently closed, and no plans at present for a future round of funding.

Museum, Galleries and Collections Fund

  • Support for university museums, galleries and collections.
  • Ongoing for existing identified recipients.

Global Challenges Research Fund

  • Supports research that addresses challenges faced by developing countries.
  • Only accessible to HEIs that have submitted QR (Quality Research) GCRF (ODA compliant) strategies.

Open call for research and innovation ideas to address Covid-19

UK Research and Innovation will support proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following: new research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, Covid-19; supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential; gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use. 

There is no closing date and proposals can be submitted at any time. NBIC partners with concepts and technologies relating to human safety, disinfection and detection/diagnosis may find this worth considering. Again this is a simple, one step process and response rates are good to proposals (within 10 days!)

Innovate UK funding


The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

A KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership. A number of NBIC partners have achieved success via this route if it sounds interesting to you let us know, we could put you in touch with someone who used or is currently using this approach. The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration.

The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business. They are great at allowing knowledge translation from academia into business, developing future employees and driving close contact with an academic / university who you may wish to work further with and access. A new round opens on 16 July 2020 and closes 7 October 2020

For more information visit the KTN website. 

Sustainable Innovation Fund

An opportunity has been opened as part of Innovate UK‘s £191m Sustainable Innovation Fund, a fund to help all sectors of the UK recover, grow and create new opportunities from the aftermath of the global health pandemic.

Sustainable Innovation Fund Round 1 (temporary framework) – an investment of up to £55m to fund single and collaborative research and development projects. Closes on 29 July 2020. 

This is a one-step application process with a wide scope. Your proposal must show evidence of key challenges as a direct consequence of COVID-19, and how your project can help solve them and be business led involving at least one SME (but need not be led by them).