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Innovate UK Smart Grants: May 2020

Overview:

Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.

Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25million 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

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

Innovate UK may consider total eligible project costs over £2million (but not exceeding £3million), subject to the process set out under ‘Eligibility’.

Innovate UK may share application details with other public sector co-funders if appropriate.

In this competition all projects awarded funding must upload evidence for each expenditure with every claim made. These might include invoices, timesheets, receipts or spreadsheets for capital usage. This is part of Innovate UK’s obligations under the Managing Public Money government handbook in relation to assurance, financial management and control.

Open Date:

28/05/2020

Close Date:

26/08/2020

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
  • 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
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions

Specific themes

Innovate UK 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.

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

Your project must start no later than 1 February 2021 and end no later than 29th February 2024.

Your project must follow specific rules based on its duration:

  1. 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.
  2. Project durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2million. They must be collaborative projects.

Project exception request

If you want to submit a collaborative project from 19 months to 36 months duration with total project costs of up to £3million as a permitted exception, you must email support@innovateuk.ukri.org. You must provide full justification at least 10 working days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve your request.

Unless you have already received our authorisation, any application submitted that does not meet the criteria will be marked as ineligible and will not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project you must:

  • Be a UK-registered 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 UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

Find out which definition your organisation falls into.

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

Project team

To collaborate with the lead organisation you must:

  • Be a UK-registered 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

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application. Each partner organisation must be invited into IFS by the lead to collaborate on a project. Partners must enter their own project costs into IFS. Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Partners with no funding

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition and can be from anywhere in the UK. They must be based in the UK for the duration of the project and their portion of the project work must also be carried out in the UK. Without meeting these criteria, their contribution would be deemed ineligible. We would expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Multiple applications

UK-registered businesses or RTOs can only lead on one application. If more than one application is submitted with the same lead, only the first application will be considered for assessment.

All partners can collaborate on any number of applications.

Research and technology organisations (RTOs)

If you are an RTO then the following rules apply:

  1. To lead you must have two or more business collaborators (one SME, and one other business of any size).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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

Organisations whose main activity is commercial or economic must make sure that the outcomes of the project such as intellectual property do not help gain a selective advantage in the market. This includes organisations that typically act non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

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

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

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

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

The research organisations in your consortium 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.

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.

Innovate UK will not fund proposals that do not:

  • Meet the competition eligibility or scope
  • Address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  • 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

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.