What are R&D Grants?
Whether you’re a fledgling start-up, a developing technology company, or a mature business, there is a large selection of UK, EU and international grant funding currently available to help you take innovative new products or services to the next level.
Government backed R&D grants are designed to fill the funding gap where companies either lack the necessary resources or private funding sources might consider their market or types of projects being too risky to invest in.
UK government grant funding is provided by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Innovate UK drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. They work with businesses across all sectors, value chains and UK regions to de-risk, enable and support innovation.
What grant funding is available?
There are numerous R&D grants offering millions of pounds to UK companies to encourage R&D and innovation activities.
Innovate UK – Smart Grants and Themed Calls
Each year Innovate UK offer a wide range of sector specific funding competitions in addition to a series of Smart Grants which are open to any area of technology. Smart Grants support game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy.
Companies can apply for Innovate UK funding if they want to test the feasibility of an idea, research and develop it, or demonstrate it in a prototype.
Click here to see a list of Innovate UK funding competitions currently open for entries.
The UK government is associated to Horizon Europe which is an EU research and innovation programme open to UK scientists, researchers and businesses on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries. The programme opened in 2021 and will run until 2027 with a budget of €95.5 billion.
In addition to research and innovation, Horizon Europe funding is available for global challenges and industrial competitiveness in the following fields:
- culture, creativity and inclusive society
- civil security for society
- digital, industry and space
- climate, energy and mobility
- food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment
Click here to see a list of Horizon Europe funding opportunities.
The Eureka programme offers grant funding to businesses participating in international R&D projects. UK businesses are eligible for funding through its Network projects, Globalstars, Eurostars and Clusters programmes. Eureka is not a direct funding instrument and projects are funded in a de-centralised manner through the funding agencies of the member countries. Funding for UK businesses is accessed via Innovate UK.
Click here to see a list of Eureka calls for projects in the UK.
What projects are eligible for funding?
All R&D projects must be realistic commercial opportunities that are focused on either creating new markets or exploiting significant growth in an existing market. In order for any potential project to be considered it must be seeking to solve a scientific or technological uncertainty. In many cases, projects that meet the qualifying criteria are often perceived as too early or too risky for the private sector to get involved.
How to apply for grant funding
Businesses will need to register and complete an application via the Innovation Funding Service. Each funding opportunity has its own eligibility criteria and scope. Once a funding competition is open for entries, briefing events are held online which you will need to register to attend.
Whilst the requirements for each funding competition vary, generally you will need to provide detailed project information, answer a series of in-depth questions and provide costings. Applicants who are successful following this stage will be invited to an interview and may be required to give a presentation.
Applications for Horizon Europe funding must be made through the European Commission’s funding and tenders portal. You will need to create an account and register your organisation before a grant proposal can be submitted.
Before applying for Eureka funding, you must contact Innovate UK to discuss your project idea, financial viability, eligibility and procedures. Applications are then made via the Eureka portal and in parallel to this, project partners must submit a related funding application to their respective funding body, taking into account all relevant procedures and submission rules. Innovate UK is the funding body in the UK.
Why use our grant writing service?
R&D Grant Funding is highly competitive with the national average success rate below 10%. Applying for these grants can be very competitive and time consuming and this is why it often makes sense for businesses wishing to apply to seek professional guidance. You also need to consider how an award of grant funding might affect any claim for R&D Tax Credits.
Industry leading success
R&D Funding Group works with partners who have an industry leading success rate for both Innovate UK and Horizon Europe R&D Grants, and we are able to offer one of the most cost-effective services in the industry. You can gain a significant advantage over other grant applicants by engaging our Grant Writing services as our experienced team of grant writers consistently win funding where many others fail.
Our Industry Leading Process
Our grants team, comprising of scientists and management consultants have developed a unique bid writing process that ensures your grant application exceeds the acceptance thresholds and therefore has the best chance of success. Over the last 3 years we have raised over £60 million across all technology sectors.