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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure GB-2016-19/2700 – measures in United Kingdom

Women in Innovation Awards

Women in Innovation Awards

Country United Kingdom , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 May 2016
Context Green Transition, Digital Transformation, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes of management approach
Author Claire Evans (Warwick University) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 05 January 2023)

Background information

The Women in Innovation Awards programme , established in 2016 by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, provides financial support and practical advice for women innovators in the UK. Women are eligible if they are the founder, co-founder or senior decision maker at a business that is based in the UK and has been active for at least one year. The work must focus on one of the government’s ‘Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges’:

  • artificial intelligence and data
  • the ageing society
  • clean growth
  • the future of mobility

Content of measure

The Women in Innovation Awards programme, which offers de minimis aid, assigns a grant of GBP 50,000 (€55,000 as of 13 June 2020) to a number of innovative UK businesswomen. As part of the award, the programme also offers bespoke mentoring, coaching and business support to the award recipients.

The award programme is part of the ‘Women in Innovation’ campaign, which aims to encourage female-led innovation. Other elements of the campaign include events aimed to provide practical advice and tools for women innovators, exploring topics ranging from marketing through to intellectual property, funding and finance and HR and recruitment. The events also enable women innovators to network, share experiences and develop collaborative projects.

The ‘Women in Innovation’ campaign is managed by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), a business focused network that supports scalable and sustainable innovations across sectors to drive economic growth for the UK.

Use of measure

In 2016, only 1 in 7 applications for funding submitted to Innovate UK were led by women. Since the launch of the Women in Innovation programme in 2016, GBP 1.2 million (€1.3 million as of 13 June 2020) funding support was awarded through the funding competition and the number of women leading applications to Innovate UK has increased by 70%.

In 2016, 15 female-led businesses were given funding and 16 award winners were given tailored business support.

In 2018, the second Women in Innovation competition offered funding, mentoring and business support to nine women innovators. Six Building Success events were held across the UK in 2018/19, with more than 500 women entrepreneurs attending.

In 2020, funding was available for 10 grants. Another new element of the programme is a collaboration with Founders4Schools, to engage with schools and inspire future women innovators.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Female workers
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions




Eurofound (2022), Women in Innovation Awards, measure GB-2016-19/2700 (measures in United Kingdom), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.