The grant

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion by focussing on the four key areas of innovation and research, the digital agenda, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and a low-carbon economy. You can find out more via the European Commission website.

To be eligible for the grant, your business must:

  • Be registered within or have an operational office/facility within Greater Manchester
  • Employ less than 250 staff
  • Have a turnover less than €50m, or a balance sheet less than €43M

The programme

Through the programme, local businesses can engage with the specialist staff and facilities within the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) in a variety of ways, including:

Phase 1

All successful applicants gain access to our phase 1 programme, whereby our specialist staff and equipment is available to help understand if your products could be augmented through the use of graphene. The exact nature of the programme will be specific to your requirements, but may include:


Often the entry point for SMEs that want to learn more about graphene and how their products/services could be enhanced through the use of the technology. We run several open sessions at the GEIC throughout the year, including tours of our state-of-the-art labs.

Project scoping

Our application specialists will spend time discussing your products in detail to understand the particular challenges you have and how the potential use of graphene could improve overall performance.

Lab-based R&D

The GEIC houses 6 unique labs, each of which specialises in a different research programme. You will gain access to our specialist staff, who will undergo some basic initial research into how graphene could enhance your products.

Phase 2

Around 1/3rd of phase 1 projects make their way to phase 2, whereby the initial research and findings from the first phase are extended and we aim to help you take the product from initial concept through to something nearing production. Within this phase you could benefit from:

Extended R&D

We can offer long term R&D based collaborative projects which will work to develop your product or technology. Projects include the time of specialist scientists and engineers as well as access to state-of-the art equipment and facilities.

Pre-production prototypes

We have the ability at the GEIC to produce low volume, pre-production prototypes that allow you to fully test your new products before committing to the expense of volume manufacturing. These prototypes are made to the highest quality and provide a true representation of what the finished article will look like.

Manufacturing preparation

Our experts will work with you to understand how your manufacturing partners can adapt their tools and techniques ready for the production of your enhanced products.

Grant writing

If your project could benefit from further subsidised grant aid, then our professional bid team can help write and lead on your proposals, extending your grant well into the future.

Main image: artist’s impression ofID Manchester development / © The University of Manchester