Innovate UK Smart grants: January 2023
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. The dates for this round of Smart have been extended to maximise funding opportunities for applicants.
Projects of 6-18 months: total costs £100k-£500k. Projects of 19 to 36 months: total costs £100k-£2m. Up to 70% of costs can be covered depending on business size. Closing date extended from 26th April to 14th June.
Smart is Innovate UK’s responsive grant funding programme. It has focused eligibility criteria and scope to support SMEs and their partners to develop disruptive innovations with significant potential for rapid economic return to the UK.
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and world-leading ideas, designed for swift, successful commercialisation. Ideas need to be genuinely new and novel, not just disruptive within their sector.
Your proposal must be business focused, with deliverable, realistic, adequately resourced plans to achieve return on investment, growth and market share following project completion.
Questions for this round of Smart reflect the importance of obtaining economic benefits from public funding, and the potential for successful commercialisation, growth and exports.
Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as, but not exclusively, net zero, the arts, design and media.
The dates for this round of Smart have been extended to maximise funding opportunities for applicants. (Original closing date was 26th April, now 14th June.)
Your project must:
- start by 1 December 2023 (note change of date due to deadline being pushed back)
- end by 30 November 2026 (ditto)
- include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) as the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner
- carry out all of its project work in the UK
- intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
Projects of 6 to 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £500,000 and can be single or collaborative. 19 to 36 month projects must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £2 million and must be collaborative.
To lead a project your organisation must:
- be a UK registered SME if you want to work alone
- be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO) if collaborative
The project must either be led by an SME, or include an SME.
If the lead organisation is an RTO it must collaborate with 2 businesses (one SME and one business of any size) and there must be a credible route to market, usually through the partners, for the output of the project.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:
- business of any size
- academic institution
- not for profit
- public sector organisation
- research and technology organisation (RTO)
A business or RTO can only lead on one application. Any subsequent applications submitted with the same lead will not be forwarded for assessment. All partners can collaborate on any number of applications.
The Innovate UK Smart grant funds a cross-sector portfolio to support SMEs and their partners to develop the best game changing and word-leading projects. It offers funding where other opportunities are not available or appropriate, and where timing is key to ensure swift and successful commercialisation post-project completion.
To be in scope your proposal must demonstrate:
- a game-changing, innovative, and disruptive idea that will lead to new products, processes or services
- an idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
- clear potential to positively impact the UK’s position, productivity and competitiveness within the global economy
- a clear, evidence-based business plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
- why Smart funding is the right potential funding for your project, and the journey you have already been on to reach the point of application
- a team with the necessary skills and expertise to deliver the project successfully and on time, and to achieve rapid commercialisation
- awareness of all the main risks the project will face with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
- sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, including the funding of post-project activities
Your project must focus on:
- taking customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions
- identifying who is ready to buy your innovation
- being developed, planned and resourced beyond the end of the Innovate UK funded project, taking into account the focus of any project partners and their existing commitments
- fitting with and complementing your ongoing business planning and development, product offerings and organisational structure to maximise chances of success
Briefing and support
Innovate UK held a briefing webinar at 11am on Thursday 26th January: click here to watch the recording.
If you want help to find a project partner, contact the relevant sector team at Innovate UK KTN.