Application information

Learn more about how to apply for the UKRI Healthy Ageing Catalyst Awards.


Each stage of our supportive application process will help you develop your ideas and build a compelling application. Scroll down to learn about scope and eligibility for the Awards, key dates and information and useful documents.

Scope and Eligibility

Activities during the award

This grant is not for standard research projects. We are looking for high-risk, high-reward proposals that build on research knowledge to create scalable products and services that can transform our lives as we age. Applicants should seek to find a route to sustaining their project and making impact at scale, whether through a commercial spin-out, social enterprise, IP licensing or other sustainability model.

The awards are designed to support early stage innovation. You may join with a problem you want to solve and a number of concepts to develop or test, or you may already have a prototype or early iteration of your product/service.

The funding can be used for a range of activities, including but not limited to: testing the desirability, feasibility and viability of your ideas, market research, developing partnerships, piloting, prototyping and user-testing.

You can view the second cohort of 22 Awardees and the third (current) cohort of 21 Awardees and their projects on the Healthy Longevity Challenge website.

Topic areas and disciplines

Applications should address the core aims of UKRI's Healthy Ageing Challenge which are to:

  • help people remain active, productive, independent and socially connected across generations for as long as possible and
  • narrow the gap between the experiences of the richest and the poorest.

Researchers from any discipline are encouraged to apply and we are interested in proposals that address issues in any area that impacts quality of later life (from housing to communities, finances to health, and anything in between).

We particularly welcome applicants from the arts, humanities and social sciences.

We also encourage early career researchers to apply; this is an exciting opportunity to gain experience as a Principal Investigator, as you do not need to be a permanent member of staff to be a PI on this Award.


In order to be eligible you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Your proposal must be within the scope of the Catalyst Awards (see information above).
  • You must be hosted by a UK university or an eligible research organisation for the duration of the award (minimum 9 months, maximum 12 months, starting from September 2023).
  • You must have a PhD or equivalent professional experience.

Projects that have a clinical application are eligible for the Catalyst Awards, however applications that have a stronger fit within other public funding streams (particularly clinical trials and drug development eligible for MRC or NIHR funding, or devices that require substantial regulatory approval such as Class II Medical Devices) will not be eligible for the Catalyst Awards. 

We are committed to ensuring that the Catalyst Awards are accessible and inclusive. All eligible candidates are encouraged to apply, whatever your background or identity. In line with UKRI’s commitment to support the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), reviewers and panel members will be advised not to use journal-based metrics to make funding decisions.

The university or other eligible institution will receive the funding on behalf of the applicant and will contribute 20% fEC, UKRI will contribute 80% fEC (£50,000).

In order to ensure that there is an individual dedicated to driving this project forwards and engaging with the programme of support from Zinc, we suggest that at least one member of the project team should commit at least 30% of their time to the Catalyst Award. Ideally this person would be the Principal Investigator. Please note this is guidance and not a requirement; you may be able to justify other team compositions that allow you to meet the core needs of driving the project forwards and engaging with the programme of support.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Application process

Pre-application Nov 2022-Jan 2023

Attend events and engage with supportive resources.

Stage 1: Expressions of interest

Call opens for expressions of interest on Tuesday 31st January, 2023 at 12:00 GMT (midday).

Call closes on Tuesday 21st February, 2023 at 16:00 GMT

You will be asked to submit 1) a short written application, 2) a video submission through our application portal, 3) a letter of support from your institution.

Shortlisting will take place in March 2023

Stage 2: Case for support (shortlisted candidates only)

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a case for support document, and will undertake a 'Dragon's Den'-style pitch.

Applicants will receive a development workshop and supportive office hours with the Zinc team during April, before the case for support deadline and pitch panels in May.

June 2023: Decisions announced

September 2023: Cohort and funding begins


How can you prepare for the application process?


The best way to prepare for the application process is by joining one of our Catalyst Awards workshops that will run in December and January 2023. 

In these workshops, you'll hear directly from Catalyst Awards winners, explore how to think with a commercial and scale-focussed mindset, and get tips and tricks for the application process.

You can also learn more in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Register for a Catalyst Awards Development Workshop below