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£20M innovation competition opens for applicants


Engineering firms can bid for £20M of funding for game-changing or disruptive ideas, in a new government competition which opens today (Monday).   

Government innovation agency Innovate UK has launched the scheme where projects can bid for funding worth up to £3M.  

The competition is open to all sectors but could include projects that fall under the government’s industrial strategy – which includes the drive to transform construction productivity.   

Innovate UK is specifically looking for projects which can be exported globally and have strong growth potential.  

Innovate UK executive chair Ian Campbell said: “We know that new business ideas have the potential to improve and transform people’s lives, industries and the world and they can come from anywhere, at any time.”   

“Our funding is designed for businesses with great innovative ideas and the capacity and appetite to achieve significant growth,” he added.  

This competition is the latest in a long line of government investment. It has committed more thab £2.5bn to innovation projects since 2007.  

Engineering firms which submit projects suitable for this competition may also be eligible for tax relief credits through the R&D tax credit scheme.  

Applicants for the Smart Grant have until  24 April to apply. Those seeking more information should contact the Knowledge Transfer Network at Innovate UK. 

Successful proposals must demonstrate: 

  • A clear game-changing and/or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services 
  • An idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field and is set for rapid commercialisation 
  • A strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs 
  • A team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time 
  • Awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays and so on) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each 
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines 
  • Good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions 
  • A clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion 
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way 

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