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Innovate UK Smart Grants: October 2019

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 the new name for 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 Innovation 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. All SMEs involved in funded projects will also be offered business growth support from the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

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

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

Open Date:

17/10/2019

Close Date:

08/01/2020

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
  • 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

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 by June 2020 and end no later than June 2023.

Your project must follow different rules depending on its duration:

  1. Projects with durations between six 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.

If you want to submit a project between 19 months and 36 months with total project costs between £2million and £3million 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 we write to approve your request.

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 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.

To collaborate with the lead organisation you must:

  • Be a UK-registered business, academic institution, 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

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

UK registered businesses or RTOs can only lead on one application in each competition round.

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.

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.
  4. 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.

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

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.