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Moonshots for the UK: transforming tomorrow together

Help us to identify ambitious research and innovation priorities for the UK, share your vision with UKRI and DSIT.

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What are the major global challenges that will drive the future of research and innovation for the next few decades? Where is the UK best placed to lead groundbreaking innovation that will have truly significant impact?

With the help of our communities, we are looking to identify bold, ambitious, and transformative ideas for moonshots across the research and innovation landscape.

Identifying future innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) are seeking your ideas to help solve the big challenges that we are facing today. The plan is to identify future innovation investment opportunities which with public funding can be addressed here in the UK.

That would be delivered via Pioneer Innovation funding if we do not associate with Horizon Europe, or it may be via other alternative sources of funding should they become available, in the event that we do associate to Horizon Europe.

This is not a bidding process for funding or delivery responsibility. We want to bring together diverse teams from across research, industry and small and large business to work together to develop ideas to:

  • help us design the most promising opportunities to transform tomorrow together
  • help us identify bold and ambitious ideas for pioneering moonshots

The first stage of this process is for community members to submit your idea for a moonshot.

Moonshots should be submitted before 10 July 2023.

If you have any questions regarding the process, please refer to our further information page. If we have not addressed your specific question, you can ask us via email at


The term ‘moonshot’ stems from the 1960s and the US’s bold and ambitious programme to send a human to the Moon and to return them home safely within a decade.

The seven principles of a moonshot as defined by Pioneer Innovation are:

  • excite and inspire the public, academia, and industry
  • help solve an important societal issue
  • be truly disruptive and ground-breaking
  • focus on areas where the underpinning science is at a stage to make a major breakthrough feasible
  • be specific and well-defined in what it sets out to achieve, with a clear timeframe for completion
  • take advantage of areas where the UK is, or is poised to be, a world leader
  • generate significant additional benefits

This inspiring activity will help UKRI and DSIT to understand what matters for the future and how research and innovation can deliver them.

We are aware that there will be a diversity of potential moonshot suggestions, but we are seeking ideas that align with the one of the four broad strategic priorities of Pioneer Innovation. This is part of UK government’s contingency plan to Horizon Europe (Pioneer: global science for global good) these are:

  • health innovations (human, animal and plant)
  • green industrial growth
  • resilient UK
  • transformative technologies

The process and next steps

Phase one: ideas generation

19 June to 10 July: UK’s new moonshots engagement opens to submit your ideas.

From 11 July, UKRI will conduct an internal grouping and reviewing of the ideas submitted (for further information see the Pioneer Innovation Moonshot Engagement Framework (PDF, 1.5MB). We will then invite a selection of representatives whose ideas are the most inspiring, bold and ambitious, and in-line with the seven principles as set out above to phase two.

Phase two: present and connect

These in person and virtual events will take place in the week commencing 31 July. They will be by invitation and instructions for participation will be issued from 18 July.

These events will include opportunities to hear more about the ambitions and intent for a moonshots programme, meet and hear about the other moonshot ideas submitted, and discuss the ideas with a diverse panel.

The panel will be composed of research and innovation subject matter experts. Attendees should allow a full working day if attending in person and anticipate preparing a short outline for discussion and iteration with others at the meeting.

Our panels will collate a list of moonshots for further development based on the framework set out in the Pioneer Innovation Moonshot Engagement Framework (PDF, 1.5MB).

Phase three: shortlist, community building, ideas development

Throughout August, shortlisted moonshots along with their presenters will be invited to work with UKRI and DSIT. This includes convening consortia, if not established already, to ensure representation across research, large and small business and industry communities, to work up the moonshot idea into a more fully developed proposition.

These more developed moonshot proposals will be put forward to the ministers for a decision on which should be delivered should funding be made available.

For more information about the submission process see our New Moonshot engagement programme further information document.


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