Innovate UK Smart Grants

Smart (previously known as Grant for Research and Development) is an Innovate UK scheme offering funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.

The Smart scheme will support R&D projects which offer potentially significant rewards and could stimulate UK economic growth. In contrast to the Collaborative R&D programme, Smart funding is available to single companies.

Three types of grants are available:

Any UK SME working in any sector may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts. Smart replaces the Grant for R&D scheme previously offered by regional development agencies. The scheme works alongside existing programmes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Proof Of Market

Proof Of Concept

Development Of Prototype

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Proof Of Market Grant

This grant enables companies to assess the commercial viability of a project, through:

● market research
● market testing and competitor analysis
● intellectual property position
● initial planning to take the project to commercialisation, including assessing costs, timescales and funding requirements.

Projects will last up to 9 months, have a maximum grant of £25k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.

Proof Of Concept Grant

SMEs may use this grant to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process, including:

● initial feasibility studies
● basic prototyping
● specialist testing and/or demonstration to provide basic proof of technical feasibility
● intellectual property protection
● investigation of production and assembly options.

It also includes pre-clinical research studies for healthcare technologies and medicines, including target identification and validation.

Projects will last up to 18 months, have a maximum grant of £100k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.

Development Of Prototype Grant

This funding is used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process, and can include projects such as:

● small demonstrators
● intellectual property protection
● trials and testing, including clinical
● market testing.

Projects will last up to 2 years and have a maximum grant of £250k; up to 35% of total project costs for medium enterprises, or up to 45% for small and micro enterprises, may be funded.


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There are many ways that SMEs can access DSI funding, but with unrivalled experience of accessing European funding, TCI Pathway delivers certainty into your innovation process. We can assist with the project bid writing process, using our experience and expertise to dramatically improve your chances of making a successful project bid. You will also be able to utilise our proven multi-disciplinary innovation process and competencies to get the right product developed, by the right people, in the right way.