UK R&D Grant Funding

R&D Grants exist to be awarded – Are you benefitting?

Research & Development Grant funding can be a very attractive means of achieving the funding technology SMEs require to extend their technological research or development programmes.

As the UK strives to compete in an ever-globalising world economy, there is now a selection of funding programmes available to technology companies seeking to engage in the development of innovative and pioneering products.

However, with the government undertaking a fundamental reappraisal of how it funds business innovation, it is imperative that companies seeking R&D grants are fully aware of the changes taking place. Even then, understanding what particular R&D grants are available at a point in time and which is best suited to their needs and then acquiring the expertise and time to successfully address the assessment process, can be very challenging for any R&D company attempting to go it alone.

Grant award criteria are often difficult to define and the difference between success and failure can sometimes feel like a lottery.

MSC R&D is the UK’s leading expert in obtaining research and development grants for technology SMEs, with over 20 years’ experience in supporting grant applications. Our team of highly qualified senior technologists understand the underlying technology of our clients’ businesses, ensuring a focused, informative application that ticks all the boxes.

With the majority of our fees based on results, MSC R&D take the pain and risk out of obtaining grant funding.

Contact us now for a free telephone consultation.

Innovate UK R&D Grants

Under the Innovate UK ‘simplification’ agenda, details of its first grant funding competition under the new 2016-2017 funding regime were announced in April 2016 with the majority of awards being contingent on applicants partnering with other organisations.

The old SMART scheme has been scrapped in favour of a new programme which consolidates most of the existing matched-funding programmes such as Collaborative R&D, Feasibility Studies and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Innovate UK has established four sector groups that will provide a focus for future grant competitions:

  1. Emerging and enabling technologies
  2. Health and life sciences
  3. Infrastructure systems
  4. Manufacturing and materials

Unlike the previous SMART grants, where companies could apply for up to £250,000 to fund their own internal R&D, any new projects over £100k in value must be collaborative.

The aim of the new competition is to stimulate and broaden innovation.

The structure of the competition means applicants will now be divided into two streams:

  1. Projects with total eligible project costs of up to £100k and 12 months or less in duration
  2. Projects with total eligible project costs of up to £2m and between 12 and 36 months in duration.

The competition is open to both SMEs and Large Enterprises and the intervention rates vary by type of project (Technical feasibility studies and industrial research; Experimental development) and size of company (Small; medium;large).

Business Size Feasibility Studies Industrial Research Experimental Development
Micro/Small 70% 70% 45%
Medium 60% 60% 35%
Large 50% 50% 25%


It is possible to have work packages within a project that cover different types.

2017-18 Call Timings have now been released with the following submission deadlines:

  1. Emerging and enabling technologies – 10.05.17 and 08.11.17
  2. Health & Life Sciences – 12.04.17 and 06.12.17
  3. Infrastructure Systems – 13.09.17 and 14.03.18
  4. Manufacturing & Materials – 12.07.17 and 17.01.18

Open Calls

In addition to the four sector groups, there will be an ‘Open’ funding programme which will support projects from any technology or sector, ranging from proof of concept through to prototype development demonstration. Projects do not need to be collaborative in the ‘Open’ Programme, no matter their size.

The closing dates for the next Open Calls are 09.08.17 and 07.02.18

R&D Grants – The MSC R&D Team Way

MSC R&D’s unrivalled experience in R&D grant funding, and extensive network of contacts, means that we are ideally placed to guide you through the process of matching innovation opportunities to available grants, and subsequently successfully applying for the chosen grant or grants.

Our approach, implemented by experienced proven teams and our ‘fast track blitz’ process and methodologies, minimises your time commitments, and maximises your chances of success.

Initially we will engage with you to define the grant opportunity. In many cases our clients are very clear on the opportunity, but where there is less clarity we can help through our Innovation Day events.

Once the R&D grant project has been agreed we create a senior client facing team consisting of:

  • Project Manager
  • Market Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Technical Analyst

To deal with the wide variety of technologies encountered in so many applications, MSC R&D selects from a pool of highly qualified senior technologists to match the right expertise to our clients’ requirements.

Our proven ‘Blitz’ methodology involves the team spending two days at our client’s premises gathering all the key information to enable us to make a full application on their behalf.

This ensures the minimal amount of disruption to our clients, safe in the knowledge that your application is being processed both professionally and within the timescales provided by the funder.

The consistent levels of success achieved by MSC R&D’s approach to R&D grant funding means that the majority of our fees are Paid-on-Results, providing peace of mind for our clients.

Case Study – Spend 360