Innovation support

Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund

Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF)

£15.8 million investment for academic institutions, public bodies, and third sector organisations to deliver projects that will help Scottish SMEs improve their manufacturing capabilities.

About the fund

The overall aim of the AMCF is for projects to have a significant impact on advancing the manufacturing capabilities of SMEs within Scotland and lead to long-term transformational change.

Up to £8.9 million of grant funding, comprising European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Scottish Government funding, has been awarded on a competitive basis. This will support the creation of a network of initiatives, both regionally-based and across Scotland, to stimulate the innovation performance of SMEs by providing services focused on improving manufacturing capabilities across Scotland.

Successful applicants will secure match funding of up to £6.9 million. The total investment over the next three years (2020-2023) is £15.8 million.

Services provided by the projects to SMEs are free of charge.

AMCF projects

Advancing Manufacturing Cluster Builder

The Advancing Manufacturing Cluster Builder (AMCB) will help AMCF grant recipients to deliver their projects by attracting SMEs. It will also support Scottish SMEs to find appropriate help, support and potential partnerships. Support is provided to SMEs free of charge.

The AMCB is being delivered by CeeD, who will use its wealth of experience in peer-to-peer learning and extensive networks within manufacturing and engineering, to serve that dual purpose role for Scotland.

If you would like to hear more about the Cluster Builder's services and what they can do for you, contact:

Find out about the LCCF projects and other Cluster Builder Services offering support to SMEs.

Project themes

Projects receiving grant funding contribute towards one or more of the following themes:

Reinvent the workforce

  • Increasing the capacity and diversity of the workforce, and creating a culture of continuous learning to foster innovation and creativity within the business

Adoption of new technology and processes

  • Including investment in SMART manufacturing and progress towards industry 4.0


  • Supporting SMEs to invest in the development of new products, services and/or processes which are new to the market or to the firm
  • Improving energy efficiency and decarbonising the industry
  • increasing Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD)

Supply chains

  • Strengthening existing supply chains
  • Identifying new opportunities

Encourage growth

  • Increasing productivity, expanding into new markets, exporting opportunities, and attracting foreign direct investment

Horizontal themes

Projects will also demonstrate:

  • Positive approaches to equal opportunities and non-discrimination
  • Equality between men and women
  • Sustainable development

Guidance for projects

AMCF guidance for applicants (PDF, 372kB)

Claims, process and reporting requirements (PDF, 472kB)

Audit, publicity and compliance guidance (PDF, 354kB)

Monitoring template guidance (PDF, 281kB)


Projects started from 1 April 2020 and will end by 30 June 2023.

Got a question?

Get in touch to find out more about this fund