Can you apply to Innovate UK SMART grants?

Innovate UK is looking for the best groundbreaking and market-oriented ideas from any area of technology for its SMART grants program.

With SMART, Innovate UK is supporting the development of 400+ high-tech projects each year. The next opportunity to apply is closing on January 8th, 2020.

Is your project eligible for a SMART grant? Find out below.

✓ Your company

Applications to SMART can be "single or collaborative", i.e:

  • if you are a UK-based micro, small or medium-sized enterprise, you can apply on your own under certain circumstances (cf. "your project" below), or collaborate with other companies or RTOs.

  • if you are a RTO or a large company, you need to work in a consortium with at least a UK SME.

✓ Your project

Your project must fit within the scope of SMART. You need to be able to demonstrate that:

  1. Your project is at the right stage: SMART covers projects from the feasibility study to the development of the final prototype

  2. It is a game-changer: a disruptive idea, rather than a step-change in its market

  3. It will have a strong impact on global markets

  4. It is significantly ahead of competing solutions

  5. You will be selling the results of the project within 3 years

  6. It will have a large impact on your business, help it grow and scale rapidly

  7. You have a clear, documented, deliverable business plan

  8. Your payrolled team has the necessary skills to deliver the project, and if skills are missing you will acquire them (hiring, subcontracting, partnership, etc.)

✓ Your costs

To be eligible, your project must fit within strict criteria. The maximum total costs of your project depend on its duration (minimum 6 months) and on the nature of the applicant(s) – see table below. Your project will not be evaluated if your total costs are above the limit.

The grant you will receive is a fraction of the eligible costs: from 25% to 70% depending on the type of organisations applying (Small/Micro, Medium, Large enterprises, RTO/research organisation) and your project type (Feasibility study, Industrial research, or Experimental development).

Innovate UK projects are refunded quarterly in arrears. You need to spend upfront, and declare your costs to Innovate UK, who will check and refund as agreed.

✓ Our advice

Preparing an application for SMART is a major undertaking.

As it is very competitive: less than 1 in 10 applicants get funded.

  • Start preparing your application early, at least 2 weeks in advance (a month would be preferable)

  • Be systematic and address all elements of each question (the online template is very detailed)

  • Adapt the total amount requested to the type of project you are conducting; for example, a £443,000 feasibility study sounds quite expensive indeed.

  • Avoid conducting your risk analysis as an afterthought: it is quite critical; a list of 10+ risks with associated mitigation strategies is expected

  • Don't forget to prepare appendixes for the relevant questions

Still not sure if you should apply?

We offer a free eligibility check of your project.

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Driad is registered in England and Wales as a Limited Company, No 9086760

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