Funding

The Satellite Applications Catapult is not a funding agency. Instead, we help companies raise private finance and direct you to the best grant-funding sources. Alternatively, companies may bid collaboratively with us to funding schemes, pay us to work with you or suggest projects for us to work on that can be of benefit to you but exploited by the community.

For a list of the latest funding calls, please visit the Space Business Portal.

Private Investment

The Catapult has strong links with the UK’s business angel networks, venture capital community and banks. Our Business Plan Sprints and Investment Readiness Training will arm you with a wealth of knowledge on how to make your company attractive to a funder/investor. We focus on both start-up capital and the growth capital needed for businesses to scale up their activities.

Grant Schemes

There are several funding schemes that enable companies to develop innovative products and services. The Catapult can also guide businesses towards collaborative funding opportunities from organisations such as the European Space Agency (ESA), European Union (EU) and Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board, TSB). If you would like to speak with one of our experts about any of these schemes, please contactinfo@sa.catapult.org.uk.

UK Government

The UK Government offers support in a number of ways:

Innovate UK

The majority of UK programmes are run through Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. You can find out how Innovate UK helps with funding and support, but the key programmes are:

  • Smart scheme
  • Launchpads
  • Innovation Vouchers
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Smart

The Smart programme is ‘always open’ and is not restricted to projects in certain themes or sectors. It offers funding to single, UK-based, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have high growth ambition and potential, allowing them to engage in R&D projects from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.

Three types of grant are available:

  • Proof of market
  • Proof of concept
  • Development of prototype

Launchpads

Launchpads help technology-themed clusters of young, early-stage companies to develop and grow in specific locations around the UK. Two £1 million competitions have been run so far that were focussed on the space sector. This is a great competition for early stage or even pre-start businesses.

Innovation Vouchers

Innovation Vouchers are grants of £5,000 designed to encourage businesses to look for new knowledge to help them grow and develop. Why not use one to work with the Catapult?

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships offer businesses the opportunity to work with academic institutions to gain access to new knowledge, with the government financing part of the cost of running the project.

National Space Technology Programme (NSTP)

The NSTP programme aims to develop the growth of the UK space sector as embodied in the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy. Proposals are sought for space technology research and development projects that should align with the National Space Technology Strategy and the related technology roadmaps covering five main themes:

  • Telecommunications
  • Sensing
  • Position, navigation and timing
  • Exploration and robotics
  • Access to Space

There are three types of NSTP grant:

  • NSTP Technology Fast Track Grants – typically £50,000 to £150,000; up to 12 months duration
  • NSTP Pathfinder Grants – £50,000 maximum; normally no more than six months duration
  • NSTP Grants for Exploratory Ideas (Mini Studies) – rolling call, £10,000 maximum grant; up to 3 months duration.

For information on this and other financial support available from the UK Space Agency, see www.gov.uk/apply-for-funding-academic-community-and-educational.

Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation

The Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation hosts regular calls for funding in the area of Earth observation instrumentation.

Space for Smarter Government Programme

The Space for Smarter Government Programme (SSGP) is a strategic national programme established and led by the UK Space Agency in 2014, and delivered in collaboration with the Satellite Applications Catapult to drive the uptake and use of space products, data and services across government departments. The SSGP will release periodic funding calls. For more information, see www.spaceforsmartergovernment.uk.

European Funding

The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme (FP7) provides grants for R&D in specific areas. Within each member state, there is a network of National Contact Points (NCP) who can provide advice and individual assistance. The UK’s NCP for Space is Tim Just at Innovate UK.

The Horizon 2020 SME instrument is a major source of financial support for SMEs.

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is a key source of funding for the Space sector. Two specific areas of interest are:

Regional Innovation Funding

In addition to UK-wide schemes, the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland provide support for businesses located in those countries. Local Enterprise Partnerships also provide regional funding.

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