• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £2 million to support feasibility studies looking at innovative ways to improve the user experience in the digital economy.

  • Programme: Feasibility studies

  • Award: Up to £2 million

  • Opens: 16 Mar 2015, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 29 Apr 2015, 12:00

  • Closes: 06 May 2015, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Enhancing user experience using personal data

Competition results

See the competition results here.


Innovate UK is to invest up to £2 million to support feasibility studies looking at innovative ways to improve the user experience in the digital economy.


We are looking for projects that use the increasing amount of personal data generated by individuals to gain insights into user needs and behaviours.


The competition is open to small and medium-sized enterprises singly or in collaboration. Proposals must be led by a business.


Small businesses could receive up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses 60%.


We expect projects to last 6 to 12 months and to range in size from total costs of £90,000 to £120,000.


This competition opens on 16 March 2015. The deadline for registration is noon on 29 April 2015, and the deadline for applications is noon on 6 May 2015.


Briefing events for potential applicants will take place on: 
  • 17 March 2015: West One, 9-10 Portland Place, London W1B 1P   
  • 19 March 2015: The Studio, 51 Lever Street, Manchester M1 1FN
  • 20 March 2015: The Scotsman, 20 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1TR

The event will be recorded for applicants who are unable to attend.


Key dates

Competition opens 16 March 2015
Competition briefing

17 March 2015

19 March 2015

20 March 2015
Registration deadline noon 29 April 2015
Deadline for receipt of applications noon 6 May 2015



Despite the rapid pace of new technology development, the companies that get products and services to market first are not always the most successful. Increasingly, the quality of the user experience is an important factor in a product's success.


User experience has three basic components: utility - the product fulfils a user need and does what is designed to do; usability - the product is usable and can react to user behavior; desirability - the product is aligned to the user's desires.


Companies have to understand, anticipate and interpret user needs and behaviour to design products that provide a good user experience. These insights should be gained early enough in the development process to ensure a product or service answers a user need, rather than solving a problem that doesn't exist. They should also be reviewed periodically because peoples' behaviour, and what they want and desire, constantly changes over time.


Personal data may be created directly or indirectly by an individual and their activity. It includes both sensitive data, such as health records and banking, and behavioural data, such as browser history and social media activity.


With everyday services being digitised, the growth of the internet of things, and the rapid adoption of smart personal devices, personal data is being generated with ever-increasing speed, volume and diversity.


Analysis of personal data, either from a third party or generated by a product itself is one of the most effective ways to gain insight into user needs. These insights can be used to:

  • inform the design specifications of a new product
  • improve an existing product
  • personalise a service so that it more readily addresses an individual's specific needs, behaviours and desires.


Proposals should explore new ways of using personal data to enhance users' experience of a product or service.


We are interested in projects that:

  • harness personal data to develop or improve products
  • employ innovative methodology to explore opportunities arising from analysing personal data


Successful applications will demonstrate understanding of the commercial benefits of user-centred-design and use personal data to design innovative products that provide a great user experience.


Projects should focus on one or more of the three components of user experience outlined below.


Utility: Gain detailed insight into user needs and requirements in a specific sector area and design a new product or service that fulfils this need.


Usability: Gain detailed insights into user behaviour when using a specific product or service. Use them to design a new product or design improvements to an existing product, which can anticipate this behaviour, making it more inclusive and easier to use.


Desirability: Understand what data to capture, how to analyse it, and how to use these insights. Ensuring that a specific product or service can adjust to changes in user needs, behaviour and desires.


Successful projects can be focused on large user groups or on personalised solutions for individuals.


Proposals should consider the role of trust and reputation when using personal data. They should also demonstrate that they follow best practice for privacy and security of personal data.


NOTE: Innovate UK is currently running another R & D competition focused on user experience called "Enhancing user experience in retail". 

Funding allocation and project details

We have allocated up to £2 million to fund feasibility studies in this competition.


Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we pay varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and size and type of organisation involved.


Small businesses are eligible to receive up to 70% of their project costs as grant, medium-sized businesses 60%. For further information see http://interact.innovateuk.org/funding-rules


We expect total project costs to range from £90,000 to £120,000. Projects should last 6 to 12 months.


Projects must be business-led by an SME. They may be led by a single company or collaborative.


To find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME, see: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition/index_en.htm


NOTE: Innovate UK also runs regular Collaboration Nation events. They enable companies that have been successful in feasibility studies competitions to showcase the results of their projects to their peers and others, with a view to finding new partners to collaborate with and new sources of funding. For more information search for ‘Collaboration Nation' at www.innovateuk.gov.uk



Application process

This competition will open on 16 March 2015. Applicants must first register via our website. The deadline for registration is at noon 29 April 2015 while the deadline for applications is at noon 6 May 2015.


There will be briefings in London on 17 March 2015, Manchester on 19 March 2015 and Edinburgh on 20 March 2015 to highlight the main features of the competition and to explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend.


You can register for these events through http://connect.innovateuk.org/events


Note: All deadlines are at noon.

More information

To apply you must first register with us through this competition page. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications.


Competition helpline: 0300 321 4357

Email: support@innovateuk.gov.uk


Help for SMEs to grow faster

Small businesses that combine the funding they receive from us with additional business support are more likely to grow faster. If you are an SME and receive funding through this competition, you will automatically gain access to a growth workshop, an online diagnostic and a growth expert to help you develop a growth plan. This may include coaching, mentoring and entrepreneurial skills training.


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public. E-mail pressoffice@innovateuk.gov.uk with any queries.