To make it easier to navigate the funding landscape, KTN have pulled together the latest open relevant funding calls for the manufacturing and materials sectors into one place.  Find out more details about each below, or if you wish to find out more about further funding opportunities then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Manufacturing and Materials teams. Last updated: 15th April 2021.


IETF energy efficiency and decarbonisation, Spring 2021

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £40 million to carry out feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation technologies for industrial processes, and to improve the energy efficiency of industrial processes, reducing energy bills and cutting carbon emissions.

You must be an industrial business of any size to apply. You can apply on your own or in collaboration with other organisations. Your project must take place at a manufacturing site or data centre in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and be led by the operator of that site.

Two strands are available, both closing on 14th July 2021:

  • energy efficiency and decarbonisation feasibility and engineering studies: £30k-£14m grant per project – click here for details
  • deployment of energy efficiency technologies: £100k-£14m grant per project – click here for details

Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2021

Opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. Project costs £25k-£2m. Apply by Wed 26th May 2021.

Click here for full details.


Digital Catalyst

An initiative by Autodesk’s “Future of British Manufacturing” program, the Digital Catalyst matches SMEs with a digital manufacturing specialist from a leading university to run potential digital transformation projects. The projects need to impact the way you design or make your products and you need to be a UK based design or manufacturing business. This is an ongoing program with no specific deadline. For more information, click here.


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration ‚Äì between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Applications are open all year round, with the next deadline on 30th June 2021.

Read more

Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

These are now applied for in the same way as KTPs, with the funding for mKTPs being drawn from a dedicated pool.

Read more



Henry Royce Institute: SME Equipment Access Scheme

The Royce SME Equipment Access Scheme (formerly the Materials Accelerator Token Scheme) is open to UK-based SMEs, spin-outs and start-ups and offers subsidised facilities access, perfect for businesses seeking solutions to materials analysis obstacles.

The scheme is designed to:

  • overcome cost barriers and derisk experimental materials-based R&D
  • help pave the way for future collaborations with Royce

Read more


Driving the Electric Revolution: Supply Chains for Net Zero

Registration Closes 30/06/21

ISCF will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £22 million in innovation projects. These will be to support the government’s green industrial revolution in transport, energy and industrial sectors.

Your proposal must help the UK to achieve the objectives of the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge and have a significant impact on the PEMD supply chain in the UK to support the UK’s drive towards net zero.

Your project must:

  • start by 1 February 2022
  • end by 31 January 2025
  • last between 18 and 36 months
  • have total eligible costs between £500,000 and £5 million

Read more


ISCF Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging: Business-led Research & Development (BLR&D)

Opens in 2021 – £8m fund – grants between £200k and £4m
For Research and Development Projects which are Business-Led.

All projects must:
• support the UK to deliver one or more of the UK Plastic Pact targets
• clearly explain how they would reduce the UK plastic packaging system’s overall environmental impact

The launch for this has been postponed – click here for more details.


Smarter Choices

Smarter Choices forms part of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme. It has been awarded funding through the Boosting Access for SMEs to Energy Efficiency (BASEE) competition which offers up to £6 million of funding for innovative solutions that reduce transaction costs and encourage the take up of energy efficiency by SMEs in the commercial sectors.

Applications are open all year round to UK SMEs with annual energy bills of >£20K, which are either the building owner or long-term tenant with responsibility for their building services (heating, lighting air conditioning). 

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KTN’s Innovation Exchange

KTN’s Innovation Exchange is helping several organisations search for innovative solutions to real-world challenges. The challengers range from Artemis Technologies who is looking for battery systems for a zero-emission passenger ferry to the Department for International Trade who is collaborating with Indian city authorities to find improve waste management practices.

The advantage of the Innovation Exchange is that it allows organisations to tap into KTN’s diverse network to find novel solutions to industry challenges, often from outside their traditional sector. It is a mechanism to allow challengers to break sectoral barriers and access market-ready solutions.

Innovators get the opportunity to work with large corporates, often on a commercial basis, via a short application form, presenting their ideas. The challenge owner selects the ideas that are of best fit for solving their challenge and then looks to collaborate further.

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Circular Economy Fund (WRAP Cymru)

This £6.5m fund will offer grants to businesses of any size seeking capital investment funding to increase their use of recycled materials in manufactured products, components or packaging. WRAP Cymru will administer the fund on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Organisations of any size, which are operating in Wales, may apply for a capital grant to invest in infrastructure and equipment for eligible circular activities. Small Scale grants are now available from £6,000 to €200,000 (the maximum de minimis threshold) and Large Scale grants are available from €200,000 to £750,000.

Click here to find out more (applications assessed quarterly). Changes have been made to the fund in response to Covid-19, and a webinar outlining these was held on 21st May – recording available here.


Made Smarter Adoption Programme (England)

£8 million government boost for manufacturers across England to go digital – funding for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them modernise, go digital and create new jobs. The funding, part of the government’s Made Smarter Adoption programme, will support up to 1,000 small and medium sized manufacturers, across the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands regions, in adopting digital technology.

Read more


Opportunity: Clean Growth UK

Through its three university hubs, Clean Growth UK provides and brokers support focused on developing innovations, commercialising ideas, and securing funding for businesses on a mission to protect the planet for future generations.

Clean Growth UK offer in-house support, as well as connecting you with innovation and growth support available through other organisations. All in-house support is either free or part-funded.

To work with Clean Growth UK, you must be a member. Membership is free, and you get access to a suite of downloadable business resources, a regular newsletter highlighting the latest regional green business opportunities and the opportunity to apply for free and part-funded support.

Find out more and join for free here


Zero Waste Scotland Circular Economy Investment Fund

The Circular Economy Investment Fund is a funding opportunity for small and medium sized businesses and organisations in Scotland working in all business and social economy sectors.  Zero Waste Scotland are investing up to £18m in grant funding for businesses;

  • Exploring markets for new circular economy products
  • Development and adoption of innovative business models for new circular economy products and services
  • Development and uptake of innovative technologies, products and services to support a circular economy

Read More (applications ongoing, 30 day turnaround, projects can run until June 2023)

KTN’s sector teams are experts in navigating the funding landscape. If you need any guidance regarding the opportunities above or you would like help finding other funding opportunities please contact our Manufacturing and Materials teams.

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