Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

Funding competition: Innovate UK Smart Grants: April 2019

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


This competition provides funding for innovative research and development (R&D) from feasibility (including market research), through to technology or prototype testing and development stages up to (but not including) commercialisation.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing, innovative or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation.

All proposals must be business focused, rather than pure research. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy.

Who Can Apply:

Your project

  1. All applications must include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  2. Project durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  3. We will not accept projects with a duration below 6 months and/or costs below £25,000.
  4. Project durations between 19 months and 3 years must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.
  5. If you want to submit a project between 19 months and 3 years with total project costs between £2 million and £3 million as a permitted exception, you must email support@innovateuk.ukri.org with full justification at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.
  6. Projects must start by 6 January 2020 and end no later than 6 January 2023.

Lead applicant

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your R&D project activity in the UK
  • intend to commercially exploit the project results from the UK
  • be an SME if you want to work alone
  • include at least one SME if you want to collaborate with others (businesses, research organisations and/or charities)

An academic institution cannot lead on an application or work alone.

Single applicants must claim funding. If the project is collaborative, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

Your Proposal:

Your proposal must demonstrate:
    • a clear game-changing, innovative and/or disruptive and ambitious idea leading to new products, processes or services
    • an idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
    • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
    • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays and so on) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Projects can focus on:

  • feasibility studies, which may include market research
  • industrial research
  • experimental development, if appropriate for the challenge identified and proposed solution

Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

Project Dates:

  • Competition opens: Friday 26 February 2019
  • Thursday 2 May 2019 - Recording of applicant briefing
  • Competition closes: Wednesday 24 July 2019, 12:00pm
  • Applicants notified: Friday 27 September 2019

Interested in applying? We can help.

  • Win Rate - Myriad Associates’ boast a 70% success rate with Innovate UK applications. 
  • Winning Application - We’ve had some of the highest scoring applications in Europe. In fact, we recently helped 4 medical Irish companies win a total of €14.9m in the Irish DTIF Grant Funding competition.
  • Honest & Trustworthy – We will not waste your time or money. If we feel your application won't succeed, we will tell you before we undertake the application process.
  • Maximised Application - Benefiting from our expert grant writers will ensure your claim is maximised.
  • Risk-free Eligibility Call – Call us for a free eligibility call to see if you have an application worth applying for.

Click here to discuss your application with one of our expert grant bid writers or visit Innovate UK to find out more

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