How can I get funding for my R&D project?


With applications for Round 5 of the Regional Growth Fund now closed, there remains a range of alternative routes available to manufacturing SMEs to obtain government funding for ‘revenue’ expenditure on R&D projects.


The Technology Strategy Board


The Technology Strategy Board’s SMART grants remain available to SMEs, and can be applied for on a bi-monthly basis (so a greater frequency than the RGF). The SMART grants can provide support for Proof of Market, Proof of Concept and also Prototype Development projects.


The Technology Strategy Board also provides a range of support to specific sectors through the use of specific grant ‘competitions’ aimed at development of new technologies in sectors which will typically include automotive, renewable, chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors. The amounts of grant funding will depend on the particular competition, but can often substantially exceed the amounts available under the SMART programme.


R&D Tax Reliefs and Credits


In addition, HMRC’s R&D Tax Reliefs and Tax Credits programme continues to provide more than £1bn of support annually to R&D carried out by UK companies of all sizes. The recent introduction of the R&D Expenditure Credit has provided a new means for companies to access additional benefit from the funds administered by HMRC, and can even be used as a way to generate additional funding for projects which have already received grant funding.


The number of routes for companies to obtain grant funding for their R&D expenditure may be more limited than previously, but the traditional ‘pre-RGF’ routes should now be reconsidered by any company seeking funding for R&D.


Ginni Cooper is head of the manufacturing team at Moore and Smalley