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R&D Tax Credits, R&D grants and VTGR: A quick glossary

Know your basic research from your incremental innovation? When it comes to innovation, you need to know what you’re talking about - especially around funding it.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


10 minute read

Know your basic research from your incremental innovation? What about your pilot plants (and no, we’re not talking grow-your-own veg here).

When it comes to innovation, you need to know what you’re talking about - especially around funding it. Because the fact is, if you’re a UK company that undertakes any research and development activities then you may well be eligible for R&D Tax Credits, R&D grants or (for games developers) Video Games Tax Relief.

All of these lucrative reliefs are generous but the process for applying for them can be notoriously complex and time-consuming. Not only do companies need to tell HMRC what specific R&D has taken place, but also why they believe they are eligible for the relief in question. Getting it wrong can be very costly, not just in time but money too. Then there’s the stress of any HMRC tax enquiries along the way.

This is why we strongly recommend that businesses and accounting firms considering R&D tax relief, speak to us at Myriad Associates, so that we can support you in helping you or your client maximise and secure a claim.

The other issue is getting your head around all the jargon that comes with R&D Tax Credits, grants and Video Games Tax Relief. So we put together this quick glossary of common R&D-related words and phrases to help.

Applied research: This refers to any original investigations that took place with a view to acquiring knowledge to achieve a new aim or objective. It would include things like pilot plant and prototypes.

Basic research: Theoretical or experimental work undergone primarily to gain new knowledge.

Commercialisation: This is regarding the taking of a process or product from the early ideas stage to commercial deployment.

Commercial demonstration: A demonstration that’s carried out as a follow-on from a technology demonstration. The point of a commercial demonstration is to prove that a particular process or product is eligible to be brought to market.

Commercial deployment: This refers to the point at which a process or product can be launched profitably on the market solely via commercial enterprises, regardless of the involvement of any public subsidies.

Demand pull: Demand pull refers to emerging needs and market environments that incentivise innovative processes and products. It can refer either to public sector measures and policies, including subsidies, or emerging market opportunities that are designed to promote innovation.

Demonstration: An activity that shows practically how viable a process or product actually is.

Deployment: Deployment is the use of a process or product for commercial and/or practical purposes.

Development: A programme of work undertaken to produce new products, devices or materials to bring about a new process, service or system, or to substantially improve one that already exists.

Early deployment: The early use of a process or product for commercial and/or practical purposes.

Feedback R&D: This refers to R&D that has been conducted with the aim of solving a specific technological or scientific problem that has arisen due to a process or product being deployed or demonstrated.

Full-scale deployment: Commercial deployment where a product or process has established a new market or has increased its market share.

Incremental innovation: This refers to an improvement in cost, performance, design, reliability, etc. to an existing commercial process or product without any substantial difference in end-use service provision.

Innovation: This could be a new product, process or significant technological improvement in a process or product that already exists. An innovation has taken place if it has been used within a production process (process innovation) or brought to market (product innovation). Processes and products can be new or improved from any country in the world, or simply new to the market, depending on the context.

Invention: A new technical or scientific idea, and the means of its accomplishment or embodiment. So that it can be patented, an invention must have utility, be non-obvious and have an element of novelty.

Market formation: This refers to any activity designed to enhance, exploit or create niche markets as well as the early commercialisation of technology in wider markets.

Pilot plants: Pilot plants are built with the intention of obtaining experience and compiling engineering as well as other data.

Prototype: An original model that was built to include all the performances and technical characteristics of a new process or product.

R&D Grants: R&D grants are a very popular method of achieving the finance that businesses (particularly SMEs) need to carry out their scientific or technological research or development programmes. It helps to cut down risk as well as speed up the service or product development process. There are a number of UK and EU grants available to companies seeking to engage in the development of pioneering and innovative products. To find out more about R&D grant funding in more detail, please take a look at the R&D grants page on our website.

Research: Systematic work taken on in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including boosting the knowledge of man, culture and society.

Research and development (R&D): Creative work undertaken in order to gain knowledge that will be of benefit either to a company or to wider society. This knowledge is then used to create new applications.

Technology demonstration: This refers to a rough idea, prototype or otherwise incomplete version of a product, process or system that’s currently still at the design stage. The technology demonstration is created as proof of concept with the key purpose of showcasing its possible applications.

Video Games Tax Relief: VGTR is a valuable tax incentive offered by the UK government. It allows video games studios specifically to claim either a tax rebate, or a cash repayment, having invested money on developing a video game. Again you can find out more on our VGTR page.

Need further advice?

The team at Myriad Associates are experts in all areas of R&D, including Tax Credits, R&D Grants and VGTR. If you would like to ask a question or get the ball rolling on a claim, please feel free to contact us on 0207 118 6045 or send us a message.

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