Design Foundations

Design Foundations is aimed at helping businesses engage with customers, users, or wider stakeholders through early-stage, people and planet centred research to identify high-value innovation opportunities and generate more innovative products, services and business models.

Design Foundations invests in early-stage, people and planet centred design projects.

Design Foundations Funding Competition – July 2022

If you’re a UK registered organisation, apply now for a share of up to £2 million for early-stage, people and planet centred design projects to influence their future R&D activity. This competition closes on Wednesday 31 August 2022 at 11:00am. Click here to find out more about the Design Foundations funding competition.

An online briefing event will be held on 14th July 2022 from 11am to 1pm. Click here to register for a place.

What is Design Foundations?

Design Foundations is aimed at helping businesses engage with customers, users or wider stakeholders through early-stage, people and planet centred design research to identify high-value innovation opportunities and generate more innovative products, services and business models.

There have been several previous rounds of Design Foundations as a stand-alone and part of other programmes.

The Innovate UK KTN Design team has been working with a wide range of companies across the UK that received funding through Design Foundations. Find out more about how design techniques helped them refine their ideas and create new opportunities to scale up and grow.

Why is Design important?

Design is critical to the success of the UK’s innovative business scene. Why commit spend to the development of technology without an understanding of the needs, motivations, attitudes or frustrations of the people that will use it? With this in mind, Innovate UK has opened up the Design Foundations grant funding programme to find the next generation of exciting new products, services and business models.

Evidence shows that businesses that use early-stage design, generate increased revenue, market share and exports as well as having a faster and more cost-effective innovation process. It will give you, senior members in the organisation and investors greater confidence in your ideas, streamline the development of those ideas and reduce cost and the likelihood of failure.

What can Design can do for you?

If you are a business that can benefit from an understanding of market demand to identify or validate your innovation opportunities and de-risk the development of ideas, Design Foundations is for you.

The benefits could include:

  • Explore better ideas and identify the right opportunity.
  • Communicate ideas and bring clarity.
  • Get buy-in and act as a glue for collaboration.
  • Iteratively develop concepts and manage risk.
  • Rethink strategy and boost innovation capability.

On completing a Foundation project, your business is likely to be better positioned to address investors’ and customers’ needs for a particular new venture or proposition. This may be in relation to approaching private investors or refining a subsequent application to a specific Innovate UK, sector-related, competition.

Where can I find top quality design partners?

Any programme featuring Design Foundations may need high calibre designers to provide the relevant tools and approaches to collaborate with another business in assessing, exploring and moving them forward.

Speak to the Innovate UK KTN Design Team if you would like advice or introducing to a credible design partner. Please detail your project and request to ensure we can find you the right connection.

Current Design Foundations funding opportunities

Design Exchange Partnerships: design the green transition

Opens: 01/09/2022 Closes: 30/11/2022

Apply for funding to develop design-based solutions for specific net zero and climate crisis challenges facing UK coastal and island communities.

More Information

SSPP Future Plastic Packaging Solutions Round 2

Opens: 12/09/2022 Closes: 09/11/2022

UK registered businesses and organisations can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million for early-stage and mid-stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.

More Information

Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2022 to 2023 Round 4

Opens: 20/09/2022 Closes: 16/11/2022

UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £9 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not for profits.

More Information

Related Events and Recordings

Thu
14
Jul
2022

Design Foundations Competition Briefing Event

11.00 - 13.00 | Online

Watch now
Thu
24
Feb
2022

Design Innovation Network Launch

10.00 - 14.00 | Online

Watch Now
See all events

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