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.

The deadline for these grants has been extended by a day, to 27th May 2021 at 11am.

There will also be another round of SMART grants immediately after this one, opening 28th May and closing 25th August: click here for details.

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.

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 project must:

  • include at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) as the lead or a collaborative grant claiming partner
  • start by 1 November 2021
  • end by 30 November 2024
  • follow specific rules dependent on its duration

If your project’s duration is 6 to 18 months:

  • it must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000
  • it can be single or collaborative

If your project’s duration is 19 to 36 months, it must:

  • have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million
  • be collaborative

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 can be involved in a project, but cannot be the lead or work alone.

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

We strongly encourage 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.

An online briefing will be held on 5th February at 11:30am – join here (direct Zoom link to meeting – click this on the day)

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.