Smart Grants

What are Smart Grants?

Innovate UK Smart Grants is a grant funding programme to swiftly propel new, highly-disruptive and commercially viable innovations into the marketplace. While applications can come from any technology area and can be applied to any part of the economy; they must offer considerable economic returns and have a high impact on the UK economy.

Overall Budget


Who should apply for Smart Grants?

Both single applicants and collaborations can apply to the Smart Grants programme.

  • Single applicants: only UK registered SMEs can apply.
  • Collaborations: UK registered businesses or research and technology organisations (RTOs) can lead. All collaborations must include at least one SME.

Both must ensure they:

  • Carry out research and development project activity in the UK.
  • Commercially exploit the project results from the UK.

What do Smart Grants fund?

Smart Grants fund 3 research categories:

  • Feasibility projects: analyse and evaluate a project’s potential to support decision making, e.g. resources needed, prospects of success.
  • Industrial research projects: research or critical investigation to gain new knowledge and skills, and to improve products, processes, or services, e.g. creation of components, prototypes validated in laboratory or relevant environment.
  • Experimental development projects: acquire and use existing scientific, technological, and business knowledge and skills to develop new or improved products, processes, or services, e.g. prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation in operational environments.
Project Size

Single or collaborative:

    • Budget: £100k – 500k.
    • Time: 6 – 18 months.

Collaborative only:

    • Budget: £100k – £1mn.
    • Time: 19 – 24 months.
Funding Rate

Feasibility and industrial research projects:

    • 70%: micro or small organisations.
    • 60%: medium sized organisations.
    • 50%: large organisations.

Experimental development projects:

    • 45%: micro or small organisations.
    • 35%: medium sized organisations.
    • 25%: large organisations.

RTOs may account for max. 30% of total project costs at a 80-100% funding rate.

How to apply for Smart Grants?

  • Applications are made via the Innovation Funding Service (IFS).
  • Applications are open until 24th July 2024, 11:00 (UK time).
  • A max. of 2 submissions with any given proposal is permitted.

How are Smart Grants evaluated?

  • Ground-breaking and innovative idea for new product, process, and service that meets a need or challenge.
  • Beyond the state-of-the-art.
  • Ready for rapid commercialisation post project.
  • Clear impact on UK’s position, productively, and competitiveness.
  • Realistic ROI and growth post project.
  • Need for Smart Grant.
  • Team with skills and expertise to deliver the project and commercialisation.
  • Awareness of risks.
  • Realistic budget and timeline, and good value for money.

Contact us to learn more about the Smart Grants programme.

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