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Launchpad – Net zero - CR&D – Tees Valley

General & Misc
Project Size:
£150,000 - £1 million

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with businesses to invest up to £6 million on innovation projects. This will support outstanding innovation projects led by businesses who are active or growing their work activities, in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley.

This competition supports the Government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper. The projects will also contribute to Tees Valley’s ambitions to become a net zero industrial cluster by 2040 and global leader in clean energy.

Your proposal must align to the competition scope criteria.

This competition is split into 2 strands:

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


Your project must:

  • have a total grant funding request between £150,000 and £1 million
  • start by 1 April 2023
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 6 and 24 months
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.

If your total 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:

Project team

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

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

The contribution of project partners must add to the economic growth of the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley.

Each 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.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Their contribution must add to the economic growth of the net zero innovation cluster centred on the Tees Valley

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 business, can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, nor-for-profit or public sector organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

If you apply to the MFA strand of this competition, as well as this CR&D strand, you must make sure each project is clearly distinctive and separate.

We will monitor closely for this separation if you are awarded funding in both competition strands.

The aim of this competition is to support outstanding innovation projects by businesses active, or growing their work activities, in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley.

This geographical requirement is set because this competition aligns to the Government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.

Your project must be innovating within the specific net zero themes for this competition.

Your project must commercialise knowledge through innovation activities, and lead to increased investment into research and innovation. It must contribute to growing business activities and generating economic impact in the net zero cluster centred on Tees Valley.

We also want you to consider how your team and project will contribute to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity of the innovation cluster.

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across different project sizes, duration and thematic areas. We call this a portfolio approach.

We reserve the right to prioritise projects that are shorter in duration, that significantly contribute to the net zero theme described in the scope, or that are led by businesses that are already based in the targeted innovation cluster.

We may also prioritise projects with greater levels of activity outside the Greater South East. This is in support of the Government's Levelling Up White Paper.

Specific Themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • hydrogen
  • carbon capture and storage
  • offshore engineering
  • battery materials
  • the circular economy

Projects can also consider key enabling themes:

  • digital technologies
  • the regulatory framework
  • skills requirements
  • collaboration building
  • innovative business models
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