Business Expertise

Enabling Innovation: Research to Application

Funding to connect businesses with research power

Driving growth and supporting innovation in the region by connecting businesses with funding, facilities and academic expertise

EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application) supports innovation in the East of England by providing businesses with access to specialist facilities and academic expertise, including consultancy and collaborative research through funding opportunities. Backed by £4.7million of Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund, EIRA seeks to boost economic growth and productivity in the region.

EIRA began in April 2018 and will run until March 2021. This ground-breaking project harnesses the expertise of seven universities and colleges in the region to offer knowledge exchange across three key areas:

  • artificial intelligence
  • biotechnology
  • digital creative

These themes support a known market need within the region. The network is led by the University of Essex and our Eastern ARC partners the University of East Anglia, the University of Kent as well as:

  • University of Suffolk
  • Harlow College
  • Norwich University of the Arts
  • Writtle University College.

EIRA is further supported by BT Group, TechEast and AgriTech East, Digital Catapult, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) and South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

Funding options

EIRA offer a range of majority-funded grants to help you develop new products and services, as well as opportunities to work collaboratively with partners on important topics and issues for your business. Some of the support EIRA can offer your business includes Innovation Vouchers, Research and Development Grants, i-Teams, Hothouse events, Start-up Microfinance and Innovation Internships. If you would like to find out more, get in touch with us through the EIRA website.

Benefits to your business

  • Work with academic experts who can bring new ideas and solutions to your business
  • Access specialist facilities to design and develop new products and services
  • Secure funding to support the innovation of a new product or solution
  • Increase your efficiency, profitability and competitive edge through a range of activities including hothouse events and innovation vouchers
  • Find an extra pair of hands to help with the delivery of your project through taking on a student or graduate intern
  • Inject some fresh thinking by mentoring a team of interdisciplinary students who will work on developing a solution for issues affecting your business


EIRA funds the majority cost of each activity through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund. The remaining cost is paid for by the beneficiary business.


Whether you’re a start-up, an SME or a large company, EIRA has an opportunity that could work for you. Businesses should be based within the East of England, or looking to bring significant benefit to this region. Get in touch with us to find out whether your business is eligible.

Case study

EIRA awards R&D grant to fund immersive VR experience

An immersive theatre experience using the latest virtual reality techniques will premiere at the Lakeside Theatre after securing funding from the EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application) project.

EIRA has awarded £24,994 to renowned poet Murray Lachlan Young to support the production of his new show, The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps. EIRA have supported this immersive show by funding research into the use of virtual reality (VR) technology on audience experience. With growing interest in the use of immersive technologies, EIRA-backed research has led to the development of a pre- and post- show VR game that compliments and enhances the darkly gothic performance.

Read the EIRA news story on their website

eira and research england combined logo

Get in touch
Get in touch
EIRA Directorate
Telephone: 01206 876015