£100k to £2m R&D grant for UK companies
Part 2: We asked our lead grant writer for their tips for success in Innovate UK Smart Grant
We are writing two blogs about the recently launched Innovate UK Smart Grant. Blog 2 (This one) has some learnings we have taken from writing successful applications to Innovate UK Smart Grants since 2009. Blog 1 (IUK Smart Grant-Part 1 | Venturenomix) has the key information you will need to understand the grant. Together, the blogs will take 10mins to read and will give you an in-depth basis to understand is Innovate UK Smart Grant right for me.
Our lead grant writer
Mentioning no names, our lead grant writer has over 15years experience in working with clients on a wide range of UK and EU R&D grant applications. She has been writing winning Innovate UK Smart Grants since 2009. She had no hesitation when asked for her advice on what turns a strong Innovate UK Smart Grant Application, into a winning application.
Under the Innovate UK Smart Grant: June 2023, you can submit 3 appendices:
Question 2: Your idea and innovation:
[From Innovate UK guidance] “You must submit an appendix to support the motivation for your project. It can include diagrams or charts to showcase the technical merit of your innovation and highlight how it is world leading. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.”
Here is what our lead grant writer has to say on what to include in Appendix Q2: Innovation:
“Dedicate at least half a page to diagrams – maybe more if the innovation you are trying to explain in particularly complex. Reference the diagram in your answer to Q2 in the main application to save you valuable space. Explain the diagram(s) in the appendix using technical language, don’t be afraid of ‘confusing the assessors’ – they will understand. Use the second page to give some details on your team, the work you have already completed, the traction your company has achieved, the projected financial performance of the company and your competitors. Remember – the appendix is about “the motivation for your project” not just the technical innovation.
Question 6: Delivering your project
[From Innovate UK guidance] “You must submit a project plan to support your answer. This needs to be in sufficient detail to identify any links, dependencies or potential duplication between work packages or milestones. Your appendix can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Here is what our lead grant writer has to say on what to include in Appendix Q6: Project Plan:
“Once you have completed the Work Plan (I suggest a table format) and the Gantt Chart (do not neglect this), there will likely be some space left – use this. Add a breakdown of project costs – by Work Package. Add a breakdown of work effort – i.e. FTE Days per Work Package. Add some detail about how you will manage the project, or explain the critical path (from the Gantt Chart) and how you will ensure smooth progress towards the key technical deliverables.”
[From Innovate UK guidance] “You must also submit a risk register, indicating the main risks for your project, including, but not limited to, technical, commercial, managerial and environmental. You must include any identified interdependencies between these risks, the likely impact and your mitigation strategy. You should pay particular attention to how you will mitigate project delivery risks with your immediate and extended teams, for example your supply chain or end users. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.”
Here is what our lead grant writer has to say on what to include in Appendix Q2: Risk Register:
“I have seen many Risk Registers that focus primarily on the Project Management Risks. Always have Technical Risks first up. Remember, this is a high-risk, high-return project – there should be Technical Risks and plently of them. Rank them high – 4 to 6 of them. Reference them in the answer in the main application. Give a thorough migitigation strategy for each one. Technical Risks could take up a whole page of this appendix. People often don’t state any Environmental Risks – this is a mistake. Even if it is tenuous, have at least one Environmental Risk, preferably two.”
A more general tip for success in Innovate UK Smart Grant
“Before you start to draft an answer to a question, copy each point of the guidance for the specific question and mark them as sub-headings. That way, your answer will definitely cover every point that the assessor is being asked to score your application on. Obvious? It is surprising how many times I have read assessor feedback saying ‘FTO has not been addressed in this answer’ (for example). Good luck!”
Find out more
We offer a full grant writing service for Innovate UK, Horizon Europe, EIC Accelerator, Eurostars and more R&D grant funds. We work with UK and EU companies, universities, charities, NGOs, cities, public bodies and more. See a full list of the services Venturenomix offers here.