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Funding - The Technology Programme

NIC Document


A significant contributor to public funding to support UK R&D and Innovation is the government’s Collaborative R&D grants under the Technology Programme. This guide outlines some of the key requirements and highlights some of the main Frequently Asked Questions.

In brief

  1. Collaborative research and development
  3. Knowledge Transfer Networks
  4. Frequently Asked Questions


The Technology Programme is a combination of business support products and information that the government and partners offer businesses in response to their Technology Strategy. The UK’s Health Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network (https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/healthktn), also supported through the Technology Programme, provides a route for input of priority areas to help shape strategy and future funding for this sector. The Technology Programme is a crucial part of the government’s Science and Innovation Investment Framework.  In spring and autumn each year, businesses, and their collaborators have the opportunity to compete for funding using two business support products:

  • Collaborative Research and Development.
  • Knowledge Transfer Networks

The themes for the Collaborative R&D Programme vary for each competition.

Collaborative research and development

Collaborative Research and Development projects must involve two or more collaborators, at least one of which is from industry. The Technology Programme supports three categories of research:

  • Pure or oriented basic research: Covers experimental and theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge for the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view. Funding support will favour oriented basic research over pure basic research
  • Applied research: Covers original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective. This type of research may involve the creation of a project to take forward the results of a basic research programme
  • Experimental development: Covers systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and practical experience that is directed to producing new materials, products, and devices; or to installing new processes, systems, and services; or to substantially improve those already produced or installed.

You can find out more about Lambert Agreements for universities and companies aiming to undertake collaborative research projects with each other at: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/lambert


Applications can also be made from UK organisations seeking to collaborate with international partners within the EUREKA (http://www.eureka.be/home.do) network, using the collaborative programme as their route to finance. EUREKA is a pan-European initiative for promoting collaborative industry-led R&D in fields of advanced technology. The benefits for UK companies collaborating in EUREKA include access to new technologies, the sharing of costs and risks across Europe, reduced time-scales and access to new overseas markets. Applicants considering a EUREKA approach with the Collaborative R&D programme, should contact http://www.eureka.be/home.do at an early stage to ensure formal endorsement as a Eureka project, and they should then copy their application to the EUREKA Unit .

Knowledge Transfer Networks

A Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is a single national over-arching network in a specific field of technology or business application. It brings together a variety of organisations, such as businesses, universities, research and technology organisations, the finance community, and other intermediaries who provide a range of activities and initiatives. The objective of a Knowledge Transfer Network is to improve the UK’s innovation performance by increasing the breadth and depth of the knowledge transfer of technology into UK-based businesses. To learn more about Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTN), visit: http://www.ktnetworks.co.uk
The specific KTN of relevance to the HealthTech/MedTech sector is the Health Technologies KTN: https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/healthktn

4 Frequently Asked Questions

The questions are divided into the following areas:

  • The technology strategy
  • Submitting applications
  • Funding
  • Post offer letter stage

Detailed guidance for applicants on the application process and appraisal criteria are available at: http://www.innovateuk.org/competitions/guidance-for-applicants/submitting-your-application.ashx

The technology strategy

When will the technology priorities to be included in future competitions be announced?
  • Technology priority areas for future competitions will be announced at least one month before the launch of each competition.
  • What’s the difference between Collaborative Research & Development within the Technology Programme and LINK?
LINK is a framework for Collaborative Research and Development projects that is still used across government. The Technology Programme's Collaborative Research and Development product builds on the best of the LINK scheme and allows funding for some business-to-business collaboration.

Submitting Applications

  • Where do I get an Application Form? Application Forms are available via the Technology Programme website (http://www.innovateuk.org/competitions.ashx) once the competitions are publicly announced. You will usually have to submit a Registration of Interest before submission of the Outline Proposal – full details and deadlines will be given on the website. Sample Application Forms are available on the website prior to registration, but these cannot be used to submit an application.
  • Does the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) help put applicants together? The TSB sponsors a number of Knowledge Transfer Networks, some of which are health technology related.
  • What if my research partners are not in the UK? A key aim of Technology Programme support is to help improve the UK’s innovation performance. Collaborators outside the UK, both EU and non-EU are acceptable, but there must be a clear and substantial gain for the UK brought about by their involvement. They cannot receive funding from the Programme, although their project costs may be included when calculating total eligible project costs.


  • How much funding can academic partners apply for? Academic partners should apply for 80% of their Full Economic Costs (FEC), in line with Research Council rules. For the purposes of the Technology Programme, this 80% FEC figure equates to the academic partner’s full eligible costs of the project. Please note that the remaining 20% cannot be counted as a contribution to the project by the organisation and should not be included in any project costs.
  • Can other public sector bodies (other than the named co-funding bodies for the competition) also provide funding for my project? Yes. However you cannot apply for funding from them within the Programme and you must make separate arrangements for the funding with the public sector body concerned. Details of any funding that you have arranged with other public sector bodies must be included in your application form. Note that total funding from all public sector bodies cannot exceed certain limits and this will be clear in the Guidance for Applicants document.
  • Which costs can I include in my application for funding? A list of eligible costs is provided in the Guidance for Applicants document. All costs associated with running the project should be shown (project management, meetings, travel, consumables, agreed overhead rates, etc).