Creative Catalyst Challenge Fund

Organisation: Innovate UK
Deadline: 22/07/24
Apply Online

Grants are available for businesses in the creative industries to fund the research and development of an innovative new product, system or process that decarbonises or reduces waste within the creative industries.

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The Creative Catalyst Challenge Fund is powered by Creative UK, and funded by Innovate UK (IUK).

Objectives of Fund

The Creative Catalyst Challenge Fund is a grant fund enabling creative talent to apply their capacity for innovation to tackle a specific challenge within the industry.

The Fund is intended to be used for the research and development of an innovative new product/system or process that decarbonises or reduces waste within the Creative Industries, reducing the impact on climate and/or leading towards net zero.

The proposed new product/system or process will enable companies to build upon their creative and commercial ideas, creating opportunity for business growth.

Proposals must:

  • Be from the creative industries or support the creative industries.
  • Demonstrate clear benefits for the UK creative industry and the wider UK.
  • Focus on a clear opportunity and the proposed innovation which addresses it.
  • Address and engage in cross-sector innovation that has positive impact on the environment.

Value Notes

For Round 2, the overall £250,000 funding pot will be allocated as follows:

  • One award of up to £100,000 for more established businesses with market traction and customers of a product, ideally with co-investment in place.
  • Two awards of up to £50,000 each for businesses 2+ years old looking to develop a new product or idea.
  • Two awards of up to £25,000 each – very early-stage/new businesses and R&D ideas.

Who Can Apply

Applications are invited from Registered Ltd Companies/SMEs based in the UK and working in the following sub-sectors of the Creative Industries:

  • Music & Sound
  • Advertising & Marketing
  • Crafts
  • Visual Arts
  • Dance, Theatre & Performance
  • Architecture
  • Publishing
  • AR, VR & Immersive
  • Createch
  • TV & Broadcasting
  • Film
  • Gaming


The money cannot be spent on:

  • Anything the applicant would have normally paid for without the grant, support such as overheads – this includes legal and accountancy fees which would be classed as an ongoing expense of running a business, eg payroll administration.
  • Statutory costs, eg health and safety.
  • All staff who do not perform a role directly associated with the delivery of the project, that is those performing supporting roles such as reception, central finance, IT support and organisation management.
  • Any expenditure which is not related to the project or named in the final approved budget.
  • Recoverable VAT.
  • Dividends.
  • Cash withdrawals.
  • Penalties, eg late filing fees.
  • Payments in advance of need.
  • Retrospective payments, prior to project.
  • Spend on alcohol within refreshments, entertaining.
  • Non-standard UK travel, eg first-class travel.
  • International travel, unless agreed at outset.

(This is not an exhaustive list.)

Due to the availability of other funds and support – the fund will not be accepting applications from:

  • Fashion businesses/products/ideas.
  • Monitoring or reporting tools for the sector.

Eligible Expenditure

The programme will support creative and commercial ideas that develop new technologies and processes for decarbonising and reducing waste.

Some examples of what could be funded:

  • Developing/ prototyping new tech for reducing excess waste at music festivals.
  • Developing innovative new manufacturing processes for an everyday product within a creative industry.
  • Innovation in access to power – eg on a film set.

Examples of the types of projects being sought:

  • Developing/prototyping innovative new manufacturing processes for an everyday product within a creative industry.
  • Developing/prototyping innovations in energy efficiency or low-carbon power in creative industry operations, eg on film sets and at events or in creative technologies.
  • Developing/prototyping new tech or services for reducing waste and introducing more circular economy principles eg in production, at events, in creative industries specific manufacturing.

The money can be spent on:

  • Equipment (hire or purchase).
  • Wages – for PAYE personnel directly engaged on the project (including graduate and/or student placements).
  • Travel, venue costs.
  • Payment for freelancers and consultants.
  • Marketing and publicity.


United Kingdom

How To Apply

Round 2 is now open. The deadline for applications is 22 July 2024 (09:00).

Applications are made online.

More information can be accessed at the Creative UK website.

Contact Creative UK for further information.

Documents & links


For further information on how to obtain this fund, please contact the following:

  1. Enquiries
    Creative UK
    Tomorrow Building
    130 Broadway
    2nd Floor / Suite 7
    M50 2AB
    Tel: 03330 235240
Organisation: Innovate UK
Deadline: 22/07/24
Apply Online