Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

Innovate UK Smart Grant October 2021

This October 2021, Innovate UK will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer

08/11/2021

10 minute read


Grant funding opportunity

The latest instalment of Innovate UK's SMART grant competition sees another £25m made available for game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas that can significantly impact the UK economy.  Any innovative research and development (R&D) projects across a variety of technologies, markets and research categories can apply.  It is open to any enterprise and must include at least one SME (who could work alone).

What funding is available?

Innovate UK have allocated up to £25 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation or public sector organisation

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25 Aid for R&D projects, of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your project:

Your application must include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). They can be the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner.

Your project must start no later than 1st July 2022 and end no later than 30th June 2025.

Your project must follow different rules depending on its duration:

  1. Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  2. Project durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £500,000 and £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.

If you want to submit a project between 19 months and 36 months with total project costs up to £3 million as a permitted exception, you must email support@innovateuk.ukri.org. You must give full justification at least 10 days before the competition closes. Do not submit your application until Innovate UK write to approve your request.

Proposals:

Innovate UK will give preference to applications that demonstrate realistic, significant potential for global markets.

Proposals from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale-up are welcome.

Where possible, projects should take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions.

Proposals must demonstrate:

  • A clear game-changing, innovative, 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
  • Awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays, etc) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly impact either or both, the UK economy and productivity in a positive way
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions

Projects Innovate UK will not fund:

Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • Do not meet the competition eligibility or scope
  • Do not address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  • Do not evidence the potential for their idea or concept to lead to significant return on investment (ROI), positive economic impact, growth and scale-up of the business
  • Are dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • Are dependent on domestic inputs usage - for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Project dates:

  • 7 October 2021, Competition opens
  • 18 October 2021, Online briefing event: watch the recording
  • 5 January 2022 11:00am, Competition closes
  • 18 March 2022, Applicants notified

Interested in applying? Myriad Associates can help

  • Win Rate - Myriad Associates’ boast a near 70% success rate with Innovate UK smart grant applications. In 2020, we submitted 6 applications of which 4 were successful. This is among the highest success rate in the industry.
  • Proven templates & tools for success - Our templates make it easy to collaborate & prepare a winning bid.
  • 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.
  • Highly rated UK & European bid writers - We have a highly experienced team of bid writers with proven UK & European success. We've secured over €80m in grant funding for our UK & EU clients.
  • Unlimited revisions - Our grant writers provide feedback on both successful and unsuccessful grant applications. We review this feedback with you to give you ongoing advice and guidance.
  • 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.


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