19.07.23 Funding Preparation

10 elements to a successful innovation grant application

We’ve worked with hundreds of clients since 2011 and have secured over £250 million in research and development grant funding, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about what makes an innovation grant application and project successful.

We believe there are 10 key elements and it’s important to consider each one in order to present a well-rounded and promising application project.

1) Fit to scope
Specific competitions only fund certain types of research and development, so it is always worth checking that your project aligns with the scope of the competition, including any specific themes. Also, check what the funder will not fund, they are adept at spotting projects that have been shoe-horned in.

2) Project definition
Ensure you have a clearly defined work plan, weaving in tasks, milestones, deliverables, resources, budgetary requirements, dependencies and timings. Watch this Agony Grant clip on building a project work plan.

3) A truly innovative project
A grant-fundable project requires developing game-changing and commercially viable research and development that can significantly impact the UK economy. Consider whether your project is truly innovative at its core. Does it advance on the current state-of-the-art, improve an existing product, service or tool, and/or disrupt an industry?

4) Market awareness
By demonstrating a strong understanding of the market opportunity you are addressing, you can show that you have thoroughly researched the future commercialisation of your innovation. Understand and demonstrate what your competitors are currently doing and why your innovation is superior.

5) Commercialisation
At the centre of any industry-focused application is the route to market, which focuses on how you will make money from the market opportunity you have identified. Financial forecasts and readily available letters of interest are important here and give credibility to your application.

6) Project impacts
When you build your proposal you will have to demonstrate how the different impacts of your innovation will meet government priorities and have a spillover effect on the national economy by generating revenues, potentially creating a new market, jobs etc. Quantification will be key in supporting your arguments. Watch this Agony Grant clip on understanding the economic, social and environmental impact of your innovation.

7) Project team
Identify your team, including any collaborators or subject experts. Often, the people involved in the project are just as critical as the innovation itself. When developing your team, it is vital to think about this from two perspectives: Firstly, what do the project’s resource and skill requirements look like? And secondly, do you need to bring in additional support on any aspects?

8) Projects costs and funds
Project costs and finances will be under scrutiny from assessors and need to be in line with the competition scope. Funders will seek evidence that your project can provide suitable value for money. Ensure you have compliant and justified project costs (including any partners). Find out what costs are eligible in Innovate UK grant applications in this Agony Grant clip.

9) Intellectual Property
There are broadly four types of IP rights: patents, copyright, design rights and trademarks. Patents relate most to grant funding due to the nature of R&D funding competitions which look for novel technologies, products, or processes that will put the UK at the forefront of innovation. Within some grant funding applications, there is a dedicated section to outline any IP you have and how you are going to protect it. Read more here in our short guide to IP for grants.

10) Identify and mitigate risks
Categorising risks will assure assessors that you have a holistic understanding of your project and technology. Creating a risk register demonstrates that you are aware of potential risks and have the strategies in place to cope with any type of disruption. Find out how to identify technical challenges and risks with your project in this Agony Grant clip.

We’ve operated in the non-dilutive funding space for over 10 years and, in that time, have seen research and development scoring thresholds increase, and the quality of projects dramatically advance.

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If you would like one of our experts to qualify your innovation project and provide you with the best possible chance of funding success.

To learn more about our services, click here.


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