SMART Proof of Concept

A grant to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process:

  • 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.

Key features

  • duration - up to 18 months
  • maximum grant - up to £100k
  • funding proportion - up to 60% of total project costs

Background to the Smart scheme

The Smart scheme tackles the funding gap often experienced by many small and early-stage companies with innovative ideas and high growth ambition and potential.

It offers co-funding to UK-based pre-start-ups, start-ups, micro businesses and SMEs, to carry out science, engineering and technology R&D projects which could lead to successful new products, processes and services.

Smart helps companies assess potential markets, prove concepts and develop prototypes.

By reducing financial risk, it aims to encourage SME investment, increase innovation capability, accelerate the commercialisation of new products and services, and contribute to economic growth.

The Smart programme is ‘always open' and is not restricted to projects in certain themes or sectors; offering funding to single, UK-based, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who have high growth ambition and potential, to engage in R&D projects from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.

How it works

Smart is "always open", however applications are assigned into batches for final assessment, known as rounds. There are six rounds per year; the next closing dates are:

Round 4 - 26/11/2015

Round 5 - 21/01/2016

Round 6 - 24/03/2016 

Once an application is submitted, it is forwarded to independent assessors to begin the assessment process. Following the round close date, Innovate UK collates all of the assessment feedback and scores from the assessors, ranking submissions in order to allocate the available funding. An applicant should expect to hear from the Innovate UK approximately one month after the close date with respect to its funding decision.

Who can apply?

Smart is aimed at SMEs with high growth ambition and potential. Pre start-ups, start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses from all sectors across the UK, undertaking R&D may apply.

Competition brief

For more information contact:

Scheme Provider

Innovate UK


0300 321 4357




Innovate UK, The Technology Strategy Board, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1UE