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  • Writer's pictureDamon Butcher

8 Things We Learned About the New Smart Grant at the Innovate UK Webinar

Updated: May 25, 2022

This blog is written to show what, in our opinion, the most important pieces of information given out during the Innovate UK Smart Grant webinar were. Smart Grants have changed drastically this time around, so this new information is important to know. There is now £25,000,000 available to innovative companies.


- Scope

Why Innovate UK?

Innovate UK is a government fund, and as such uses public money. For this reason, it is necessary to explain in detail why public money should be used to fund your project. The funding is specifically for projects that will benefit the UK, providing jobs and boosting the economy by bringing new technology to the country.

There are plenty of other grants available, also from the government and Innovate UK, and so it is also recommended to check that there isn't a grant that is more suitable for your specific product. There is a plethora of specialised grants in a wide variety of fields that can be found here.

R&D Must Take Place in the UK

While previously subcontractors could be hired abroad, this is no longer the case. All R&D must take place physically within the UK and cannot be outsourced. This applies to both the lead applicant as well as any supporting companies.

Timeframes Specified Must be Met

Timeframes are an important aspect of the Smart Grant application process. The project must take between 6 and 18 months and the process must be detailed with the individual steps taken and the project manager at each stage. This timeframe cannot be extended, nor can it be changed once the deadline is met. The application can, however, be changed at any time before the deadline.

Game-Changing and Disruptive Projects

Innovate UK are only accepting "game-changing and disruptive projects" that are entirely novel in their creation. This means that projects that further an existing product will most likely not be accepted. The project must create a product that can be shown to be disruptive in the market for its sector.

Must be Exploited From or Within the UK

The project must benefit the UK. This means that the project must not undertake R&D only for it to be sold in another country. Furthermore, the project must show how it can return on the investment, with evidence, and how the economy will benefit and the timeframe in which the project will make this money. Smart is designed to de-risk the project and accelerate the timeline for growth.


While the Smart Grant is an open scope that does not mean that it has no scope. The scope for the project is for it to be game-changing and disruptive in the field while making a rapid return on investment. It also:

  • Must demonstrate a world-class, clearly game-changing, highly innovative and disruptive idea. Creates ground-breaking products, processes, or services articulating evidentially clear and considerable potential for successful gain for UK economy

  • Be an idea that is absolutely above anything ready to use or already available

  • Show distinct potential to positively and significantly impact the UK's position, productivity, and competitiveness in the world's economy

  • A team with necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project

  • Why smart funding is the right mechanism must be articulated. Take other funding into account.

  • Awareness of all key risks that the problem could encounter with mitigation plans for each risk through the teams resources

  • Sound and practical finances and timelines - no extensions can be made

What is Out of the Scope?

Projects that are out of the scope will not be considered. Projects out of the scope are:

  • Projects that don't meet the scope

  • Tech is already available

  • Projects that don't address the size, potential, and access to market

  • Projects that don't evidence the potential for it to return investment

  • Projects with no clear and realistic plan to commercialise their innovation

  • Projects where there IUK is available and more appropriate - double check it is the right one for you

  • Commercialisation activities - e.g marketing and sales

Application Questions

There is a new system with a different set of questions from previous applications. The new questions are as follows:

Q1 - Application location - 400 words - No appendix

Q2 - You idea and innovation - 600 words - No appendix

Q3 - Justification for funding - 400 words - No appendix

Q4 - The potential market - 400 words - No appendix

Q5 - Impact and benefits - 600 words - No appendix

Q6 - Delivering your project - 400 words - 4 pages.

Q7 - Value for money - 400 words - No appendix

It should be noted that Q1 is not a scored question

Other information

For more information, or for any questions about the Smart Grant, don't hesitate to message us at, or get in touch here and we will do everything we can to help you.

Inovasi helps companies to innovate with innovation incentives: R&D, Tax Credits, The Patent Box Scheme, and Funding. Inovasi aims to save you time, so you can focus on the core of your business, we offer expert advice, you can rest easy knowing your claim has been strictly adhered to the funders scope, reducing the chance of an inquiry, maximise all aspects of your innovation process, experienced, up to date on the latest guidance and changes related to grants.

To find out more about grants please visit or get in touch with Inovasi at


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