Energy Challenge Funds

A coastline at sunset


Funding is available from the Energy Challenge Fund for short-term collaborative energy projects between UHI Energy researchers and industry.

Expertise, funding and facilities are available to help progress your business ideas with the Energy Innovation Team. Here are some more details:

  • Grants are available up to £3500
  • Project lengths typically between 1-6 months
  • Projects are delivered in collaboration with a public-sector organisation or company and UHI
  • The Challenge fund will cover academic project costs and is paid directly to UHI
  • Projects can involve multiple UHI academic partners
  • Preference will be given to companies which have a contribution in cash or in-kind (e.g., staff time, materials)

View some of our Challenge Fund case studies here.



  • Address business and social enterprise-led challenges that can be tackled through accessing university expertise across different sectors.
  • Enable enhanced engagement between the university and innovative local companies.
  • Encourage projects that involve collaboration across the UHI partnership.
Fields in front of rolling hills


The Challenge fund can be used for the following types of activity:

  • To undertake market / information gathering visits to client or proposed development site / facility, to understand the context and business opportunity prior to proposal development.
  • To undertake subject / sector reviews, preliminary scoping or research feasibility including meetings with potential partners, funding bodies etc. leading to a KE / innovation proposal.
  • To scope out the needs of translational research projects involving multiple partners leading to large collaborative proposal to new funding calls.
  • To develop a new concept via workshop / round table or focus group on novel / emerging science areas to obtain perspectives from diverse stakeholders on way forward.
  • To prepare or adapt existing products and services (e.g., models, methods, decision tools, etc.) for discussions with a new potential client / business.

A successful UHI Energy Challenge Fund Application will be one that is ultimately beneficial to commercially relevant energy activities at UHI, and have ongoing, or follow-on potential, whether that be of an academic or entrepreneurial nature.


Next Steps

If you have a project idea please contact the UHI Energy Innovation Team who can identify suitable partners within the University.

UHI Staff are welcome to propose projects and if you have a project idea in mind please contact the Energy Innovation team who can try and connect you to an industry partner.