Delivered by

University of Hull

Funded until 2023 by

European Regional Development Fund


Covid-19 Support

If your project is prompted by a requirement to COVID-19. Please let the SparkFund Team know so we can provide you with assistance and support. 

We're still here to support you

In response to the current COVID-19 situation in the UK, we would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that the University of Hull has taken a number of steps to ensure that the SparkFund project can continue supporting you and your business while keeping the SparkFund team and all stakeholders safe.

The full team are working from home and are contactable by phone, email and various video messaging services.

Telephones: each member of the team can be contacted on their mobile, if you don’t have the right number let us know by emailing and we will connect you.

Emails: all our team have full access to emails. If you don’t know the email address of the key contact you are looking for, please email letting us know who you are trying to contact and we will make sure you have the right information.

Video calls: If you would prefer to use a video messaging service please contact us or send us an email invite and we can connect via an online platform of preference.

If you’re new to the project and don’t have a named contact, please get in touch by competing the enquiry form and we will be in touch.

How can I use the funding?

SparkFund offers revenue support, although in exceptional cases we can support very low level capital purchases.

SparkFund grants can be used to support a range of business ventures to drive innovation and growth. You may wish to improve or develop exciting new products, services or processes. This may seem vague, but we really are open to hear about your business innovations no matter how big or how small. Simply put; we're here to help you move your business forward.

To see how we can help contact the team, we'd be happy to discuss your aspirations.

What is match funding?

Match funding is the financial contribution your business must make towards the innovation or research project. The SparkFund team will work with you to define the cost of your innovation or R&D project and how much we can potentially contribute. There are strict rules around the types of match funding that you contribute, but in simple terms, if it goes through your company accounts, then it would usually be acceptable.

Am I eligible?

Is your business ready to undertake a research project that will make a difference?

SparkFund can help small or medium size enterprises (?) (SMEs) that are based, or are planning to locate, in the Humber or York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Areas.

The best way to find out if your project could be eligible is to speak with our Innovation Managers.

How will grants and vouchers be paid?

All approved SparkFund projects are led and owned by the applicant business. It will be you that enters into a contract with the specialist provider needed to deliver the innovation or R&D project and all payments for this contract will be made between you and them the contractor. Grants and vouchers will be paid by SparkFund to the beneficiary business in arrears. Details will be agreed as part of the application process, but each beneficiary business must be able to pay for the service in advance of submitting a claim for payment to the SparkFund team.  

When will I need to re-pay any grants or vouchers?

You won't. SparkFund's Innovation Vouchers and R&D grants are non-repayable and are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

What happens when I contact SparkFund?

The team will explore your innovation or R&D project idea. This can be done over the phone or we could come and see you at your premises. This allows the team to work out how best to support your plans. There is no obligation on your part and anything you tell us will be treated as confidential. We won’t share your contact details with any third parties without your permission.

How do I apply?

The SparkFund team can help you apply for funding. The process is simple and we will work with your business to complete your application.

Who decides if my application will be successful?

Your project will be reviewed by an independent awards panel made up of a range of people with specialist skills and knowledge. If approved, the SparkFund team will provide project support and help you make the most of the opportunity.

What’s the process when my application is approved? 

  1. You work with the SparkFund team to procure the support needed to deliver the project through a tendering process.
  2. You select a provider and enters into a contract for this activity.
  3. The project is delivered in line with the procurement specification and contract.
  4. You pay the provider in line with their usual terms and conditions.
  5. The SparkFund team helps you submit evidence of costs for the voucher or grant to be paid. This will be at the level approved in your application.
  6. All approved claims submitted to the SparkFund team for payment will be paid to beneficiary SME within 30 days.


Still have a question to ask? Watch our explainer video or Get in touch with us so we can answer your questions.