What is the Industrial Strategy – and what’s in it for my business?

What is the Industrial Strategy – and what’s in it for my business?

Put simply, the Industrial Strategy is an initiative developed by the current UK government to help stimulate UK business growth. It aims to strengthen our economy, while enabling businesses to grow and become more profitable. In 2016, the government invested 1.6% of GDP into R&D, and this will increase to 2.4% by 2027, providing additional finance to innovative businesses in specific sectors.

But what exactly is the strategy? And how can you benefit? If your business or business idea relates to one of four very specific ‘industries of the future’, then you may be able to access additional funding, advice, and support.


One strategy, four Grand Challenges


Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The UK government has set up an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which will invest a huge £725 million over the coming years.

To make sure the funding is allocated in the best possible way, for business and the economy, the government has devised four ‘Grand Challenges’ that will put the UK at the forefront of ‘the industries of the future’. To identify these grand challenges, the government worked with businesses and technical experts to identify development areas where the UK has three distinct advantages:

    1. World-leading research;
    2. Businesses ready to innovate; and
    3. A sustainable global market.

There are 4 quite broad industry sectors that will benefit, meaning many business owners, entrepreneurs, and universities, may be able to apply:

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund - sectors


This infographic from ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales) shows just how much money will be invested over the next few years – and this amount is increasing all the time. For example, a recent government review has led to an additional £2.5 billion in funding being made available for businesses that are founded on the basis of complex technological or scientific ideas, that have very long development times, and require funding over an extended period of time, otherwise known as ‘patient capital’.

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund - ICAEW investment infographic

Reproduced by kind permission of ICAEW (copyright). Visit icaew.com/industrialstrategy to find out more.


How you can benefit from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The funding for innovative businesses will be released in ‘waves’, and is being managed by UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), a new public body created in 2018. You can find out more about the current wave of initiatives, search for live funding opportunities, and apply, using this link.


Here’s a small selection of the 25 current funding opportunities:


Antimicrobe - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund SBRI: antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans – Closes: Wednesday 22 August 2018

Organisations can apply to develop innovations that address the challenges of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans.


 Electric car charging - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Wireless electric vehicle charging for commercial users: feasibility studies –  Closes: Wednesday 29 August 2018

UK businesses can apply for innovation grants to design, develop and deploy wireless electric vehicle charging infrastructure for commercial users.

Open grant funding competition: round 2 Open grant funding - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund  – Closes: Wednesday 12 September 2018

Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £20 million to deliver game changing or disruptive innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

Eureka - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund EUREKA Eurostars 2, round 10 – Closes: Thursday 13 September

Innovative SMEs can apply for a share of £2.5 million to collaborate in research with partners across Europe and associated countries.


Women in innovation - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Women in Innovation Awards 2018 – Closes: Wednesday 3 October 2018

UK business women can apply for one of 8Women in Innovation Awards: £50,000 funding each and a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business support.

Agriculture - Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Productive and sustainable crop and ruminant agricultural systems – Closes: 24 October 2018

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million to improve productivity and sustainability across UK crop and ruminant production systems.

See all 25 of the current funding opportunities


Explore your finance options

You can explore all the different finance options available to your business by using our finance finder tool.


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