What is Innovate UK?

Innovate UK drives innovation across the UK by investing in high-potential innovation projects to accelerate sector growth. In 2016-2017, Innovate UK invested over £561 million in innovation.

In general, the further away from commercialisation your project is, the more funding you can receive from Innovate UK. Award-winning projects will have global export potential that draw on the unique strengths of the UK.

Current funding opportunities at Innovate UK can be found here.

What types of businesses should apply for Innovate UK grant funding?

If you are a UK-based business, you can apply for funding. All kinds of business are eligible, from startups and new companies to large multinational corporations. Consortia that reflect the end-to-end value chain, with end-user (customer) involvement generally score better.

Is your innovation ready for you to apply for Innovate UK grant funding?

You can apply for Innovate UK grant funding if you want to:

  1. Test whether your idea will work, through a feasibility study.
  2. Create a new product, process, or service, or improve an existing one, through R&D, trials and demonstrations.
  3. Work on collaborative projects with other businesses or research organisations.

How long does it take to prepare an Innovate UK application?

Preparation of an Innovate UK application is a two-way consultative process and takes between 100 to 300 hours of work. You will need the right combination of people and skill-sets to cover the application’s key aspects: the technology, market knowledge, commercialisation plan, financial details and project management discipline. Our bid writers act as facilitators, teasing out pre-existing information from your business, and helping you to create new content for the proposal, drawing upon our experience of having won, executed and delivered to time and budget many Innovate UK projects.

What’s the Innovate UK evaluation process?

Only applications that meet the funding competition’s eligibility criteria and scope are sent for assessment. You will be notified if your application is out of scope, with full reasons why.

Applications are assessed by up to five independent assessors, who judge the applications against the same set of scoring criteria. The assessors provide written feedback for each scored question. All applications are judged on individual merit, with the Innovate UK funder’s panel making the final decision regarding funding.

Some competitions are subject to a ‘“portfolio” approach, to ensure that funds are allocated across the strategic areas in the competition’s scope. All successful applications must meet a quality threshold.

What’s the success rate of Innovate UK applications?

As Innovate UK has recently changed the way that they work and has introduced a new grant funding competition structure for 2016-2017, there is not currently any information available about the success rate of applications. It remains a highly competitive process and even very high scoring proposals can be rejected due to the new “portfolio” approach that Innovate UK are now taking.

Cutting Edge Analysis can work on a day rate, or an upfront fee and win bonus. For exceptional teams and ideas, we can also work on a no win, no fee basis. We believe in having some ‘skin in the game’ although this makes us highly selective with regards to potential clients. We include a free rewrite service if a bid fails on the first time around. Each project idea may only be submitted twice.

What type of Innovate UK applications are likely to succeed?

Your Innovate UK application is more likely to succeed if it:

  1. Shows how the project will result in a real innovation and does not simply replicate products currently on the market, or provide an incremental improvement.
  2. Provides a convincing company/team description, and route to market, which explains why you are more likely to succeed than a competitor.
  3. Includes a clear and thorough description of the business opportunity, not just a description of the project.
  4. Demonstrates a clear understanding of the target market, including commercialisation and competitor information.

Who evaluates an Innovate UK application?

An Innovate UK application normally has ten questions, each scored out of ten, by up to five external assessors who are experts in the area of innovation identified in the application. These experts represent both business and research sectors.

How long does it take to receive a decision from Innovate UK?

Innovate UK aims to inform you whether or not your project will be funded in around two months after the submission deadline. Assessor feedback is provided on all applications and is useful both for the business and for proposal re-writes, which we offer for free as part of our service. This usually becomes available 2-4 weeks after you are notified of a decision.

How is Innovate UK grant money paid?

For Innovate UK, project costs are only eligible if they are incurred and paid between the project start date end date. These claims will be subject to an independent audit if the grant totals more than £25k. Grants are claimed quarterly, in arrears, as a percentage of project costs incurred, dependent upon the type of research and the size of the company (up to 70%).

Cutting Edge offers fair commission payment terms, linking our invoices to your grant receipts. We also support project initiation and the first claim paperwork as part of our fee.

If you are interested, please contact us at kprescott@cuttingedgeanalysis.com

Get In Touch

We help companies seeking grant funding by writing proposals for them. Contact us for a free appraisal of your R&D project idea.



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