Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

Guest blog: Innovate UK £25 million up for grabs: July deadline approaching

The latest instalment of Innovate UK's SMART grant competition was launched in April and the deadline of the 27th July is fast approaching. Another £25 million in grant funding is up for grabs.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


10 minute read

The latest instalment of Innovate UK's SMART grant competition was launched in April and the deadline of the 27th July is fast approaching. Another £25 million in grant funding is up for grabs, aimed at game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas that can significantly impact the UK economy.

All innovative research and development (R&D) projects across a variety of technologies, markets and research categories can qualify. It is open to any enterprise and must include at least one SME.

What funding is available?

Innovate UK forms part of UK Research and Innovation. In this round of funding, it is looking to invest up to £25 million in the most disruptive, cutting-edge technologies that can swiftly and successfully be brought to market. Projects must be extremely novel and genuinely new as game changers not just in their sector but in the market as a whole.

Proposals must also be business focused, with realistic, adequately resourced, deliverable plans that bring real growth in market share and return on investment once the project is complete.

Certain updates have been made to this round of funding to reflect the importance of obtaining economic benefits from public funding, and the potential for successful commercialisation, exports and growth.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, including (but not limited to) media, design, net zero and the arts.

Project criteria

To be eligible for this particular innovation grant, projects must:

  • Be carried out in the UK
  • Follow specific rules dependent on duration (as set out further down)
  • Include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) as the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner
  • Intend to maximise the results from or in the UK

Only eligible project costs can be included in your grant application so it’s important you understand what is relevant and what isn’t. The current competition will also not be funding any business development, procurement, supply chain or commercial activity with Russian entities. This is to include any goods or services that originate from a Russian source.

What are the project deadlines?

Your project must have:

  • Started by the 1st January 2023
  • Ended by the 31st December 2025

This competition is set to close on the 27th July 2022 at 11am UK time.

The 31st December 2025 is the final date by which your contracted project must have ended and there will be no extensions.

If the duration of your project is 6 to 18 months, it:

  • Can be individual or collaborative
  • Must have total project costs between £100,000 and £500,000

If the duration of your project is 19 to 36 months, it must:

  • Be collaborative
  • Have total project costs between £100,000 and £2 million

What should proposals include?

Innovate UK has been clear it will look most favourably on projects that demonstrate realistic, significant growth potential for global markets. Innovative, ambitious small businesses and start-ups with substantial growth potential are welcome.

Proposals must also demonstrate:

  • An idea that can be rapidly commercialised and is significantly ahead of competitors in the field
  • A clear, disruptive, innovative and ambitious project that leads to new products, services or processes
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly and positively impact UK productivity as well as the wider economy
  • An evidence-based plan to deliver significant return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, very soon after the project has completed
  • A deliverable, robust business plan that addresses (and documents) the market scope, needs and potential
  • A team, working structure or business arrangement where the right skills and experience are present to carry out and complete the project successfully and on time
  • Awareness of where the challenges and risks lie within the project and how they will be addressed and mitigated
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines that offer excellent value for money. This is always something Innovate UK are particularly interested in when making funding decisions.

Project dates

  • Competition opened on the 25th April 2022
  • An online briefing event was held on the 3rd May 2022 which can be seen again here
  • Competition closes on the 27th July 2022 at 11am
  • Applicants will be notified on the 30th September 2022

Interested in applying for an R&D grant?

To give your organisation the very best chance of R&D grant success, the recommended way forward is to enlist the services of an experienced R&D grant writing service.

Whilst it’s perfectly possible to go it alone and make an application online yourself, it’s often very difficult to decipher the eligibility criteria accurately. Understanding how to showcase your project effectively and be persuasive in your application is also something of an art form, and with potentially large grants at stake it’s well worth doing properly.

External R&D grant writing consultancies also have the ability to look critically at your project and can often point you in the direction of further grants and R&D support. This can drastically reduce the guess work, whilst also saving you time and money on an application that may not be successful.

Further information about this and other government competitions can be found on Gov.uk’s innovation competitions page.

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