The Co-Innovate Programme will be delivered in five strands of support, as illustrated in the diagram above. Every business and their needs are different, and so too is their journey through the Co-Innovate Programme. The Co-Innovate team will identify the key areas where they can positively impact each business and help them to meet their innovation needs, and tailor our support to fit each unique situation.


It is important that every participant enterprise gains an awareness of the development potential for its business in improving its capability to engage in collaborative R&I and a knowledge of how to go about it, and this is the first point of engagement for every business on the programme. 1,408 SMEs will be recruited onto the programme.

• 696 in Northern Ireland

• 360 in Ireland

• 352 in Scotland

More than 100 FREE R&I workshops will be delivered across the eligible region on an ongoing basis, ensuring equality of access for SMEs, and businesses are welcome to attend any regardless of your own location. Each workshop can be attended by up to 25 SMEs and is an opportunity to learn more about innovation itself, some useful tools for implementing it across all areas of your business (not just in terms of the products or services you provide), network with other like-minded businesses, and discuss case studies on local SME success stories of Innovation for their business. Delivery will be by experienced personnel provided by InterTradeIreland, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

Capability Review

1,200 SMEs will be selected to undertake a detailed business status review, which is a discussion with an experienced business advisor in order to establish each company’s foundations for supporting innovation in general. Strengths and opportunities for improvement will be identified and the Co-Innovate Consultants will also provide a full report on our findings and meet face to face to give this feedback with each business.

469 of these SMEs who are ready to progress will receive a comprehensive innovation audit, again face to face with experienced Innovation Consultants. The rest of the SMEs will be referred to more appropriate supports.

The audits will provide the SMEs with very detailed analysis of their innovation capabilities, review any potential research & innovation project (R&I) opportunities, and give bespoke advice and guidance on how to develop their R&I capability and growth potential further in line with the company’s own goals. A clear action plan to achieve their aims and objectives will be provided, as well as a benchmarking report comparing your business against a selection of local SMEs whom are regarded as already being innovative.

These capability reviews, are free of charge to business.

Expert Advice

94 SMEs will apply and be selected to receive expert advice based on the discussions during our Capability Review stage of the Programme. Each SME will be provided with up to ten days of innovation specific capability development consultancy, delivered by expert R&I enablers. This support can be in one specific area or a combination of different needs and can be used to help the business prepare for the collaborative project stages of the Co-Innovate Programme.

Again, these capability reviews, are free of charge to business.

Business with Academia

70 SMEs will progress to a 12 month cross-border (within the eligible area of the Programme) research project in partnership with an academic/research institution. Co-Innovate will help you to undertake a 3 way cross-border partnerships between the SME, Academic Institutes, and a dedicated Project Manager to deliver a R&I project to develop a new product / process / service / system. The Co-Innovate team will help identify the most appropriate Academic partner within the eligible region to help you to deliver the project successfully and provide some assistance to the recruitment of the Programme Associate.

We offer:-

  • 12 month project with Project Manager salary support (capped to a maximum value of €20,000 at a rate of 50% match funding)
  • 3 consultancy days provided by Academic Institute to develop your project proposal application on your behalf.
  • 24 consultancy days provided by each Academic Institute and managed by Co-Innovate Programme Managers.
  • Travel and subsistence support for project related activities.

Business to Business

The Co-Innovate Programme will support 15 business to business partnerships and 4 R&I network / cluster projects will be developed. These need to be of a cross-border basis, within the eligible area of the Programme. Each project will be of a 2-year duration and receive grant assistance for their co-operative R&I activity to develop a new product / process / service / system. There is a focus in this stage in establishing network projects in the Life & Health Sciences, Renewable Energy, and Agri-Food sectors, but we are not limited to these areas only. If you don’t already know a business partner which can provide your missing project capabilities, don’t worry as this is something the Co-Innovate team can help identify through our networks.

We offer:-

  • Up to €7,000 funding for resources to complete a feasibility study and a full business plan application for the R&I project.
  • Grant per business to business partnership of up to a maximum 50% eligible funding capped at €150,000.
  • Grant per innovation network cluster up to a maximum 50% eligible funding capped at €300,000.