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.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a highly competitive process where your chance of success in securing funding will depend on the number and quality of applications submitted.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
If your application does not meet the eligibility criteria for this competition it will not be sent for assessment.
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 must:
If your project’s duration is 19 to 36 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 and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.
To lead a project your organisation must:
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
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 for the output of the project. Since the purpose of RTOs is to speed up the progress of those using their services, this is expected to be through the partners, rather than through 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 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 eligible project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.
To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.
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 eligible project costs.
Please note that 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.
Number of applications
A business, or research and technology organisation (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:
Your project must focus on: