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Grant funding: Q&A with RedKnight Consultancy

Grant funding can provide a much needed cash injection for companies participating in research and development activities, with each funding opportunity displaying its own set of eligibility criteria and scope.

But where do you start?

LimestoneGrey has teamed up with RedKnight Consultancy to identify the answers to frequently asked grant-funding questions. 

What grant funding options are available for companies

Grant funding is available at the regional, national, and European level. 

 

Regional

The options available to your company will depend on your location. An example is SMARTCymru which are grants for Welsh businesses to develop, implement and commercialise new products, processes and services.

 

National

Innovate UK, part of UK Rsearchg and Innovation, have invested around £2.5 billion in innovation projects since 2007 and provides funding opportunities for a wide range of sectors, including:

  • artificial intelligence (AI) and the data economy
  • ageing society
  • health and nutrition
  • clean growth and infrastructure
  • mobility
  • manufacturing and materials.

They also run an open grant funding competition, Smart Grants, each quarter.

 

European

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion for the next 7 years (2021-2027).

Eureka is an international network comprised of 45 countries in Europe and beyond. Their Eurostars programme is the largest international funding programme for SMEs wishing to collaborate on R&D projects.

Will the Brexit decision have an impact on funding options? 

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement established that the UK will associate to Horizon Europe (the EU’s €95.5 billion framework for research and innovation). This means that the UK will participate fully in the new programme. UK scientists, researchers, and businesses will be able to access funding on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries.

However, the EIC Accelerator is a notable exception. This is a blended finance programme (combining grant funding and equity) under Horizon Europe, but UK entities can only apply for the grant component.

The UK will also continue to participate in the Eureka programme, retaining access to its various funding schemes, including Eurostars.

 

How long does a grant application take? 

We like to allow between 4 and 6 weeks to develop a comprehensive funding application. If you’re applying as a single entity, 4 weeks is often sufficient. If you are working in collaboration, additional time will be required to collate information and allow the full project team to review drafts.

 

How do I know if my company is eligible for a funding stream? 

There are a number of issues that affect whether your company is eligible to access a particular funding stream. You should consider:

  • Company size – some programmes are designed for SMEs only whilst others may just need an SME in the consortium.
  • Consortium size – some programmes are designed for single entities, just one SME for example, whilst others need a group of partners fulfilling discrete roles.
  • Location – some programmes require companies to be in different countries. This is typical of many European funding schemes.
  • Company status and ownership – whether you’re an autonomous, linked or partner company is an important aspect which can affect your eligibility. (See SME ).
  • Your innovation project idea – different funding streams may have different ideas about the level of development of your project – the starting point and where it’s expecting to end up. 

Be aware that different competitions within the same overall funding programme can also have different eligibility criteria.

Can I apply for more than one competition at a time? 

Different competitions have different rules, but you can generally apply to multiple competitions at the same time. However, if you are successful with more than one application for the same project, you will need to decide which fund to progress with.

Grant funding and R&D tax credits have two important features in common:

  • they can provide a significant cash injection to help fund a company’s research and development project.
  • they are beset with rules and regulations.

As with R&D tax credits, it is important that a company obtains the correct advice.  This will greatly increase their chances of gaining access to the aditional funding.

Despite common misconceptions, receiving a grant will not prevent a company from claiming R&D tax credits. In fact, receiving an innovation-related grant will only strengthen your R&D tax credit claim.

Matthew Jones

Managing Director, Limestonegrey

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