Bridging for Innovators

Funding is now available through the Bridging for Innovators Programme to support UK industry in improving productivity

Dr Elvin Eren studying an old steel pipe

Dr Elvin Eren with the steel pipe studied on Engin-X.
(Credit: STFC)

Bridging for Innovators (B4I) is a programme run by Science Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to support UK industry. It started in 2017 and will end in March 2021.

B4I is designed specifically to help companies overcome difficult product, manufacturing or process performance issues by leveraging more than £2b worth of government investment in large scale scientific infrastructure.

The programme will provide access to advanced analytical technologies, supporting expertise and capabilities to companies through STFC’s large scale science facilities located at the various campuses around the UK including Harwell, Daresbury and the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

B4I, is not intended to fund activities in areas such as product development or fundamental research.


Note: All information provided through the application process will remain strictly confidential

B4I will fund all of STFC’s contribution to the project and total project cost must be matched by the company through an in-kind, in-cash or a mixture of both contribution. Note that B4I will not contribute to any costs incurred by the company in relation to the project.

The level of in-kind contribution will be determined by the size of the company as detailed in the table below:

Company size Company size criteria In-cash or in-kind contribution (% of total project cost)
Micro Staff headcount < 10
Turnover ≤ €2m OR
Balance sheet total of ≤ €2m
Small Staff headcount < 50
Turnover ≤ €10m OR
Balance sheet total of ≤ €10m
Medium Staff headcount < 250
Turnover ≤ €50m OR
Balance sheet total of ≤ €43m
Large Staff headcount > 250
Turnover > €50m OR
Balance sheet total of > €43m

Companies may apply under de minimis rules where B4I will fund 100% of STFC project costs and no company contribution is required. To be eligible through this route the company must not have received more than €200,000 de minimis state aid over the previous three years including any funding through B4I. The maximum project costs eligible under de minimis is £50,000. The General Block Exemption Rule (GBER) funding (i.e. funding that includes a company contribution) does not add up to a quota.

What is not in scope

  • Fundamental research
  • New product development
  • Market analysis
  • Testing and measurement services


Companies wishing to apply for B4I must:

  • Be a UK based business of any size registered at Companies House
  • Have a manufacturing base for the relevant product in the UK or provide the relevant service in the UK

Application process

The application process consists of two parts:

Part 1
Challenge statement & where applicable a supplementary video - This is a short and concise description of the problem (approx. 500 words). You must accurately articulate the problem to be solved and include any other methods that have been tried previously. You will also be asked to estimate the value to the company if the problem is successfully addressed.

The programme has a rolling monthly assessment of all the challenge statements that have been put forward. You will be contacted within two months of submission to either take the project forward or you will be provided with feedback if STFC cannot help.

If approved your application will move to the second stage.

Part 2
Project Design. You will work with STFC scientists to develop a project to overcome the problem. This will need to be fully costed before submission for stage 2 assessment.

This stage can take up to one month before final approval.

Successful applicants will then move forward to carry out the project.

Selection criteria

Projects will be selected on the basis of the following priorities (in no specific order):

  1. Availability of a suitable technique or expertise within STFC to address the problem
  2. Impact on the UK economy
  3. Value to the company if the project is successfully completed

Project completion

Once the project is complete the applicants will be asked to verify the value of their in-kind contribution to the project. At this point an impact assessment will be undertaken which will be followed up at later dates to assess the long term effect of the project.

Making the application

Complete the Challenge Statement by detailing concisely and succinctly the nature of the challenge and any analytical techniques that have previously been tried as well as the value to the company if the problem is successfully addressed.

AND where deemed useful an additional short 2 minute video in MP4 format no larger than 50MB can be included.

The form & video (where applicable) should be sent to Bridging for Innovators.

Before making the application it is recommended that you read the terms and conditions relevant to STFC’s Bridging for Innovators programme.

B4I Terms and Conditions

Challenge Statement

Proposal Guidance

Project Application Flow Diagram

Note: All applicants, whether successful or not, agree to take part in an impact assessment process and hence provide the necessary metrics & data for evaluation.


Email Ling Xu

Email David Brown

Presentations from the launch event

The presentations from the launch event held at the Harwell Campus on 28 November 2017 can be downloaded below:

Last updated: 18 December 2018

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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