SMART is Innovate UK’s open grant funding programme. Support is for the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas, in any type of technology. Must be business focused and address a clear market gap, in any sector. Projects can be at different levels of technological maturity, up to but not including commercialisation. There are typically 4-5 calls per year. Interested? Feel free to contact us.


Opportunity to apply for funding to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.


  • Competition opens: 07 October 2021
  • Competition closes: 05 January 2022, 11am
  • Applicants notified: 18 March 2022
  • Project start date: 01 July 2022


Proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing, innovative and/or 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
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • 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 the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions

Specific Themes

  • Preference is given 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.
  • Where possible, projects should take customer and user needs into account to deliver more desirable and useful solutions.

Projects that will not be funded

  • That do not meet the competition eligibility or scope
  • That do not address the size, potential and access to market for the innovation
  • That do not evidence the potential for their idea or concept to lead to significant return on investment (ROI), positive economic impact, growth and scale-up of the business


  • Subsidy Control funding rules apply.
  • Must include at least one SME.
  • R&D work must be carried out in the UK and project results exploited from UK.

Funding Rates

2 streams:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Funding levels of up to 70% are available depending on the stage of development and size of company with match funding required.

Research organisations collaborating as part of your consortium can share up to 30% of the UK total eligible project costs. (This maximum is to be shared between all participating research organisations).


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