UK government launches £200 million package for R&D SMBs

The Department for Business, Energy and industrial strategy is launching a £200 million support package for startups working on cutting-edge projects.

The 'Sustainable Innovation Fund' is open to companies across all parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their innovative ideas alive following the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding will be delivered through Innovate UK and will form part of the wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April. It sits alongside the Future Fund, which has already received over 500 applications since its launch on 20 May, according to the government.

The new £200 million fund is for companies developing new technologies that focus on making homes and offices more energy-efficient, reduce carbon footprints and improve public transport infrastructure.

"Our ability to innovate will be key to tackling this crisis, driving economic growth and supporting jobs," Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. "This funding, on top of our existing support for innovation, will back businesses in a wide range of sectors including technology, health, transport and clean growth."

The government is keen for research and development-intensive startups to take up the grant. The fund can also be used for ground-breaking medical technologies and to develop smart sustainability-focused projects, such as apps that encourage people to cut down on food waste or sustainable biodegradable packaging.

The long-term goal of the Sustainability Fund is to boost the UK's economic recovery and develop more sustainable opportunities for businesses in all sectors as we come out of the coronavirus crisis. The government also hopes it will help it meet its pledge for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

"Many businesses have successfully, and innovatively, responded to the challenges posed by the coronavirus," said Dr Ian Campbell, executive chair of Innovate UK.

"Organisations will recover from the pandemic, and as the situation stabilises, we will help businesses build an innovative economy that is viable and resilient. Today we issue the call for more innovators to put forward proposals to help the UK build a sustainable and productive future."