27.04.22 Know-how

What are the changes to Innovate UK Smart Grants?

You may have heard the rumours about changes to Innovate UK’s Smart Grants competition, so what’s new? We have created a short blog highlighting the changes to make life easier for you. 

What is Smart Grants?

Innovate UK’s Smart Grants competition is a popular grant funding option for UK innovators. With a core budget of approximately £100m/year, the competition has run for over 10 years with 3-4 funding rounds typically per annum. Its broad eligibility for applicants from any sector has always made the fund attractive.

A temporary reduction in sector-specific (or themed) funds, in particular, has increased the competitiveness of Smart and we suspect has made it more challenging for worthy innovators to secure funding. 

The changes to Smart Grants

In recognition of the increased competitiveness of the Smart Grants, Innovate UK has made key changes to Smart’s format, including:

  • Greater emphasis on the added value of public funding to the applicant’s project, including the applicant’s funding journey to date, and its wider impacts, including regional and socio-economic benefits to be detailed within the grant funding application. 
  • More prominent prioritisation of genuinely world-leading, breakthrough innovation with a requirement to robustly evidence why the applicant is best placed to capitalise on the opportunity and how they will rapidly commercialise and exploit project outputs, particularly through export growth.
    • Applicants are expected to clearly demonstrate how the project will lead to a significant return on investment (ROI) for both themselves and the UK taxpayer as quickly as possible post-project completion within their application for funding.
  • The clarity that Innovate UK expects applicants to have researched alternative sources of funding (such as equity, debt, crowdfunding or other Innovate UK funding options) and to present a clear rationale as to why Smart Grants funding is the best-suited option currently available. 

Our Support

The Granted team are experts in crafting winning grant applications for multiple clients and a variety of funders. Both of those elements require us to embrace change every day, and that’s why we love it, each day is different whether it be a different client or funding application format. 

This new change to Innovate UK Smart Grants is the same as our teams day to day and we will continue our strong track record in securing Smart Grants funding for our clients

Work with a team that understands the technicalities of the project and application format so you can focus on fulfilling your potential. Get in touch today if you have any further questions on the Smart Grants change or for Grant Writing Consultancy support.


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