Funding Round-Up

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


Designing sustainable plastic solutions

  • Competition opens: Wednesday 3 June 2020
  • Competition closes: Wednesday 16 September 2020 12:00pm

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £800,000 to fund early-stage, human-centred design projects to reduce the harm that plastics have on our environment and to therefore increase productivity and growth of the UK economy. This funding is from the Plastic Research and Innovation Fund.

This aim of this competition is to help businesses to create designs for innovative goods, services or business models that will result in less persistent plastic waste entering our environment. This should be achieved by them obtaining a better understanding of relevant customer and user behaviours.

Read more


Textiles Recycling and Re-use Small Scale Grant

Closing date: 13 July, 2020

The aim of this grant is to support projects that will enable textile waste materials to be recycled or re-used, diverting this waste from landfill or incineration, ensuring that it remains a valuable resource.

WRAP is looking to support projects that demonstrate a level of innovation beyond normal industry practice.  This may include new technologies, equipment not tried and tested before, or interventions that help to address and overcome barriers to textile recycling or re-use.

To be eligible, applicants must be a legal registered entity operating or planning to operate in England.

A finite budget of £1.5 million has been allocated to this grant. Grant awards will range in value from £20,000 to £170,000.

Read more


UK Circular Plastics Flagship Projects Competition

Closing date: 6 August, 2020 – 13:00

WRAP, working in partnership with UK Research and Innovation, is pleased to be delivering this £1.4 million grant programme. This competition was advertised in December 2018. Awards were made during 2019 and we are now pleased to announce the successful awards.

The overall aim of the programme is to support the delivery of the UK Government’s target of achieving zero avoidable plastic waste by end of 2042 and the objectives of The UK Plastics Pact. These are (by 2025):

  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted;
  • Take actions to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models;
  • A minimum of 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

The grant funds will support new pioneering industry-led collaborative projects, focused on unlocking the most critical, short-term barriers to improving plastics circularity, finding new innovative solutions and interventions that will remove or overcome these barriers.

Round 2 – Refill Infrastructure Grant – new opportunity June 2020
This new £475,000 scheme is open to applicants looking to trial and pilot new interventions that will implement refill infrastructure within an existing or new supply chain. WRAP is inviting Expressions of Interest from eligible applicants with project proposals that have strong commercial potential to reduce the use of single use primary plastic packaging. Projects should also offer significant opportunity to challenge and change the status quo, by changing the way retailers and their associated supply chain partners manage and design their supply chains in order to incorporate new refill options for their customers.

Read more


The Sustainable Innovation Fund: round 1 (temporary framework)

An investment of up to £55m to fund single and collaborative research and development projects to help organisations across the economy recover from Covid-19 in a clean and resilient way.

Business and include at least one SME
Round 2 – De Minimis (opening July 2020)
Projects to consider Covid-19 recovery in a way that has a positive impact on climate change and/or environmental sustainability
Projects up to £500k, £175k per organisation, 3 and 9 months
Closes: 29th July
Briefing Event: 3rd July – Register here

Find out more


The Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI Phase 1

Larger clean-tech projects of up to £3m that are pathfinders to the UK’s net-zero ambitions.

Phase 1: Research and development contracts, feasibility study

Phase 2 (open to Phase 1 participants only): up to £3m, Research and development contracts, prototype development and testing

Work with identified potential future customers to: 1) ‘build back better’ from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic; 2) help deliver on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and net zero ambition
Projects up to £60,000, including VAT (Phase 1)
Closes: 5th August

Find out more



UKRI open call for research and innovation ideas to address Covid-19

There is no closing date – proposals can be submitted at any time.

Proposals are invited for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

UKRI will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Read more


Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards feasibility studies into digital technologies to transform supply chains in UK manufacturing. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Projects must help UK manufacturing supply chains develop digital technologies to become more efficient, productive, flexible, resilient. These must encourage the use of digital approaches to better integrate and optimise the performance of supply chains.

A series of workshops are being organised to explore the opportunities for using digital solutions to improve and re-engineer existing manufacturing supply chains, design new supply chain solutions and to help collaborators develop their applications for the Manufacturing Made Smarter supply chain competition.

10th July : Pharma

16th July : General

21st July : Food & Drink

31st July : Aerospace & Automotive

Register for the workshops here

A briefing event will take place on 14 July to discuss the scope of the competition.  Register here

Competition Details

Opens: Monday 6 July
Closes: Wednesday 7 October

More information here


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period: Close date: 15.07.20 (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




Innovate UK Smart Grants

Competition Currently Closed

Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing, innovative or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation. All proposals must be business focused. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy.


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

EUREKA collaborative R&D: advanced materials, March 2020

Closing date: 30.06.20

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £1 million to fund collaborative business led research and development (R&D) projects. These must result in a new product, industrial process or service. Projects must be innovative and involve a technological risk.

Your collaborative R&D proposal must focus on one of these 4 themes:

  • Semiconductors and display.
  • Secondary batteries and sensor technology, including energy storage.
  • Carbon industry and chemistry, including:
    • lightweight materials, composites and recycling of plastics
    • nano materials and plastic materials
  • Machinery, robots, and metal industry.

Your project must focus on industrial research.

Your project must aim to develop one of the following:

  • innovative products
  • technology-based applications
  • technology-based services

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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