Smart Ways to Fund Innovation

Smart Ways to Fund Innovation

In an ever-changing world, businesses are under increasing competitive pressure to be more efficient, more productive, more agile, more lean, and ultimately more innovative. Research and development (R&D) is not therefore something reserved for the few, and as business guru Peter Drucker puts it, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”.

Wise words indeed. But how do you fund innovation? R&D Tax Credits are an excellent incentive and have the added advantage of being retrospective. My Tax colleagues are experts in assisting clients to make successful claims in this area and are happy to advise on eligibility.

Another alternative is grant funding. Innovate UK (part of UK Research & Innovation) runs an array of grant funding competitions. Its Smart Grant programme considers eligible costs ranging from £25,000 to £2.0m, depending on the duration of the project (6-36 months). Projects must be UK-based and include at least one SME.

Intervention rates vary depending on size of applicant and the type of R&D involved. The current Smart Grant competition has £25m allocated and provides funding for innovative R&D from feasibility (including market research), through to technology or prototype testing and development stages up to (but not including) commercialisation.

R&D Tax Credits and Smart Grants both constitute forms of State Aid so receiving one will impact on the other. It is best therefore to seek initial advice and our Tax team can advise on individual cases. 

Details of the current round of Smart Grants can be found through the following link -

For details on R&D Tax Credits,  innovation or other forms of grant funding, contact Ewan McClymont, Grants Director at Bishop Fleming on 01872 275651 or at 

Article by: Ewan McClymont, Grants Director at Bishop Fleming