Innovate UK - Smart Grants - PKF Francis Clark
skip to Main Content
Merry Christmas! Our offices will be closed from 1pm on Christmas Eve, reopening on Tuesday 4 January.

Innovate UK – Smart Grants

By Andrew James

My colleague’s email inbox was bulging today with emails from Innovate UK.  The main one that caught his attention was announcing an “Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £20 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.”

Open Competition renamed as Smart

“Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme” it says in the competition summary (my colleague is reasonably sure this ‘new name’ is an ‘old name’ recycled!).  Anyway, also from the summary tab:

  • “All proposals must be business focused, rather than pure research. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy.”
  • “Whilst we welcome projects that overlap with the grand challenge areas, we are also keen to support projects that are entirely outside these. Working in these areas is not a requirement to be eligible.”
  • “Duration between 6 and 18 months: total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000 (single company or collaboration). Duration between 19 and 36 months: total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million (collaboration only).”

More details

More details can be found here and here.  A few of these details are shown below:

  • All applications must include at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • To lead a project you must:
  • be a UK-based business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from the UK
  • be an SME if you want to work alone
  • include an SME if you want to collaborate with others (businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations and/or charities)
  • To collaborate on a project, you must fulfil the criteria above and include an SME. Collaborators can be UK based businesses, academic organisations, charities, public sector organisations or RTOs.
  • Intervention rates:
  Small business Medium-sized business Large business
Feasibility studies and industrial research 70% 60% 50%
Experimental development projects 45% 35% 25%


The deadline for applications is at midday on 24 April 2019.  There is reference to an online briefing event being held on 27 February 2019 – but no more details that I can see on how to log into this etc.

R&D tax credits

As with all R&D grant funding, an understanding of the interaction between the grant and potential for R&D Tax Credits is useful and this is an area that my colleagues who specialise in R&D Tax Credits can assist with.

Back To Top