Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £8 million for collaborative cross-sector, research and development projects.

The aim of this competition is to improve the productivity and competitiveness of foundation industry companies and supply chains, by funding cross-sector collaborative research and development projects.

Your project must work on resource and energy efficiency challenges common to 2 or more of the foundation industries.

The foundation industries sectors include:

  • cement
  • paper
  • glass
  • ceramics
  • metals
  • chemicals

Your project must:

  • further develop technologies to reduce deployment risk and accelerate take-up across industries
  • develop new technologies that, when deployed, would create a step-change in resource or energy efficiency in these industries

Your project must be designed to help the UK’s foundation industries remain competitive.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £1 million and £2 million
  • start by 1 September 2021
  • last between 12 and 24 months

Your organisation must:


You do not need to be in the foundation industries to lead a consortium but you must include at least 2 businesses of any size, from at least 2 foundation industry sectors.

If the lead organisation is an RTO it must collaborate with 2 businesses of any size.

Academic institutions cannot lead a project.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Your project can focus on any part of the manufacturing process, including:

  • inputs in materials and other feedstocks
  • development of new materials
  • process efficiency (for example heat recovery, waste utilisation)
  • business model development

Your application can build upon innovations developed in earlier Transforming Foundation Industry competitions, including:

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of sectors, technologies, risks, and markets.

Specific themes

Your project must address one or more of these themes:

  • heat recovery and utilisation
  • sensors, controls and digitalisation
  • waste utilisation and symbiosis
  • other energy or resource efficiency improvements (business model, process, product or supply chain)

If you would like help finding a partner, contact our Materials team.