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Scope of Innovate UK Smart Grants

Smart Grant: Scope
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Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing, innovative, disruptive, and ambitious idea leading to new products, processes or services

  • an idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation

  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs

  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion

  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time

  • awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays, etc) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk

  • clear, considerable potential to significantly impact either or both, the UK economy and productivity in a positive way

  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions

Your project should:

Demonstrate realistic, significant potential for global markets

Take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions

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:

  • Feasibility Studies: analysis and evaluation of a project’s potential, aimed at supporting the process of decision making. This is achieved by uncovering its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as well as identifying the resources needed and the prospects for success. 

  • Industrial Research: planned research or critical investigation to gain new knowledge and skills. This should be for product development, processes, or services that lead to an improvement in existing products, processes, or services.

  • Experimental Development: combining, shaping, and using existing scientific, technological, business, and other relevant knowledge and skills to develop new or improved products, processes, or services.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope

  • do not address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation

  • do not evidence the potential for their idea or concept to lead to significant return on

  • investment (ROI), positive economic impact, growth and scale-up of the business

  • are dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country.

  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage – for example if they insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product.

Innovate UK will not fund commercialisation activities such as Sales or Marketing. 

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