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  • Writer's pictureDamon Butcher

ISCF Commercialising quantum technologies: feasibility studies round 3

Updated: Apr 22, 2022



UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £6 million for projects to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK.

Open date: 17/01/2022

Close date: 09/03/2022

Max Grant Size (SME): £500,000

Funding Percentage: 70%

Collaboration: Single or Collaborative

Funding Type: Innovation Grant

Fund Provider(s): Innovate UK

Industry: Quantum Technologies



Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £6 million in innovation projects. This funding is from the ISCF Commercialising quantum technologies challenge. The aim of this competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK and to address one or more of the technical challenges:

  • connectivity

  • seeing the invisible

  • positioning, navigation and timing

  • computing

Your proposal must identify a clear market opportunity and an innovative project which exploits it. Your project must:

  • exploit second generation quantum techniques

  • demonstrate how the technology will contribute towards the commercialisation of quantum technologies in or from the UK

  • outline the investment from industry that you will generate.

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

Who can apply Your project Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs up to £500,000

  • start by 1 November 2022

  • last between 12 and 18 months

  • carry out all of its project work in the UK

  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If your project’s total eligible costs falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We 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 and your application will not be sent for assessment. Funding for research organisations will be capped at £250,000, for larger projects that have been given permission to apply. Lead organisation To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size

  • involve at least one grant claiming SME

Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead or work alone. Project team To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size

  • academic institution

  • charity

  • not-for-profit

  • public sector organisation

  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

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. If collaborating 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 eligible project costs. Subcontractors 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 also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor. Number of applications Any one business can lead up to 3 applications, but all applicants can partner in any number of applications.

Previous applications You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition. We will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project

  • an overdue independent accountant’s report

  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

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. We 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. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations. You must make sure at all times 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 we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding We have allocated up to £6 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. 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 feasibility studies and 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 50% 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 50% 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 eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal The aim of this competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK. Your proposal must identify a clear market opportunity and an innovative project which exploits it. Your project must

  • study a commercial opportunity

  • quantify performance objectives

  • provide a roadmap of future exploitation

  • exploit second generation quantum techniques.

Second generation quantum technologies are defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement. We consider technologies involving single photon generation to be in scope. You must describe how you will collect project metrics, including:

  • investment in addition to the project partner matched funding

  • additional capital investment aligned to or dependent on the project outcomes

We particularly encourage projects that:

  • involve consortia which span the supply chain of component suppliers, system integrators, and end user businesses

  • advance quantum technology systems to market through integration of innovative component technologies

  • realise the benefits of quantum technologies to enable end users to deliver measurable economic impact

  • bring new investment and businesses to the UK’s growing quantum technology sector

We reserve the right to take a portfolio approach, to achieve a balance for quantum technology challenge funding. We will consider a portfolio approach across a variety of technologies, markets, and technological maturities.

Specific Themes Your project must address one or more of the specific themes:

  1. Connectivity: techniques for securing data in storage and in flight.

  2. Seeing the invisible: imaging, sensors and detectors for the environment, transport, autonomous systems, infrastructure, and healthcare.

  3. Positioning, navigation and timing: developing resilience and precision for situational awareness and time dissemination.

  4. Computing: advancing quantum computing for addressing intractable problems through modelling & simulation, machine learning and optimisation.

Research categories We will fund feasibility projects and industrial research projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund We are not funding projects that are:

  • not exploiting second generation quantum techniques

  • market research, roadmapping or landscape studies

  • dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country

  • dependent on domestic inputs usage - for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product


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