There are several sources of grant funding for innovative projects, from both UK-based agencies, such as Innovate UK, and from EU-based organisations, such as Horizon 2020, among others. Regardless of the source of the grant funding, it’s worth remembering that any application for a grant is an application for public money. This is money from taxation that could be spent elsewhere, such as on national infrastructure, hospitals, and social care. For any grant application, think about where this money could have been spent and how you can have an impact on some of those areas.
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency & runs funding competitions that can help develop your innovative idea and make it successful, with funding between £25,000 and £10 million. Some competitions are only open to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but some are open to businesses of any size.
A successful grant application requires a project that satisfies an identifiable, currently unmet need that you are currently developing. You will need to be able to demonstrate the impact of this project on society as a whole, as well as in the specific industry that the competition is focused on. Most importantly, the project must go beyond what is currently available – it must be a step change beyond the state of the art, with high degrees of novelty, innovation, and risk.
The team behind your innovation is key to a successful grant application. Evaluators will want to know why your company is more likely to succeed than a competitor. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you either already have the team and skills in place to deliver the project or have a detailed plan in place for how to acquire them. You will also need to consider how the composition of the team will need to develop as your business grows with the success of the project.
In your application, you will need to show that you have a sound business case for the project, including a clear understanding of the target market, including competitor information and commercialisation. You will need to provide a detailed budget as well as a project plan and Gantt chart.
Once you’ve got everything you need to write your application, you’ll need to pull everything together using the template Innovate UK provides when you register for a competition. You’ll need to pay particular attention to your word count, as Innovate UK limits the number of words that you can use in your response to each question. There will also be several appendices (depending on the competition), including a risk register.
Preparation of an Innovate UK application takes between 150 and 300 hours of work, and you need the right combination of people to cover the application’s key aspects: the technology, market knowledge, commercialisation plan, and financial details. Your best chance of putting together a successful application depends on the quality of your innovation and the quality of your application. Using a specialist grant funding advisor, such as Myriad Associates, can give you a significant competitive advantage over other grant applicants.
Contact us today to discuss your project in more detail.