New Business Grants for Research and Development

A new Technology Strategy Board scheme is offering funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.

Open from 4 April 2011, the Grant for Research and Development (Grant for R&D) scheme will support R&D projects which offer potentially significant rewards and could stimulate UK economic growth. In contrast to the Collaborative R&D programme, Grant for R&D funding is available to single companies.

Three types of grant are available:

• Proof of market
• Proof of concept
• Development of prototype

Any UK SME working in any sector may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.

Grant for R&D replaces the scheme previously offered by regional development agencies. The new scheme will work alongside existing programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Proof-of-market grant

This grant enables companies to assess the commercial viability of a project, through:

• market research
• market testing and competitor analysis
• intellectual property position
• initial planning to take the project to commercialisation, including assessing costs, timescales and funding requirements.
Projects will last up to 9 months, have a maximum grant of £25k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.

Proof-of-concept grant

SMEs may use this grant to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process, including:

• initial feasibility studies
• basic prototyping
• specialist testing and/or demonstration to provide basic proof of technical feasibility
• intellectual property protection
• investigation of production and assembly options.
It also includes pre-clinical research studies for healthcare technologies and medicines, including target identification and validation.

Projects will last up to 18 months, have a maximum grant of £100k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be funded.

Development of prototype grant

This funding is used by companies to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process, and can include projects such as:

• small demonstrators
• intellectual property protection
• trials and testing, including clinical
• market testing.
Projects will last up to 2 years and have a maximum grant of £250k; up to 35% of total project costs for medium enterprises, or up to 45% for small and micro enterprises, may be funded.

Further information including full guidance for applicants is available here

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