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India – UK Collaborative R&D for industrial sustainability

General & Misc
Project Size:
between £100,000 and £300,000

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £5 million in innovation projects in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects between the UK and India focused on industrial sustainability.

Your proposal must include at least one business partner from the UK and one business partner from India.

UK participants must be part of an application submitted to Innovate UK. Indian partners must submit a parallel application to the Technology Development Board (TDB) who is the delivery partner for DST.

Your project must:

  • be innovative
  • be a new product, process or service
  • involve a technological risk
  • have a high market potential in the participating countries

Your project must focus on one of these 2 themes:

  • sustainable materials and manufacturing for transforming foundation industries, in particular glass, paper, cements, ceramics, chemicals and metals
  • power electronics, machines and drives

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request of between £100,000 and £300,000
  • start by 1 March 2024
  • end by 31 August 2025
  • last between 6 and 18 months

Projects must:

  • be innovative
  • be a new product, process or service
  • involve a technological risk
  • have a high market potential in the participating countries

UK project partners must carry out the majority of their project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.

The consortium must include at least one business registered in India that is a separate legal entity, not linked to the UK partners.

All businesses in a consortium must be separate legal and non-linked entities. This is to ensure that projects encourage genuine international collaboration, not internal company research. Linked companies are considered a single entity under the parent company.

Projects must represent genuine partnerships. No more than 70% of the total work packages can be delivered by any single partner or by all partners from a single participating country.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

The UK government has suspended publicly funded research and innovation collaborations with Russia.

In line with UK government policy, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will not enter or support any collaboration with partners which involve collaborations with a Russian entity as a third party, where there is any strategic benefit to the Russian State. This includes sourcing any goods or services originating from Russia.

We recognise partner countries’ approach towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may differ from our own and respect the right of our partners to choose who they partner with.

If your project’s grant funding request or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • collaborate with an Indian registered business, which must be a separate legal entity, not linked to the UK partners

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

UK Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each UK partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition, but they are limited to no more than 20% of the total eligible costs of the UK participation.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A UK registered business can lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If a UK registered business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

A UK registered academic institution or RTO can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.


Up to £5 million has been allocated to fund UK participants in innovation projects for this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If your UK registered organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

DST will provide funding support for the Indian partners of up to 50% of eligible project costs.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation for UK organisations

The UK research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

For UK registered research organisations, of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO

The aim of this competition is to fund collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects between the UK and India focused on sustainability.

Your project must demonstrate:

  • a clear game changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan addressing market potential and needs
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • value for money
  • 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
  • clear potential to significantly benefit the UK economy or national productivity
  • the benefits and value of participants from the countries working together
  • a clear definition of where intellectual property (IP) can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to exploitation

Your project must focus on one or both of the following themes.

Sustainable materials and manufacturing

Your project must focus on at least one of these areas:

  • enabling technologies for sustainability, including digital solutions, sensors and controls, bio-based feedstocks, waste recycling and value-added processes for waste streams
  • new supply chain and business models for the manufacturing, materials or foundation industries (glass, paper, cements, ceramics, chemicals and metals), including, but not limited to, the move to a circular economy, industrial symbiosis, co-location and servitisation
  • new and efficient production processes for the manufacturing, materials or foundation industries, including, but not limited to, transformative low temperature processes, waste heat capture and recovery systems, planning optimisation
  • smart design for resource efficiency and through-life value using effective design methods​
  • next generation materials involving the discovery, scaling, processing and adoption of advanced and sustainable materials​
  • other sustainability improvements for the manufacturing, materials or foundation industries

Power electronics, machines and drives

Your project must focus on one or more of these areas:

  • power electronic semiconductor fabrication or device packaging, including innovations in Gallium Nitride and Silicon Carbide
  • power conversion innovations including invertors and convertors for any application, such as electric vehicles or energy systems
  • electric machine design innovations, including design for manufacture, for any application
  • electric machine control innovations, including design and manufacturing
  • magnet manufacturing and end of life recycling solutions
  • electric vehicle (EV) chargers
  • 2 and 3 wheeler electric vehicle powertrains

Portfolio approach
We want to fund a variety of projects across different research categories, themes, areas of focus, technology and technology maturity. We call this a portfolio approach.

Your projects UK partners must be assessed as fundable by Innovate UK, and the Indian partners must be assessed as fundable by DST, for the project to be successful and a funding offer made.

Research categories

We will fund feasibility studies and industrial research projects as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • work on non-civilian applications
  • are not in scope
  • do not meet Innovate UK’s eligibility criteria
  • do not have an eligible Indian partner
  • do not submit all mandatory documentation
  • request grant of below £100,000 or more than £300,000 from Innovate UK

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product.
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