Innovate UK grants: what you need to know

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

Innovate UK offers support for British companies; some of its grants are very specific (SBRI first of a kind round 2: demonstrating tomorrow’s stations and a greener railway, for example), others are general (see our blog posts about their open competition).

If you consider applying for one of these grants, here is what you need to know :

The key points:

There are 10 questions to answer in the application; the first four deal with the business plan, the last 6 with the project itself.

The four fundamental points your application needs to deal with are:

  1. “Is the market big enough?” this will, at the end of the day, determine the ROI.

  2. “Are the innovations groundbreaking?” — the object of the grant is, after all, to give an edge to a UK company.

  3. “Is the project close to market?” — the grants are precisely tailored to make your project market-ready.

  4. “Why do you need public money?”, or in other words what prevents you from getting funds from banks or business angels.

Some pieces of advice:

The writers of the guidebook insist on the following points:

  • Do pay extra attention to the opening question: Q1 is the introduction to the project and needs to set the tone for the whole application.

  • Qualify the market you mean to address with current data. The assessors don’t want to know what the market was three years ago!

  • Do not get too techy in the description of your project: the assessor of the application may not be a specialist of your topic. Please make sure to define all the technical terms you use.

  • Do not sugar-coat. The risks must be presented honestly, the benefits must be evaluated with reason, the innovation must not be overestimated. If you try to gild the pill, you'll get caught.

  • In getting a grant from Innovate UK, you would be given public money. Consequently, you should try to demonstrate that your project will benefit society at large, and not only the partners.

  • Do not use this appendix section to repeat your answers, but to present graphic summaries or to add data supporting one point.

  • Read the guidebook edited by the Knowledge Transfer Network for more information.

Still not too sure what to do?

Get in touch! We are specialists in grant writing. In the last 4 years, we have helped 120+ innovative companies get £28 million worth of grants. So why don’t you drop us a line to see how we can help you?

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