The last few months have seen the UK government announce a number of funding and support packages aimed at helping innovative firms through the Covid-19 pandemic. We have reported on a number of these schemes in recent weeks, including the recently announced Automotive Transformation Fund.
A further recently announced fund is the Sustainable Innovation Fund, which is a fund of almost £200 million to help UK companies recover from the impact of Covid-19. The stated aim of the fund is to support “companies across all parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive”.
This fund is delivered through two separate funding competitions administered by Innovate UK, both of which direct funding towards R&D projects providing “sustainable” solutions that will help the UK recover and grow post Covid-19. The first, which closes on 29 July 2020, is directed more specifically to UK based SMEs (in order to be eligible for funding, a project needs to involve at least one SME), while the second, closing on 5 August 2020, provides funding for UK project leaders. As a result, each competition has its own scope and specific eligibility criteria, which can be reviewed by following the link to each competition provided above.
Examples of suitably “sustainable” project themes are decarbonisation, biodiversity, and climate change and environmental sustainability (which presumably includes projects involving renewable energy such as solar and wind energy generation), but also themes such as geographic or regionally targeted innovation and innovation aimed at commercial or residential users. Thus, the scope of the fund seems to be defined broadly, and will likely cover a large number of projects (provided they meet the eligibility criteria).
This fund forms part of a wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced by the UK government in April. The broad aim of this funding drive is to promote UK based innovation by helping UK businesses involved in technology and R&D projects grow as the Covid-19 disruption dies down.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.