Overview

Smart is 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

Scope

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing, innovative, 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 either or both, the UK economy and 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

Your project should:

  • demonstrate realistic, significant potential for global markets
  • take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions

Proposals from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale up are welcome.

Innovate UK will fund innovative research and development (R&D) projects across a variety of technologies, markets and research categories, including:

  • feasibility projects
  • industrial research projects
  • experimental development projects

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope
  • do not address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  • do not 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
  • are dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country.
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage – for example if they insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product.

Innovate UK will not fund commercialisation activities.

Funding Costs

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

Your project must start no later than 1 April 2022 and end no later than 31 March 2025.

Your project must follow different rules depending 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 £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.

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

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.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book a 30-minute consultation

Our team are available to discuss your innovative business, your project ideas and how we can help you to write a successful application for this Grant Funding opportunity.

Use the calendar to select and book a consultation with one of our experts, at a time that’s convenient for you.


Get in touch