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. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Programme: Innovate UK
Award: Share of up to £25 million
Opens: 18th Jan 2024
Closes: 24th Apr 2024
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.
The Innovate UK Smart grant supports SMEs and their partners develop the best game changing and world-leading innovative R&D 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:
Your project must focus on:
The eligibility criteria for the Smart January 2024 round of the competition are different to previous rounds of the Smart grant. You must ensure your application meets the new eligibility criteria or it will not be sent for assessment.
Your project must:
Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.
The end by date is the date by which all funding for this round of the competition must end. Your contracted end date will not be extended.
If your project’s duration is 6 to 18 months, it must:
If your project’s duration is 19 to 24 months, it must:
You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.
To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:
If the lead organisation is an RTO it must collaborate with at least 2 two businesses (one SME, and one business of any size) and there must be a credible route to market for the output of the project. Since the purpose of RTOs is to speed up the process of those using their services this is expected to be through the other project partners, rather than the RTO itself.
Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:
Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. They will then appear on your application as collaboration partners. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.
To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.
Including collaboration partners within your question responses is not sufficient for an application to be considered collaborative. You must follow the above instructions to meet the eligibility requirement for collaborative proposals.
Your project can include UK partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
Subcontractors must be based in the UK for the duration of the project and their portion of the project work must be carried out in the UK. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
For the purposes of this competition the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are crown dependencies and not classed as part of the UK. Subcontractors located there would be ineligible.
Subcontractors are not considered collaboration partners.
Number of applications
A business or research and technology organisation (RTO), can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in two further applications. Any subsequent applications submitted with the same lead will be ineligible and will not be forwarded for assessment.
All project partners can collaborate on any number of applications.
Use of animals in research and innovation
Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.
Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.
You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.
Innovate UK are not funding projects:
Innovate UK will not fund commercialisation activities such as marketing and sales.
Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:
Up to £25 million is available to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.
If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.
For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30%of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to: