Funding Round-Up

Take a look at the latest funding competitions of relevance to organisations and academics working within the field of plastics. 

ISCF: Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging

Part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Wave 3, this Challenge will develop a new generation of advanced and sustainable plastic packaging to reduce single-use plastics, increase recyclability and the amount of plastic packaging that is recycled and ultimately reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the environment.  Government is prepared to invest up to £60 million in this Challenge from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund until 2024, with additional funding of up to £149 million from industry. The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products, delivering cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.

Your project must aim to:

  • help make the plastics packaging supply chain more circular
  • deliver the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
  • improve on current state-of-the-art plastic packaging, while still demonstrating practical and close-to-market solutions

Projects are welcomed across the following areas: materials; design; technology or process; business model or behaviour change. Your project must showcase close-to-market solutions that go beyond the current state-of-the-art and deliver a more circular economy for plastic packaging.

Read more


Future Plastic Packaging Solutions Competition

Competition Closes: 20th January 2020

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £2 million from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme for early-stage projects.

The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products. Its goals are to deliver cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.

The aim of this competition is to support feasibility studies and industrial research that addresses widely known problems in relation to plastic packaging for consumer products.

You must explain how you are innovating to address one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets. The benefits of the new approach must be quantified in terms of the Pact targets where possible. Any environmental impacts must be described and justified.

We aim to fund projects with either direct or indirect commercial outcomes for the partners.

For example, a project to improve understanding where the outputs would be made freely available would be in scope.

Projects must deliver one or more of the following:

  • a more circular plastic packaging value chain, with reduced environmental impacts, such as carbon emissions and improved recyclability
  • improved understanding of effective communication techniques to increase recycling rates and uptake of re-use/refill business models
  • more consistent data and increased knowledge relevant to the supply chain

Read more


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period: Opens: 02/11/20; Close date: 27.01.20 (after this the next round will be available immediately, so don’t rush your application unnecessarily)

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)  links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Read more





Innovation continuity loans: Strand 3 November 2020 new project competition

Competition closes: Wednesday 13th January 2021 11:00am

Innovate UK is offering up to £210 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing, completing or following on an innovation project. Loans are for organisations that find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are three parallel strands for innovation continuity loans:

We are looking to support highly innovative late stage projects with a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact. We will particularly welcome applications relating to innovation activity that has been supported through other forms of government or public sector support.

The purpose of this competition is to help businesses and third sector organisations overcome barriers to their innovations becoming a successful, commercial reality, particularly where they find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your proposed project must continue, complete or follow on from innovation activity that has not been supported by an award from Innovate UK in the last 36 months. We are looking for organisations who can demonstrate that their projects have the best potential for the future.

Read more


Manufacturing Made Smarter Innovation Hub – Digital Supply Chain EoI

Competition closes: Wednesday 13 January 2021 11:00am

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £10 million to set up and manage a digital supply chain innovation hub.

The Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hub should focus on manufacturing supply chains, looking to digitally optimise and integrate these supply chains from end to end.

This is the expression of interest for a potential 2-stage competition.

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

This competition is for expressions of interest in the digital supply chain innovation hub management. Successful applicants will be invited to apply to the full stage competition. UKRI reserves the right to not continue to full proposal stage if no acceptable EoI application is received.

We are aiming to develop an Innovation Hub which furthers the goals of the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge and the national Made Smarter movement. The innovation hub will develop a national network or cluster of existing facilities. These will be accessible by industry to develop, demonstrate and test digital supply chain solutions. Aiding the innovation and deployment of innovative digital systems.

Read more


Wales’ Circular Economy Fund scope widened in response to COVID-19

WRAP Cymru has implemented changes to the £6.5m Circular Economy Fund – a Welsh Government initiative – in order to support more organisations more quickly. Capital grants from £6,000 (previously £25,000) to £750,000 are now available to facilitate the use of recycled materials in Welsh manufacturing, plus preparation for re-use, refurbishment and re-manufacturing activities in Wales. Visit the WRAP Cymru website to for full details and to apply.

Read more and apply



Zero Waste Scotland Circular Economy Investment Fund

The Circular Economy Investment Fund is a funding opportunity for small and medium sized businesses and organisations in Scotland working in all business and social economy sectors.  Zero Waste Scotland are investing up to £18 in grant funding for businesses;

  • Exploring markets for new circular economy products
  • Development and adoption of innovative business models for new circular economy products and services
  • Development and uptake of innovative technologies, products and services to support a circular economy

Read More (applications ongoing, 30 day turnaround, projects can run until June 2023)

You can also read about Zero Waste Scotland’s Action on Plastics initiative here.



Ecosurety Exploration Fund

Over three years the Ecosurety Exploration Fund will invest £1million in projects that can reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or WEEE through innovation or research in the UK. We are looking to support ideas up to £150,000 that will go on to make a bigger impact beyond the initially funded project – especially those that may ordinarily struggle to get off the ground.


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