Apply For Funding


We are happy to discuss any project, at any stage, before beginning with the formal application process, so please contact us and share your ideas.

Bids are invited for projects in any industry sector.

The following chart sets out the process and guidelines on how to apply for funding. Click on each block to find out more.

Applicants who wish to make an application for funding must first complete a short Project Overview Form. This must be completed by the lead company or organisation involved in the project and developed in collaboration with the university partner(s). If you don’t have a partner yet, please contact us and we can guide you on how to find one.

The Project Overview form will help us determine the eligibility of potential projects, and measure the likely number of applications to ensure appropriate resources are in place to help you with the application process.

Once we receive your Project Overview Form, a case manager will be assigned to your project. Your case manager will contact you to discuss your ideas and check eligibility, before you are invited to apply. Applicants are expected meet with The Data Lab to discuss deliverables and receive guidance on how to complete the budget form.

The Data Lab Projects must meet the following criteria:

  • The Project must demonstrate an economic or social benefit to Scotland, or a credible step towards this objective. This could be either through benefit to industry or through providing an intellectual property based advantage to Scotland or by enhancing public services.
  • The Project must be in collaboration with at least one Scottish university and led by at least one company or public sector body. The Project may consist of any number of companies and university collaborators.
  • Applicants should be in a position to commence projects within 3 months of approval.
  • The expected duration of funded projects is between 6 and 12 months. The Project should be able to demonstrate that it can be completed to its key milestones within this time.
  • The approach to how intellectual property will be administered and potential routes to exploitation must be agreed in advance of the project commencing. The Data Lab can provide advice to applicants if required.
  • Project proposals would typically be within Technology Readiness Levels 3 to 6 (TRL) (See section G in the link).
  • Projects must comply with State Aid rules. Please read our State Aid guidance before applying.

Once you receive an invitation to apply, you will be able to submit your full Application Form and Budget form. You will receive the forms from your case manager.

Please make sure you read The Data Lab Project Funding Rules and State Aid Funding Rules before you submit your application, as they include important information on the financial side of the application, including eligible costs to be funded.

The Data Lab Review Panel will meet on a regular basis to assess project applications. Your case manager will discuss expected approval timelines with you.

The Panel will consist of members of the Governance Board, Innovation Advisory Board and may also include external consultants if necessary. A minimum of three external assessors will review the applications with at least one Data Lab staff member overseeing the process.

The panel will evaluate applications using a weighted scorecard.

After each panel review meeting, all applicants will be notified of the result of their application.

If your project is selected for funding, you will receive an Offer Letter including a claims form and guidance on how to move forward.

Read more about IP guidance.

Unsuccessful applicants may request feedback on their project application. Feedback would aim to be constructive and outline particular areas for improvement. The decision of the Governing Board to award Funding shall be final without calls for dispute. The processes followed and decisions taken by the Panel shall be minuted.

What happens after project approval

Your Project has been approved in principle - what happens next? Download our Project Kick-off Guidance document for more information.

Following project kick-off, the next steps are explained in our Project Governance Guidance document.

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