EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application)

EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application)

EIRA is a collaborative project between seven universities and colleges in the East of England. It supports innovation by providing businesses with access to academic expertise, including consultancy and collaborative research through funding opportunities. Backed by £4.7million of Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, EIRA seeks to drive economic growth and productivity in the region and has support available for businesses of all sizes, from start-ups, to SMEs and larger companies. EIRA offers knowledge exchange across three key areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology and digital creative and can support businesses through:

Innovation Vouchers

Innovation vouchers can provide small or medium-sized business with up to £6k to engage with EIRA expertise, with the opportunity to foster a long-term partnership. Funds pay for academic experts to provide you with tailored expertise. EIRA funds 80% of the total value of innovation vouchers, with companies funding the remaining 20%.

Research and Development Grants

Research and Development grants can provide companies of all sizes with £20-50k of funded support for collaborative R&D activity for projects. They can help with:

  • feasibility testing
  • development of a product or service
  • identifying the next development required
  • de-risking a complex innovation
  • applying our expert knowledge to enhance your products
  • expanding your current knowledge
  • diversifying product range
  • enhancing products from prototypes
  • providing underpinning research evidence
  • optimising organisational processes

EIRA funds 75% of the total value of Research and Development grants, with companies funding the remaining 25%.


Bringing fresh thinking and new ideas to organisations, i-Teams involve a business mentoring a team of interdisciplinary students to develop a product solution for issues affecting their organisation.

Hothouse events

Businesses can collaborate with academics from across the EIRA network to focus on solutions for challenges most relevant to their organisation. Hothouse events may be hosted by BT at their Adastral Park R&D headquarters, or EIRA partner institutions, and provide opportunities to network with the wider business community, whilst utilising BT’s new interdisciplinary graduate research centre.

Start-up Microfinance

Students and recent graduates from across the EIRA network can apply for a grant of up to £3k to help kick-start a business idea.

Innovation Internships

From across the network, EIRA can place a student or recent graduate within a business based in the East of England as an innovation internship. These internships should offer developmental opportunities across the three key areas of biotechnology, digital creative and artificial intelligence, or support the business with an innovative project. The internships teams from partner institutions can work with businesses to place an intern in an organisation, that can provide valuable work experience to the student and an extra pair of hands on a busy project for the business.

If you would like to find out more, get in touch with us through our website: www.eira.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter for latest news and events.

Support Scheme:

  • - Access to Funding and Finance
  • - Business Courses and events
  • - Business exhibitions
  • - Business Growth Consultancy
  • - Business Mentoring
  • - Business Networking Events
  • - Business Planning
  • - Business Support
  • - Business Workshops
  • - Business workshops and events
  • - Consultancy & Mentoring