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UK's Funding Ecosystem

The UK offers a rich, diverse and vibrant funding landscape. Find your opportunity here.


The UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and here we will support you to turn your ideas into reality.

Whether you’re an academic, scientist, researcher, or entrepreneur – the UK has a vast funding ecosystem with a wide range of opportunities. Here is an introduction to the UK funding landscape with examples of where you can find the right opportunity for you.

Funding for researchers and scientists

The UK’s world-leading Research & Development (R&D) environment, and the UK’s Government’s continued commitment to increase investment in R&D to £22bn by 2026/2027 means there is a wide range of funding opportunities in the UK – whether that’s a grant for a research project, an individual fellowship or funding for collaboration. Find your opportunity here.

UK Government departments and Devolved Administrations

Many UK Government departments and Devolved Administrations provide significant funding and opportunities for a wide variety of research activities to support their strategic aims and develop their policies.

This reflects the UK’s priority of a world-leading R&D system which will help lead the recovery from COVID-19 and bring innovation and investment in areas such as the environment, health and space.

Some departments have pre-identified agencies or organisations to undertake this work, such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on behalf of the Department of Health & Social Care.

The NIHR has an annual budget of £1 billion and funds research for the benefit of the NHS, public health and social care.

Other bodies will make open calls for research proposals as needed.

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UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

UKRI supports researchers based in the UK to work and collaborate
with the best minds, organisations, and facilities around the world.

UKRI offers funding and support across all academic disciplines and industrial areas. This ranges from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences, and the arts and humanities.

UKRI also offers multiple fellowship opportunities, with the flexibility and freedom to design a package that fits your career ambitions, research needs and personal development requirements.

In 2022-23 UKRI awarded 6,000 research and innovation awards and fellowships committing £3.1 billion to support research & innovation.

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National academies

The national academies are independent fellowships of world-leading scholars and researchers. They are funding bodies that support new research, nationally and internationally, as well as forums for debate and engagement – and there are plenty of funding opportunities available.

Academies are in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences and the humanities, and include: the Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Academy of Medical Sciences, as well as the academies of Scotland (the Royal Society of Edinburgh), Wales (the Learned Society of Wales), and Northern Ireland (which is covered by the all-island Royal Irish Academy).

Explore their sites to find more information on funding and opportunities available.

There are also learned societies covering a wide variety of subject areas in the UK, which can offer funds (usually small) to members. Membership is often very cheap for students and junior researchers. Joining your relevant learned society can be very helpful when moving to the UK.

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Charities, NGOs, foundations, and trusts

The UK has a vibrant ecosystem of charities, NGOs, foundations, and trusts which provide independent support for research and innovation through private sources of funding.

These bodies support research across a wide range of aims and sectors. This includes bodies such as the Welcome Trust, a charity funded by income from a £29.1 billion investment portfolio originating from the will of pharmaceutical entrepreneur Sir Henry Welcome, with a mission to improve health through research. Search for Wellcome Trust funding opportunities here.

The Leverhulme Trust is similarly funded by investments. It funds research in any academic discipline except medical research; it is particularly important in the humanities and social sciences. Search for Leverhulme Trust funding opportunities here.

Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and many other medical research charities also fund research. Most are members of the Association of Medical Research Charities, an umbrella body supporting member charities and setting high standards of ethics and transparency.

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European Commission: Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the largest ever European Funding programme, with a budget of approximately €95 billion over seven years. The programme will provide funding support to researchers and innovators ranging from individuals to large scale businesses.

The UK is an Associated Country to Horizon Europe. This follows the finalisation of the agreement reached in September 2023, following a period of intensive negotiations to reach a bespoke deal in the UK’s national interest. This agreement was signed on the 4th December 2023, formalising the UK’s association to Horizon Europe.

Our association means that researchers and businesses based in the UK can participate confidently in the world’s largest programme of research cooperation, worth £80bn+.

It will allow UK researchers and businesses to collaborate with European partners to tackle significant and shared challenges in society – ranging from climate change to global health. Horizon Europe consists of three pillars; pillar 1 supports excellent science, pillar 2 supports global challenges and industrial competitiveness and pillar 3 supports innovation.
Horizon Europe delivers calls through dedicated work programmes. You can apply for Horizon Europe funding to carry out research in the UK.

Horizon Europe funding is available for:

  • excellent research in any field
  • researcher mobility
  • research infrastructure
  • global challenges and industrial competiveness:
  • health
  • culture, creativity and inclusive society
  • civil security for society
  • digital, industry and space
  • climate, energy and mobility
  • food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment
  • the development of the European research and innovate systems

For further information on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and for information about applying, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/horizon-europe-and-copernicus-programmes-2023-uk-eu-agreement-explainer.
Support for UK applicants is provided by the UK National Contact Point network.

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Funding innovators and entrepreneurs

The UK’s rich diversity of funding sources for innovation allows you to access the right type of finance at each stage of development. UK tech companies also benefit from tax advantages.

The UK continues to thrive with high levels of investment across our science and technology sector. UK tech venture capital investment hit a record $44bn in 2021 and in 2022 totalled £32bn putting the UK 3rd globally behind only the US and China.

UK tech companies also benefit from tax advantages such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). These offer tax breaks for investors in start-ups and encourage the flow of capital into UK startups. There’s a generous Research & Development tax relief, which reduces the cost of innovation for companies, and also a Social Investment Tax relief for companies pursuing social enterprises.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to scale up, expand and grow your business, the UK has a wealth of opportunity for investment and skills.
Find your opportunity here and turn your ideas into reality.

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Innovate UK

Innovate UK is part of UKRI and helps businesses thrive in the UK by working with the best minds, organisations, and facilities around the world.

It provides significant support for business-driven innovation through grants and loans, with funding for core Innovate UK programmes increasing to around £1 billion per year by 2024-25 – over £300m more per annum than in 2021-22.

Find out more information on funding from Innovate UK here.

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Private investment

The UK is home to a broad range of private investment opportunities including venture capitalists, Limited Partners, angel investors, accelerators and incubators.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to scale up, expand and grow your business, the UK has the right opportunity for you.

If you are an entrepreneur or founder of an innovative technology business based overseas, you may be eligible for the UK government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP), supporting you to set up and scale your business by providing introductions to key networks, including investors.

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European VC funds raised in 2023

The UK’s startup ecosystem ranks 3rd globally in terms of VC investment raised. The UK are the European leader for VC investment, raising more than double our closest European counterpart, France.

Despite the challenging economic climate, the UK ecosystem showed improved resilience when compared to half of the top 10 largest ecosystems including the United States, China and Germany.

Investor Fund Size ($M) Fund Country
Index Ventures £2000M United Kingdom
Balderton Capital £1280M United Kingdom
83North £550M United Kingdom
World Fund £406M Germany
Eight Roads £400M United Kingdom
Blue Horizon £395M Switzerland
DN Capital £358M United Kingdom
2150 VC £313M United Kingdom
Revaia £294M France
Singular VC £265M France
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More information

State of European Tech

British Business Bank (BBB)

The British Business Bank (BBB) is a UK Government owned economic development bank which supports access to finance for smaller businesses.

It brings expertise and Government money to the smaller business finance markets. The BBB work with over 130 partners such as banks, leasing companies, venture capital funds and web-based platforms. There are also similar schemes run by the Devolved Administrations like the Development Bank of Wales, the Scottish Development International, and Invest Northern Ireland.

Find out more information on the British Business Bank here.

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European Commission: Horizon Europe

UK businesses and SMEs can access a range of funding to lead collaborative projects and scale up ideas through Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research and innovation programme.

Specialist advice and support is available through the UK’s network of Horizon National Contact Points.


Accelerators provide programmes designed to help entrepreneurs grow their ideas into fast-growing businesses, through mentoring, financial investment, business advice, office space, and access to investor networks.

The UK has a wide range of high-quality opportunities for accelerators, with 58% of the UK’s unicorn companies attending an accelerator. Accelerators that reported providing funding offered an average of £39,000 per startup, via grants, loans, convertible notes or direct investment in return for equity. This means that UK accelerators directly invest around £33 million in startups per year.

Read more on Accelerators here.

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UK Research and Innovation

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