Grant information

open    Opened: 18 July 2022   |   Closes: 02 September 2022


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Defence Innovation Unit, Stratcom and UK Maritime Security Centre to invest up to £4 million in innovation projects.

The aim of this competition is to develop prototype dual use and multi-mission payloads and solutions for data processing, evaluation and dissemination (PED). This is to complement ongoing High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) platform development by addressing priority needs and challenges within sensing, datalinks and PED.

Your proposal must show utility in the context of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) or Maritime Security missions and be compatible with at least one model of stratospheric platform.

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

Funding Type


Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £100,000 and £2 million.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total project costs of between £100,000 and £2 million
  • start by 1 March 2023
  • end by 28 February 2025
  • last between 12 and 24 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • 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 costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 working days before the competition closes. Innovate UK 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:

If the lead organisation is an RTO it must collaborate with 2 businesses (business of any size).

Project team

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

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.

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

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. Innovate UK will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

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

Number of applications

A business, academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not for profit or public sector organisation can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

Previous applications

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

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. Innovate UK 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 UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. Innovate UK is unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must at all times 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.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean Innovate UK needs to change the terms of this competition, Innovate UK will tell you as soon as possible.


Up to £4 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If the majority of your 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.

For 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

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

The 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.

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, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The aim of the competition is to encourage participants from industry, academia and RTOs to participate in this cross-sector innovation challenge.

This is to support the High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) platform development by funding innovative prototypes dual use and multi-mission payloads.

Your project must:

  • propose versatile, multi-mission solutions which tackle multiple challenge topics and consider the wider system-of-systems
  • adhere to payload limits, platform interface requirements, as well as environmental and thermal requirements
  • conduct ground based testing to demonstrate theoretical compliance with the challenge statements and readiness for experimental flight-testing

Your project can:

  • propose holistic solutions which consider multiple challenge topics, for example, a solution comprising sensors, a suitable datalink, and associated processing technology
  • consider HAPS as part of a wider system-of-systems for example, connectivity to other HAPS platforms to deliver a greater overall effect, or the use of a high-bandwidth satellite connection to extend reach
Innovate UK wants to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. Innovate UK calls this a portfolio approach.
Specific themes

Your project must demonstrate that your solution is compatible with at least one model of stratospheric platform, where that model:

  • already exists as a full-scale flight-tested prototype, or where credible plans and the associated financing are in place to deliver and test-fly a full-scale prototype platform prior to the conclusion of the challenge execution period


  • is designed to offer a mission endurance in excess of 6 days

Solutions should maximize the use of common and standard interfaces and open architectures to offer compatibility with a range of platform models and types, including:

  • fixed-wing solar HAPS
  • Lighter than Air (LTA) HAPS,
  • H2 HAPS,
  • CubeSats, SkimSats
  • High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) platforms
  • Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) platforms
Research categories
Innovate UK will fund industrial research projects as defined in the guidance on categories of research.


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Grants Funding Available

Innovate UK Smart Grants

OPEN   UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25million for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. 

Opened: 17/01/2022

Closed: 17/01/2022