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i-Con Innovation Challenge: solving key challenges for the built environment

Due to a high number of applications the first round of Stage 1 applications was suspended on Friday 26 June.

Six projects have been funded in Phase 1 of the fund with a combined project value of nearly £250,000, almost £125,000 awarded by CSIC to successful applicants who have designed projects covering a wide spectrum of areas including economic recovery, technology, skills and new processes. You can read more about these projects here.  

We are reviewing the focus and timing for the next round of funding which will be announced shortly, but you can still register your challenges and solutions and reach out to other participants to discuss possible collaboration.

CSIC is initially offering funding awards of up to £25,000 for industry to work with academic partners to research or develop impactful solutions for well articulated challenges being faced by construction companies, asset managers, the supply chain or the construction workforce.  

These solutions should solve and improve current issues and stimulate the recovery and ongoing resilience after this crisis. 

We are also working with our varied network of partners to boost this fund through their commitment to review suitable stage 1 proposals in order to invest in the recovery of the sector. 

Who can apply?

The i-Con Innovation Challenge is a 2-stage application process. Stage 1 proposals can come from a Solution Provider without confirmed participation of a Challenge Holder, however a Stage 2  proposal should be from a Solution Provider in partnership with a Challenge Holder.  Stage 2 proposals will be by invitation only.

Challenge Holders
can be organisations, public or private, working in the construction sector and based in Scotland. They should provide their support to the solution provider by way of knowledge and feedback, demonstration and potentially some project funding where possible.

Solution Providers should include a lead Scottish partner, academic and/or industry, but can include knowledge, expertise, products or services by partners from outside Scotland.

Please ensure your profile fully describes your challenge or solution.  Profiles may be rejected that solely promote an existing solution that has not been tailored to challenges in construction as a result of Covid-19, or that do not contain sufficient information.

Evaluation process

Stage 1 and Stage 2 proposals are evaluated on a rolling 3-week basis to ensure that new solutions can be developed and implemented as soon as possible.   

Stage 1 proposals will be reviewed by an internal CSIC panel to assess suitability for CSIC's i-Con Innovation Challenge Fund criteria.  On permission of the applicant, they will also be reviewed by our network of funding partners against their funding criteria to ensure the best funding route for the project is progressed. 

Stage 2 i-Con Innovation Challenge Fund proposals will be evaluated using an independent evaluation panel of three representatives from CSIC's Innovation Champion network and a senior representative from CSIC. 

Proposal deadlines for the initial fund period are: 24 April, 15 May, 5 and 26 June.  Further dates will be announced in due course.   


Evaluation criteria

Both Stage 1 and Stage 2 proposals to the i-Con Innovation Challenge Fund will be evaluated on the following criteria:  

  1. Time to market of solution in relation to current crisis
  2. Potential benefits of the project:  both short term and longer term impact in relation to current crisis
  3. Potential benefits of the project: longevity of impact to answer wider issues facing the construction sector
  4. Potential benefits of the project: extent of the impact across the construction sector
  5. Ability to execute/resource effectively: experience,  knowledge, additional funding and resource available to develop and implement the solution
  6. Opportunity to further develop, scale and replicate the solution
  7. Fit with CSIC’s aims, objectives and key themes: increased digitisation, increased industrialisation, sustainability and cultural change
  8. Overall value for public money

How to apply

Please note that the closing date for the first round of stage 1 applications is 26 June 2020.  You can still register and explore a project idea.  We will announce the next round of applications soon.  

Submit your Stage 1 i-Con Innovation Challenge Fund proposal here

Other funding initiatives

We are also working with our varied network of partners to ensure projects have the potential to be funded through the best possible means.  With your permission, stage 1 proposals will be presented to our committed partners to review in order to invest in the recovery of the sector. 

LIVE OPPORTUNITY - UKRI invites proposals for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.  See here for more information.

For more information on other sources of funding and support please visit the i-Con Knowledge Hub on our website.    

The i-Con Innovation Challenge Fund is managed by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre backed by the Scottish Government through a partnership of the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

For any queries or questions about the initiative or how to apply please contact us at innovationteam@cs-ic.org


Closed since 31 March 2021

Organised by


Participants 102
Meetings 20


Australia 1
Germany 1
India 1
Ireland 2
Italy 1
Spain 1
United Kingdom 103
Total 110


Local Authority 2
Lead Contractor 3
Subcontractor 3
Professional Services e.g. engineers, surveyors, consultants 17
Product/Systems Supplier 28
Service Provider e.g. digital 26
Knowledge/Expertise 1
Skills and Training Provider 2
University/College 17
R&D Institution 4
Other 7
Total 110