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Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020

Funding details
Registration opens
09 Jan 2020, 00:00
Registration closes
22 Apr 2020, 12:00
Closes
22 Apr 2020, 12:00
Award
Project size can be up to £2m, of which up to 70% can be funded depending on the size of your business.
Organisation
Innovate UK
Summary

Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as but not exclusively:

  • the arts, design and media
  • creative industries
  • science or engineering

Whilst we welcome projects that overlap with the grand challenge areas, this is not a requirement, as we are also keen to support projects in other areas.

Your application must include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).

Your project must start no later than October 2020 and end no later than October 2023.

Your project must follow different rules depending on its duration:

  • Projects with 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.
  • Project durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 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 between £2 million and £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 IUK write to approve your request.

Lead organisation

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 or in the UK
  • be an SME if you want to work alone
  • include at least one SME if you are a large business or RTO and wish to collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

Single applicants must claim funding. If the project is collaborative, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter your costs as part of the application.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead organisation you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or RTO
  • carry out your R&D project activity in the UK
  • intend to commercially exploit the project results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter your costs in the Innovation Funding Service

Research and technology organisations (RTOs)

If you are an RTO then the following rules apply:

  • To lead you must have 2 or more business collaborators (one SME, and one other business of any size).
  • There must be a credible route to market for the output of the project, and since the purpose of RTOs is to speed up the progress of those using their services, this is expected to be through the partners, rather than through the RTO itself.
  • If you are a project partner, you can participate as either a research organisation, and receive 100% grant, or as a business entity, and be reimbursed a percentage of your eligible costs, depending upon your size and the nature of the work.

If participating as a business, you must show that the match funding you are providing comes from entirely private sector sources, across all projects you are involved in. You must also be able to show how you will exploit the results of the project to grow the wider sector.

Funding available

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

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.

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

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, etc) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • 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

If you would like help to find a partner, please contact the appropriate sector team at the Knowledge Transfer Network.

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