Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2023

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25Mn for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.



Competition closes: 14 June 2023, 11am

Applicants notified: 11 August 2023

Project start date: before 01 December 2023

Scope – proposals must demonstrate

  • a game-changing, innovative, and disruptive idea that will lead to new products, processes or services
  • an idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • clear potential to positively impact the UK’s position, productivity and competitiveness within the global economy
  • a clear, evidence based business plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • why Smart funding is the right potential funding for your project, and the journey you have already been on to reach the point of application
  • a team with the necessary skills, and expertise to deliver the project successfully and on time, and to achieve rapid commercialisation
  • awareness of all the main risks the project will face with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money, including the funding of post-project activities

Specific themes

  • taking customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions
  • identifying who is ready to buy your innovation
  • being developed, planned and resourced beyond the end of the Innovate UK funded project, taking into account the focus of any project partners and their existing commitments
  • fitting with and complementing your ongoing business planning and development, product offerings and organisational structure to maximise chances of success

Projects that will not be funded

  • where the technology is available or used in another sector
  • where other Innovate UK funding support is available and more appropriate
  • that are dependent on export performance, or that are dependent on domestic inputs usage


  • Subsidy Control and State Aid funding rules apply.
  • Must be led by a UK registered business or RTO if collaborative and include at least one SME.
  • Work must be carried out in the UK and project results exploited from UK.
  • Subcontractors must be UK based, with costs justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Funding rates

  • Stream 1: between 6-18 months; total eligible project costs £100K-£500K; Can be single or collaborative projects.

Stream 2: between 19-36 months; total eligible project costs £100K-£2Mn. Must be collaborative projects.

For Feasibility Studies or Industrial Research you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For Experimental Development you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the UK total eligible project costs.

How PNO can support you

The UK team has a strong track record in securing funding through the Smart programme, with a full understanding of how a project should be presented to stand the highest chance of success in this highly competitive scheme. Each year in the UK alone, we are responsible for the submission of more than 100 funding applications to Innovate UK managed programmes (with around 40 applications specifically to the Smart programme). Based on this extensive experience and through careful project selection we consistently achieve success rates that are more than 5 times the typical success rates for the programme.

For further information or to discuss a project idea please contact PNO Consultants

0161 488 3488 | |

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