Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.

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.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as, but not exclusively:

  • the arts, design and media
  • creative industries
  • science or engineering

Whilst we welcome projects that overlap with the grand challenge areas this is not a requirement, as we are also keen to support projects in other areas.

Your application must include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). They can be the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner.

Your project must start no later than 1 May 2021 and end no later than 31 May 2024.

Your project must follow specific rules based on its duration:

  1. Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  2. Project durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your R&D project activity in the UK
  • intend to commercially exploit the project results from or in the UK
  • 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 organisationspublic sector organisations or charities

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

We give preference to applications that demonstrate realistic, significant potential for global markets.

Proposals from innovation-based businesses with significant ambition and potential for growth or scale-up are welcome.

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

  • feasibility, including market research
  • industrial research
  • experimental development

Projects can be at different levels of technological maturity, up to but not including commercialisation.

An online briefing event was held on 3rd September: recording to follow.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion resources that companies may find helpful include:

If you want help to find a project partner, or to discuss the big trends and issues in your marketplace, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.