InnovateUK Open Funding

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New Open funding competition effectively replaces the SME’s go to SMART grant.

NEXT: Open Funding: End August 2016

Grants are now available twice a year and you can apply for anything between £25k and £1m.

You need to decide if you’re best chance is in one of the 4 sectors, or if you should select the open funding category:

  • – emerging and enabling technologies
  • – infrastructure systems
  • – health and life sciences
  • – manufacturing and materials
  • – open funding

Regardless of the choice you make you will need to decide what sort of project you are doing:

  • – Market research (feasibility study, early days)
  • – Technical feasibility (proof of concept, proving the tech but no product yet)
  • – Experimental development (prototype development, trialing the solution)

Market Research: £25k+ 100% funding

This grant enables companies to assess commercial viability, 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

Technical Feasibility : £25k-£1m, 50%-70% funded*

A grant to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process:

  • – 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.

Experimental Development: Up to £25k-£1m, 25%-45% funded*

This funding is used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process:

  • – small demonstrators
  • – intellectual property protection
  • – trials and testing, including clinical
  • – market testing
  • – marketing strategies
  • – identifying routes to market
  • – product design work
  • – pre-clinical studies for medicines.

*Match funding = InnovateUK will cover this percentage of the total project cost. For example if you are a small company and your total project cost is £556k and you apply for Prototype Development (45% match), then InnovateUK will give you £250k and you will pay the other £306k.

What sort of projects are eligible?

There are various things that make a project eligible for a grant. Some of the key ones are:

  • – Can you show serious growth potential and a return on investment i.r.o. 10:1?
  • – Do you have a genuine technology innovation that is at an early stage needing research?
  • – Do you have a clear commercial innovation that companies other than your own can benefit from?
  • – Are you a UK company with a UK-based team already in place to develop the project?
  • – Are (or could) the directors and the team that will develop the project mostly paid through PAYE?
  • – Do you have, or can you get the match funding needed, and can you cashflow the business for 3 months at a time to claim the money back after you spend it?

How to get more information?

Further information is available on the InnovateUK website here.

Please get in touch to discuss your project or find out more about SMART and other grants, or check out our blog for tips on accessing grant funding.