Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition: Round 8

Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to SMEs for highly innovative late-stage R&D projects with the best potential for the future, and a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact. Interested? Feel free to contact us!


Competition closes: 08 March 2023, 11am

Applicants notified:  05 May 2023

Project start date & duration: 01 September 2023, up to 5 years (including both the R&D and commercialisation phases).


For innovative R&D projects at late stage of development. Projects must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes, or services. Can also include a new or innovative business model.

Proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clearly expressed and compelling innovative idea
  • a robust and deliverable business plan that addresses and evidences market potential and needs
  • a team with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time, and take the outputs forward
  • awareness of all the main risks the project and business will face, with realistic plans to manage, mitigate and minimise the impact of each of these
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money and ability to repay the loan
  • why you are unable to fund the project from your own resources or other forms of public or private-sector funding
  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion

Projects can include: prototyping; demonstrating; piloting; testing; validation.

Specific Themes

Projects must focus on one or more of the following themes or sub-themes:

  • Net Zero: energy; impact of industrial processes and use of materials; agriculture and other sources of emissions; capital intensity.
  • Health and Wellbeing: tackling ill health; enhancing wellbeing; diet, and food.
  • Next Generation Digital Technologies
  • Technology families: advanced materials and manufacturing; Artificial Intelligence; digital and advanced computing; bioinformatics and genomics; engineering biology; electronics, photonics and quantum technologies; energy and environmental technologies; robotics, and smart machines.

Projects that will not be funded

  • Projects that are dependent on export performance and/or dependent on domestic inputs usage.
  • Grant funding is not provided in this competition.


You must:

  • Be a UK registered SME. Collaborations with other organisations cannot be funded.
  • Subcontractors can be used (with justification) and preferably UK-based.
  • Carry out your project from or in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.
  • Give evidence that your business is suitable to take on a loan.
  • Subsidy Control and State Aid funding rules apply.

Innovation Loan Rates

  • Loans will be offered between £100k-£2Mn and can cover up to 100% of eligible project
  • Innovation loans will be: 1. Available for up to 3 years when the project is under way, but exploitation has not yet started (‘availability period’); 2. Extended by up to 2 years until the first commercial sales (the ‘extension period’) after the end of the availability period; 3. Repayable over a maximum of 5 years (the ‘repayment period’) after the availability and extension periods.
  • Interest rates start at 3.7%, rising to 7.4% in the final repayment period.
  • Grant equivalent: up to 45% for micro & small businesses, 35% for medium-sized businesses).

How PNO can support you

The UK team has a strong track record in securing some of the most competitive national and European grants on behalf of its clients, with a full understanding of how a project should be presented to stand the highest chance of success. Each year in the UK alone, we are responsible for the submission of more than 100 funding applications across all sectors and priority areas. Based on this extensive experience, through careful project selection and using key insight into how a project should be best positioned, we consistently achieve success rates that are more than 5 times the typical success rates for UK national schemes and EU programmes.

Contact us for further information

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