NanoKTN urges UK SMEs to take advantage of £10m R&D funding call
4 December 2012
Following the opening of the Technology Strategy Board's
‘Technology-inspired’ competition call on 3 December, NanoKTN is urging
UK SMEs to apply for fast-track and collaborative research and
development funding. It also welcomes the changes to Technology Strategy
Board funding rules to further support UK SMEs’ business growth and
UKTI is calling for innovative proposals from SMEs that
focus on projects that advance the development of a recent
technological discovery or breakthrough in the context of
significant and identifiable technological risk, which can be
broadly applied across a wide range of market opportunities and
needs. Projects must be collaborative and business-led.
The Technology Strategy Board has allocated up to £10m to fund
fast-track and collaborative research and development projects that
aim to demonstrate new technologies that align with the competition
Additional funding from the BBSRC and the EPSRC may be available
for projects in line with the scope of this competition that contain
a significant, high-quality academic research component and
demonstrate added value by building on or being complementary to
their existing research programmes and portfolios. BBSRC are
offering up to £750k for the competition and EPSRC will consider
projects on a case-by-case basis.
Projects should be collaborative (ie with at least two partners)
and business-led. Research organisations may participate in projects
as a partner in a consortium. However at least 70% of the project
costs must be incurred by businesses. Large companies involved in a
project can claim up to 50% of their costs while small and
medium-sized companies can claim up to 60%. Research organisations
will be able to claim 100% of their eligible project costs depending
upon their research activity and dissemination.
The competition has two strands:
- Strand 1 is a single-stage fast-track process. Projects must
be led by a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and must last
between six and 12 months.
- Strand 2 is a two-stage competition. Consortia should
include at least one SME partner and projects must last between
12 and 24 months.
The competition opened on 3 December 2012 and
registration closes on 23 January 2013.
A briefing event will be held in London on 11
December 2012 to highlight the main features of the competition and
explain the application process.
For further information see:
The Technology Strategy Board has also simplified the way funding
is allocated to the partners in collaborative research and
development projects which include research organisations. The
changes are good news both for business — especially SMEs — and for
the research base. The main aim is to encourage companies to
collaborate with UK research organisations by maximising the funding
a business can receive when it works with a research organisation on
a collaborative project.
Dr Alec Reader, Director at the NanoKTN, explained, “Previously,
the grant funding was allocated to the project overall and the
partners divided it. The proportion of grant funding as a percentage
of total project cost was generally capped at 50%, so a business or
consortium wanting to involve a research partner had to split the
grant between the partners.
"With these changes, different elements of the overall grant are
now allocated to each project partner based on their organisation
type and size, rather than to the project as a whole. Businesses in
an applied research project, for example, can now claim the full
grant of 50% of their costs (or 60% in the case of an SME) to match
their own funding.”
There is an additional benefit for SMEs. In the past they could
in theory claim up to 60% of their costs, but the 50% overall
project cap meant that if several SMEs were in a project they could
not each claim 60%. As the allocation will now be by partner, all
SMEs in a project will be able to claim up to 60% of their costs.
Reader continued, “SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy and we
are delighted that these new funding changes and
technology-inspired’ funding competition calls will directly assist
SMEs in their business growth and development. The objective of
collaborative research and development is to assist industry,
research communities and other organisations to work together on
research and development projects in strategically important areas
of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new
products, processes and services can emerge.”
The changes apply to new Technology Strategy Board Collaborative
Research and Development competitions, where there is the facility
to partner with research organisations, opening after 1 Sept 2012.
For further information on the funding rule changes and guidance
for applicants, please visit: