Funding Focus #2: National Grants of Over £25k

Welcome to the second of our newest article series all about discovering what grants, schemes and other great funding initiatives are out there, that you may not be aware of.

(Missed our first installment? Recap here to learn about some great funding opportunities, all over £25k.)

Grantify has helped hundreds of businesses successfully win funding, and we track dozens of grants, awards and other subsidies every year.

Each month, we highlight schemes available across the UK, to inspire your growth.

This month, we’re looking at some more national grants, this time with award amounts of over £25k.

  1. Energy Catalyst Programme (Innovation)

Wind turbine making sustainable energy

Type: UK government grant.

What: 1.1 billion people globally go without access to modern energy services, and a further billion experience intermittent access.

The Energy Catalyst programme supports UK and overseas businesses and organisations to develop highly innovative, market-focused energy technologies that primarily look to enable energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/South East Asia.

Who: Any type of organisation from anywhere in the world can be involved in Energy Catalyst, however to lead a project you must be a UK-based business of any size.

You will be the recipient of the award and distribute funding to international partners, as well as be accountable for the finances of the project in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award.

Awards: The Energy Catalyst schemes offer high value amounts! Awards are usually made between £150,000 and £10,000,000.

Eligible Projects: Projects must work to develop highly innovative, sustainable energy technologies and business models, which are accelerating the clean energy transition in developing and emerging economies.

They must also address all three points of the ‘energy trilemma’, the biggest challenges faced by the sector as coined by the World Energy Council. These are:

  • Cost – reducing the price of energy to make energy, including the heating and powering of homes and buildings, accessible to everyone, at a price that’s reliable and affordable.
  • Emissions – generating cleaner energy in order to minimise emissions and to protect the environment, which is necessary to meeting the government’s green targets and growing a sustainable economy.
  • Security of supply – ensuring the supply of energy to people and businesses is supported by infrastructure that is reliable and secure and prevents the disruption, theft or potential shortage of energy.

Projects must also address energy access and gender equality and social inclusion to be considered.

When: Competitions typically run once a year.

Links: For more information on competition windows and any change to scope, visit

2. The Improving Lives Programme (Charitable)

Family playing with small baby

Type: National Lottery grant

What: The Improving Lives programme aims to fund socially focused organisations in Scotland working to help people overcome difficulties in their lives and build up resilience.

The fund is part of the ‘A Better Start’ – a 10 year, £215 million National Lottery funded programme focused on promoting good early childhood development.

The Improving Lives programme is designed to support activity that helps people overcome difficulties and become more resilient.

Who: The programme is open to voluntary or community organisations and public sector organisations, working in Scotland.

Awards: Grants from £10,001 to £200,000 are available to help people facing challenging circumstances. Grants over £150,000 require a two-stage application process.

Eligible Projects: The programme wants to fund activity that means people:

  • Are better able to identify ways to take control over their lives and build resilience.
  • Are able to shape the activities and services they use to better meet their needs.
  • Have more access to support and opportunities to improve their lives.

Eligible activities are those that:

  • Support children, young people and families currently experiencing challenging circumstances.
  • Support people that have experienced abuse.
  • Tackle loss, isolation or loneliness.
  • Support people that experience discrimination and/or work to challenge discrimination.
  • Support people facing financial hardship.

All applicants need to demonstrate that their activity is people-led, connected, and strengths-based.

When: There is no application deadline, and you can apply anytime.

Links: You can apply online or find more information here.

3. UK SPINE: the Knowledge Exchange Fund (Life Sciences)

Older couple smiling

Type: UK government grant (UKRI)

What: UK SPINE is a national network of collaborators, bringing together industry and academia, charities and research funders to improve therapeutics for older people.

The body supports new partnerships between academia, industry, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to accelerate the development of new therapies that target underlying biology of ageing.

The Knowledge Exchange Fund supports the innovation of knowledge exchange tools or channels supporting discovery of medicines to support healthy ageing.

Who: Applications are particularly welcomed from partnerships between academia, industry, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders.

Awards: Awards of up to £30,000 (not including overhead/ full economic costs) are available.

Eligible Projects: UK SPINE welcomes activities and projects that impact knowledge exchange in the healthy ageing community.

Preferred projects fall within the following 6 perspectives of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF):

  • Research Partnerships
  • Commercialisation and IP
  • Working with Business
  • Skills, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • Working with the Public and Third Sector
  • Public and Community Engagement

Examples of potential projects include: apps, summer schools, conferences, hackathons, opinion/ position papers, new pathways for technology transfer, community engagement.

The duration of the project/activity should be expected to be between 3-9 months.

When: Applications are typically accepted on a rolling basis, but the fund is closed at time of writing.

Links: For examples of funded projects or deadline updates, visit the UK SPINE website.

Keen to learn more?

In 2020, 55% of all Grantify applicants were successful in their application for grant funding! Read about our most popular grant scheme, the Innovate uK Smart Grant programme and our insider tips for funding success.

Your Expert Guide to Winning an Innovate UK Smart Grant