Innovate UK: Call for Applications for Smart Grants Program

Innovate UK
Last date: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
United Kingdom

Detailed Description

The Innovate UK has announced a call for applications for the Smart Grants Program.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused.


  • Innovate UK strongly encourages applications to demonstrate realistic, significant potential for global markets.
  • Proposals from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale-up are welcome.
  • Where possible, projects should take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions.

Research Categories

Innovate UK will fund innovative research and development (R&D) projects across a variety of technologies, markets and research categories, including:

  • Feasibility projects;
  • Industrial research projects;
  • Experimental development projects.

Funding Information

  • Projects of 6 – 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000 and can be single or collaborative.
  • Projects of 19 – 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million and must be collaborative.

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.

Eligibility Criteria

To lead a project you must:

  • Be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO).
  • Be an SME if you want to work alone.
  • Include at least one SME if you are a large business or RTO and wish to collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, academic organisations, public sector organisations or charities.
  • Carry out all your project activity in the UK.
  • Intend to commercially exploit the project results from or in the UK.
  • Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

How to Apply

The application is split into 3 sections:

  • Project details.
  • Application questions.
  • Finances.
  • Successful applicants
  • If you are successful in this competition, at least one member of your project team must attend a 1-hour briefing webinar within 10 days of receiving your successful notification.
  • At the webinar they will provide you with detailed information relating to setting up and starting your project. They will tell you about the briefing in your notification letter.
  • In this competition all projects awarded funding must upload evidence for each expenditure with every claim made. These might include invoices, timesheets, receipts or spreadsheets for capital usage. This is part of Innovate UK’s obligations under the Managing Public Money government handbook in relation to assurance, financial management and control.


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