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R&D grants can provide an essential source of match funding for your innovative project. These projects must seek to resolve a technical uncertainty by undertaking risky or innovative research and development. R&D grants are often awarded to projects considered too risky for private sector investment. Proposed R&D projects and costs must also be realistic, with a clear commercial opportunity, and have the aim of creating new or exploiting significant growth within the market.
Government funding incentives currently available for UK businesses
UK companies and organisations can apply for a number of UK-based government grants and European grant funding. The main source of UK R&D grant funding is from Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency. Innovate UK runs funding competitions which can help you develop your innovative idea and make it successful. Innovate UK funding competitions provide funding between £25,000 and £10 million and typically fund technical or market feasibility studies, proof of concept projects, and the development of prototypes.
European grant funding for UK companies includes Horizon 2020, with nearly €80 billion of grant funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) and EUREKA Eurostars, for innovative SMEs wanting to take part in collaborative research with partners across Europe and associated countries.
Innovative companies seeking grant funding opportunities
External funding – whether from public or private sources – can help start-up companies, and other innovative businesses, set themselves up for success. Investment can help companies to speed up innovation, do things they couldn’t do alone, and access market opportunities, including additional funding.
What are the stages of an R&D grant application?
You’ll need the right combination of people to cover the grant application’s key aspects: the technology, market knowledge, commercialisation plan, and financial details. Preparation of a grant application can take over 300 hours of work, so it’s best to make sure you have everything in place before you start the application process.
Once you’ve made your application, it will be evaluated by the grant funding organisation. This process varies by competition, with some competitions subject to a ‘portfolio’ approach to ensure that funds are allocated across all the strategic areas in the competition scope. Successful applications must usually meet a quality threshold.
It will generally take up to 3 months (although it can be longer) after you make your submission to be notified of the funding decision.
What types of digital innovation projects qualify for R&D grants?
Your R&D grant funding application is more likely to succeed if it: