UK-registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25million for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘open grant funding’ programme.
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused.
Innovate UK secured an uplift in funding in the 2021 spending review, which will enable Innovate UK to provide an improved range of funding and business support from April 2022. This round of the competition will be the last in the current format.
Future rounds of the Smart grant will be more focused on supporting proposals from UK based innovative businesses that are destined for early, 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:
Innovate UK welcome projects that overlap with the Innovate UK Plan for Action. This is not a requirement, and they are also keen to support projects in other areas.
Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations are highly encouraged where appropriate in your proposal. You are prompted to consider EDI as part of the application process. Applications will continue to be assessed on their innovation merit, where innovation is defined as the potential for commercially successful exploitation of ideas.
Your project must:
The end by date is the date by which all funding for this round of the competition must end. Your contracted project end date will not be extended.
If your project’s duration is 6 to 18 months it:
If your project’s duration is 19 to 36 months, it must:
If you want to submit a collaborative project from 19 months to 36 months duration with total eligible project costs of up to £3 million as a permitted exception, you must email email@example.com. You must provide full justification at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.
Unless you have already received our authorisation, any application submitted that does not meet the criteria will be marked as ineligible and will not be sent for assessment.
To lead a project your organisation must:
Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:
You must carry out all your project work in the UK and intend to commercially exploit the results from or in the UK.
Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.
If collaborative, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim grant funding by entering their costs during the application.
Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs, but they will not count as collaborators.
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.
We expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. Without meeting these criteria, subcontractor’s contribution would be deemed ineligible.
Please note that for the purposes of this competition the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not classed as part of the UK, and subcontractors located there would be deemed ineligible.
Businesses or RTOs 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.
If you are an RTO then the following rules apply:
Projects of 6 to 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £500,000 and can be single or collaborative. Projects of 19 to 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £2 million and must be collaborative.
Your proposal must demonstrate:
Your project should:
Proposals from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale up are welcome.
Innovate UK will fund innovative research and development (R&D) projects across a variety of technologies, markets and research categories, including:
As defined in the guidance on categories of research.
Innovate UK are not funding projects that:
Innovate UK will not fund commercialisation activities.