Every funding competition has eligibility requirements, the requirements are there to make sure the funder receives value for money and that the project they are investing in will be a success. Reading through the full eligibility, scope and guidance is imperative, but sometimes it can be hard to navigate through the jargon to identify what the funder actually wants. This blog will help you to get a better understanding of eligibility by focusing on 3 key requirements.
Every funding competition will have important scope details that need to be met for your project to be classed as eligible. A good way to know if your project matches the scope of the competition is to look at examples of what the funder will not fund as part of the project. You could have the most innovative project in your sector but if it doesn’t meet the scope your application would not even be passed through to assessment.
Example: Innovate UK SMART Grants
*We will not fund proposals that do not:
Example: SBRI competition – Modernising Energy Data Applications phase 1
*We will not fund projects:
Example: Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst 2020: round 1, early and late-stage awards
*We will not fund projects that we consider to be at too early a stage, for example:
We will not fund projects that are too close to market or are already in market, such as:
Applying for grant funding is a big commitment and is an activity that should be considered when planning business growth strategies so you can identify whether your business/project is ready for the challenge.
The three elements below make up the core project requirements that you will need to consider:
1. Project start date
Will my company/project have all the right resources in place to be able to start on this specific date?
2. Project duration
Can I commit to the amount of work that needs to be done within this set timescale?
3. Total project budget
Can I achieve project outcomes within this budget?
The funding rates you can receive will depend on the size and type of your organisation and your role in the project. Organisations typically fall into 3 categories:
Project costs that are classed as eligible for a typical Innovate UK projects include:
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “If the fund is £500k should I apply for the maximum amount?”. The answer is to work from the ground up, build costs based on the work plan that achieves the project outputs – how much do you need to achieve the ambitious project in the best form.
If this is close to the maximum then that is fine but by working from the ground up you will have developed a justification for the work plan and associated funding ask.
Also ensure you don’t ask for too little, it needs to be commercially competitive but also realistic when viewed next to the proposed work plan.
You may be thinking, well, if I employ a consultancy to write my application for me I don’t need to know any of the above. However, from our experience of working with hundreds of clients, those that have done the background research and have looked at how the funders communicate their requirements feel more confident when working with us throughout the application process and once they have been successful and are working through the project.
It is true that applying for R&D grant funding can be daunting and there is no guarantee of success, but carrying out the background research on eligibility ensures your project fits the competition, which ultimately maximises your chances of success. If you have seen a funding competition that you’re interested in applying for, but would like more clarification on whether your project is eligible, our team would be happy to help, so get in touch.
*Information sourced from the Innovate UK funding competition website.