Help shape the world of the future

There is over £400 million available to help fund R&D in areas that will have a positive impact on society in the future.

What new products can we make from advanced materials? How can we minimise the environmental impact of using coal natural gas and oil? Can we find ways for machines and people to interact?

These are just some of the challenges facing society, and these challenges can become opportunities for businesses.


Every year Innovate UK runs competitions that award over £400 million to help businesses carry out research and development to address these challenges.

Future World

At Future World, an event organised by Invest NI and presented by Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network, 100 local businesses got the opportunity to explore R&D opportunities and hear how to tap into this funding.

At the event, Innovate UK's Lead Technologists gave an overview of global issues, future influencing factors, and how changes in population, demographics and society will impact us. They also highlighted the enabling technologies in each area.

The event included four workshops focusing on Innovate UK priority areas:

  • Digital World - ICT, digital economy, space, electronics, sensors and photonics
  • Material World - advanced materials, high value manufacturing, resource efficiency
  • Physical World - transport, urban living, built environment, energy
  • Living World - agriculture and food, biosciences, health and care

Those attending also had the chance to have one-to-one meetings with sector experts from Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network to get information on latest trends and developments within their area.

Download guest speaker presentations.

Watch our videos from our guest speakers on R&D Future World Opportunities .

Read the top 20 tips for securing Innovate UK funding (PDF).

Horizons tool

What is influencing your future market? Horizons is a practical tool that helps you to work out just that. It defines the environmental limits and social conditions necessary for a sustainable economy. Use it to develop and test your strategy, inform commercial decisions, and drive new innovation.

If you missed Future World and want to find out more about Innovate UK competitions or other R&D support, contact us on 0800 181 4422.