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Innovation and R&D

Innovation and R&D

Supporting R&D and Innovation in Scotland and the UK

Research and development (R&D) and innovation are critical drivers of economic growth and competitiveness in the screen, creative, tech, and digital sectors. In Scotland and across the United Kingdom, various initiatives, funding opportunities, and policies have been implemented to foster a thriving ecosystem for R&D and innovation. Recognizing their importance, various organisations and government bodies in Scotland and the wider UK have established comprehensive support systems ranging from financial grants to advisory services, all aimed at nurturing the next generation of ideas and technologies. Here we explore the key aspects of support available for R&D and innovation in Scotland and the broader UK context.

Together, Fife, Dundee, Angus and Perthshire form a dynamic quartet of innovation and research. The Tay Cities Region is like a melting pot of ideas where ancient traditions meet a forward-thinking vibe and futuristic technologies. The region is proving that it's not just keeping up with the times—it's leading the charge.

Business support services in Tay Cities Region can provide help to identify potential funding sources and input to bringing partnerships together and applying.
To get started contact FifeScreen+TayScreen on +44 (0)1382 432483 or +44 (0)7951 380403 or email

Key Support Mechanisms for Innovation and R&D
Financial Grants

City Deals
Tay Cities Deal is on of a major programme of City region deals across the UK to support strategic and economic development. Tay5G is a TCD programme that is supporting trials of 5G applications for the screen, creative, digital and tech sectors.

Creative Scotland/Screen Scotland

Open Project Funding: Provides financial support for a wide range of creative projects, including those in film, television, and digital media. This funding helps with project development, production, and distribution.

Screen Scotland Fund: Specifically aimed at the screen industry, this fund supports the development, production, and distribution of films, television shows, and digital content.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise provides support to businesses through grants, funding, and advisory services. It focuses on promoting innovation, international trade, and investment to stimulate Scotland’s economy.

R&D Grants: Support businesses undertaking research and development projects that will lead to innovative new products, processes, or services. These grants are designed to offset the costs of R&D, making innovation more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

SMART: SCOTLAND: Offers grants to SMEs to conduct feasibility studies and R&D projects that could lead to the development of new products or processes. This program is particularly beneficial for early-stage innovation.

Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
The SFC supports colleges and universities in Scotland, promoting collaborative research and innovation projects. Their initiatives include Innovation Centres, which connect academia with industry to address key challenges and drive economic impact.

Interface connects businesses with academic expertise and facilities to stimulate innovation. By acting as a matchmaking service, Interface helps businesses access research and development capabilities within Scotland’s universities.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Innovate UK: As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK provides funding and support to businesses and research organisations to drive technological advancements and commercialise innovation. Through competitions and grants, Innovate UK supports projects in various sectors. they provide a wide range of grants and funding competitions aimed at supporting innovative projects across various sectors, including tech and digital. From early-stage feasibility studies to commercialisation support, Innovate UK offers comprehensive funding solutions.

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC): Funds research in the arts and humanities, including digital and creative industries. This support helps bridge the gap between academic research and industry application.

British Film Institute (BFI)

BFI Film Fund: Supports the development, production, and distribution of feature films. The fund focuses on nurturing new talent and supporting innovative projects that push the boundaries of storytelling and filmmaking.

BFI Network: Provides funding for emerging filmmakers to develop short films and other creative projects, fostering innovation and new voices in the industry.

Horizon Europe
The UK participates in Horizon Europe, the European Union's research and innovation programme. This provides access to significant funding opportunities for collaborative R&D projects across Europe.

Advisory and Mentorship Programs

Tech Nation

Tech Nation offers a range of support programs for tech startups and scaleups, including mentorship, networking opportunities, and growth programs. Their resources help tech companies navigate the challenges of scaling and innovating in a competitive market.

Digital Catapult

Part of a network of Catapult Centre, world-leading hubs designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas including digital. They provide access to technical expertise, equipment, and collaborative opportunities. As the UK's leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, Digital Catapult provides support for businesses working on cutting-edge technologies. They offer access to state-of-the-art facilities, expertise, and collaborative opportunities to accelerate the development and adoption of new technologies.
Visit Digital Catapult.

Collaborative Ecosystems and Innovation Hubs

Innovation Centres
Innovation Centres such as the Data Labpromote collaboration between universities and businesses to tackle industry challenges and drive innovation.

The Data Lab
Scotland’s Innovation Centre for data and AI supports data-driven innovation through collaborative projects, funding, and training programs. They help businesses harness the power of data to drive innovation and improve decision-making.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)
KTPs help businesses in the UK innovate and grow by linking them with academic institutions and a graduate to work on a specific project. This collaboration brings fresh expertise into the business while providing practical experience for graduates.


As the UK's largest tech incubator, CodeBase provides workspace, mentorship, and networking opportunities for tech startups. They foster a collaborative environment where businesses can share ideas, access resources, and grow together.

V&A Dundee

V&A Dundee is more than just a museum; it’s a hub for design and innovation. They offer various programs and events that connect creative professionals, provide inspiration, and support the development of new ideas.

Tax Incentives and Reliefs

R&D Tax Credits

The UK government offers R&D tax credits to businesses investing in innovation. These credits can significantly reduce the cost of R&D projects by allowing companies to reclaim a portion of their expenditure on eligible activities.


Scotland and the UK are committed to fostering a robust R&D and innovation ecosystem. Through a combination of government policies, funding opportunities, and collaborative initiatives, businesses and researchers are empowered to push the boundaries of innovation. By leveraging these resources, Scotland and the UK can continue to drive economic growth, enhance competitiveness, and address global challenges through groundbreaking research and technological advancements.

Patent Box

This tax incentive allows companies to pay a reduced rate of corporation tax on profits earned from patented inventions. The Patent Box encourages businesses to develop and commercialize new technologies, fostering a culture of innovation.


The support for innovation and R&D in the screen, creative, tech, and digital sectors in Scotland and the UK is robust and multifaceted. From financial grants and tax incentives to advisory services and collaborative ecosystems, businesses have access to a comprehensive array of resources to drive innovation and growth. Leveraging these supports can help companies turn innovative ideas into market-leading products and services, ensuring long-term success and competitiveness in an ever-evolving landscape.