The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

The ICO grants programme invites organisations to bid for funding to support independent research into privacy and data protection issues and develop privacy enhancing solutions.

What is the grants programme

We have introduced this Grants Programme to promote good practice - to support independent, innovative research and solutions focused on privacy and data protection issues. The Grants Programme supports the delivery of the ICO Information Rights Strategic Plan 2017-2021. Eligible organisations are invited to bid for grants to facilitate independent research and projects.  

The objectives of the Grants Programme are to:

  • support and encourage research and privacy enhancing solutions in significant areas of data protection risk, focused on projects that will make a real difference to the UK public;
  • increase awareness of privacy enhancing solutions with data controllers across the UK;
  • improve understanding of how individuals view privacy issues, interactions with new technologies and promote better public awareness;
  • promote uptake and application of research results by relevant stakeholders, including policy makers; and
  • develop existing privacy research capacity in academic and not-for-profit sectors.


The programme is open to academic institutions, civil society groups, trade and industry associations and organisations with a genuine commitment to public benefit outcomes. A number of awards will be made each year of between £20,000 and £100,000.

We have set six strategic goals in our Information Rights Strategic Plan:

  • increase the public’s trust and confidence in how data is used and made available;
  • improve standards of information rights practice through clear, inspiring and targeted engagement and influence;
  • maintain and develop influence within the global information rights regulatory community;
  • stay relevant, provide excellent public service and keep abreast of evolving technology;
  • enforce the laws we help shape and oversee; and
  • to be an effective and knowledgeable regulator for cyber related privacy issues.

This year we are seeking privacy by design or accountability solutions which focus on key privacy challenges and the privacy implications of new technologies.  Examples of technologies we are interested in include big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, biometric data and facial recognition technology. We are also interested in projects that address the privacy challenges related to children and vulnerable adults.  Examples of other challenges are contained in the plan or in recent guidance of policy documents.

Proposals do not need to be technology based but must have practical application and provide real world solutions for the UK public and organisations. Full criteria for the grants programme can be found in the Guide for Applicants.

Find out more about how to apply in our Grants Programme webinar.

This research feeds into the ICO’s own policy thinking and must benefit the people of the UK.

An expenses schedule, company accounts and governance documents must be attached to all application forms.

Queries about the ICO Grants Programme should be sent to

For information about what we do with personal data see our privacy notice.