Funding Support for Companies

We know that the financial cost of generating the new ideas, technologies and processes to help you achieve a competitive advantage can be high. The University of Birmingham can help you to identify and apply for funding opportunities available to your organisation. We can also connect you with the University's academic knowledge, facilitating partnerships where needed. Funding opportunities are listed below or contact us for more information.

Latest funding news

Innovate UK focuses on thematic areas that are most likely to generate UK economic growth and which address global challenges and opportunities – and on competencies and technologies which enable innovation in these areas.

Calls are announced on a regular basis. If you have an idea or a challenge that meets the criteria for funding and where you think the University can help, come and talk to us. You can contact us at:

Further detail for all current Innovate UK funding calls can be found on Innovate UK's website.

Innovate UK Smart Programme

Innovate UK's Smart programme is for the very best ideas from business, no matter what field they are in or the stage of innovation they are at, from testing the feasibility of an idea through to development and prototyping.

The programme is for business innovation projects that offer a major step-change, either to what’s already available or by developing an entirely new technology, service or process. Innovate UK is looking for new game-changing or disruptive processes or services that have the potential to improve and transform people’s lives, industries and the world. These ideas should have a considerable positive impact to UK productivity and the economy and a high potential for commercialisation within the UK and wider global markets.

The next round will open on 25 April 2019, closing on 24 July 2019. For more information, please visit Innovate UK's website.

Collaborative R&D

Collaborative research and development (R&D) projects are designed to assist the industrial and research communities to work together on R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology. Outputs from these projects include new products, processes and services. 

The scope of the collaborative R&D competitions has been expanded recently to support large projects as well as smaller projects approved within faster timescales.

See the Innovate UK competitions page for current funding opportunities

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

Connecting public sector challenges and innovative ideas from industry. Support companies to generate economic growth and enables improvements in achieving government objectives. Funding calls are announced via Innovate UK's website.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) 

A UK-wide programme that enables businesses to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) achieves this through the forming of a partnership between a business, the University and a recent graduate, enabling the transfer of skills and expertise into the company via a structured and subsidised programme. Projects vary between 1 and 3 years.

More details on the KTP scheme can be found on the University's dedicated webpages or contact Kate Jermey.

European and International Research Support 

The European and International Research Support team is part of Research and Innovation Services who sit within the Finance Office.

The team are responsible for providing specialist support for

  • Applying and delivering European and International funded projects
  • Developing and growing pipelines of activities to accelerate the transition from European and International relationships, activities and opportunities into actual external research, applications and income.
  • Management of the University's Brussels Office and supporting associated activities and their development.

Further information about the EU and International research support that is available can be found here.

For further information contact

R&D tax credits

Research and development (R&D) tax relief (or credit) is a HMRC company tax relief that can either reduce a company's tax bill or, for some small and medium-sized enterprises, provide a cash sum. If you are interested in more details please contact us.

Regional Support for SMEs

The University of Birmingham currently has six initiatives that support SMEs across various Local Enterprise Partnership areas.  These initiatives cover a broad remit from material characterisation to the testing and evaluation of medical devices.  Eligibility for these projects varies according to funding stream however; projects funded through existing European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) may offer free bespoke support to SMEs (geographic eligibility does apply).

Advanced Materials Characterisation and Simulation Hub (AMCASH)

AMCASH is an ERDF funded initiative established to support SMEs across four Local Enterprise Partnerships areas (LEPs); Greater Birmingham and & Solihull Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire and the Marches. Areas of support include industrial research and new product development across microscopy, polymers and modelling.

 For more information about AMCASH please contact: or 0121 414 3436

Accelerating Thermal Energy Technology Adoption (ATETA)

ATETA is designed to provide high level access to energy related R&D facilities to SMEs within the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area. The programme provides free advice and technical support to SMEs to;

  • identify and initiate market opportunities in new energy markets and technologies
  • access to laboratory services
  • innovate energy products and energy efficient processes and;
  • grow and improve their business

For more information about ATETA please contact: David Terry – Business Engagement Manager:

Alternative Raw Materials with Low Impact (ARLI)

Through partnerships the ARLI project will drive collaborative R&D amongst SMEs within the Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area to enable the development of products and processes that provide efficiency gains in the use of raw and waste materials and effective alternatives to their use to:

  1. address acute raw material deficiencies currently crippling industrial supply chains
  2. deliver improved environmental impact with cost effective solutions realised through reduced carbon emissions
  3. spur growth through the commercialisation of novel products

 For more information about ARLI please contact: Jonathan Roberts – Business Engagement Manager:

Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC)

MD-TEC (Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre) provides Med–Tech and Life Sciences companies, within the GBSLEP area, access to the latest state-of-the art simulation and usability facilities and dedicated medical device expertise from the academic and clinical environment. The centre will accelerate products being taken to market, at less cost and with reduced risk.  SMEs can ensure their products match “need” and avoid the re-engineering and re-evaluation caused by an initial lack of user testing and the hurdles of regulatory blockages.

For more information about MD-TEC please contact: Sian Dunning – Project Manager: or Blair Davis - SME Engagement Co-ordinator:

Innovation Engine

In partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) the University of Birmingham are involved in the Healthcare Technology and Medical Devices aspect of the Innovation Engine. This project provides SMEs across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area with support to increase investment in research and innovation. The two-fold approach of lowering the risk of innovation and increasing the market demand results in a more effective and sustainable method of bringing new products, processes and services to market.

For more information about Innovation Engine please contact: Naomi Green:

Incubation Support

BizzInn and BioHub Birmingham

The University of Birmingham has a suite of incubation support available through the BizzInn and The BioHub Birmingham.  Through the BizzInn we are able to provide an extensive start-up and growth programme with support tailored to individual needs and easy access to University of Birmingham facilities and expertise.

In addition The Biohub Birmingham is a fully serviced biomedical laboratory and vibrant innovation office designed to provide entrepreneurs and start-ups with access to affordable facilities and equipment.

For more information about the BizzInn please contact:

Andrew Cruxton – Incubation Manager:

For more information about the BioHub please contact: