Research and development (R&D) grants

Finance your research

Our research and development (R&D) grants help projects that will lead to innovative new products, processes and services to:

  • Improve company competitiveness
  • Benefit the Scottish economy

Projects typically last 6 to 36 months, and the grant can cover up to 50% of the project costs. In that time, you could be producing drafts, drawings, plans and other documentation, provided that they aren’t intended for commercial use. 

We support the new stuff. The grant doesn’t cover the routine or periodic changes made to products, processes or services and other operations in progress, even if such changes may represent improvements.

Am I eligible?

You need to be based in Scotland or planning to establish business in Scotland.
Most sectors are eligible and applications from traditional industries, hi-tech businesses and the service sector are equally welcome.

We also welcome defence projects aimed at:

  • UK-approved defence export markets, or
  • R&D projects for the UK defence market (subject to some restrictions), and
  • Defence-related R&D, where there is a primary civilian application

Which projects are considered?

Your project must represent a significant innovation for the company concerned and significant risks should be associated with the challenge of developing a new product, process or service.

It’s got to be new. We don’t support projects where the work has already started or commercial contracts are in place.

Make it clear why you need our support to make this activity happen, along with possible outcomes, if support isn't available.

Qualifying criteria

The selection process will consider:

  • The nature of the R&D
  • The creation or safeguarding of R&D jobs
  • Links into other local companies, perhaps for materials or specialist knowledge
  • Global market opportunity
  • Intellectual property
  • The wider impact for society, including factors such as environmental impact, sustainability and health and safety. We will not support projects which will have a known adverse effect on the environment and/or society.

Perfect your pitch

You must also demonstrate that:

  • There are good commercial prospects for the end-product, process or service, with realistic and effective routes to market. Evidence of potential commercial interest would be beneficial
  • You have the necessary management and technical expertise and resources, either in-house or brought-in, to make the project a success. The R&D grant aims to help grow R&D capacity within Scotland’s businesses, so it is not possible to support projects where most of the R&D activity is being undertaken by third parties.
  • Financial help via the R&D grant is essential, and both the project and the business are financially viable

What level of funding is available?

The amount offered will be at our discretion, and we give your project a thorough appraisal before we decide.

Grants thresholds

  • For all SMEs applying for a grant over £100k, Scottish Enterprise are providing an intervention rate of 35% up to 50%
  • For all large companies applying for a grant over £100k, Scottish Enterprise are providing an intervention rate of 25% up to 40%

European Commission’s definition of an SME

Grants above £100k must demonstrate a positive impact on R&D jobs in Scotland

Grants are typically paid quarterly in arrears, based on evidence of actual expenditure.

Grants to SMEs may involve European funding, but we'll tell you in any offer letter whether this is the case. We publish annual reports, listing details of the R&D Grants we've awarded.

View our most recent R&D grants awarded

How to apply

Get your application started

Once you've told us a bit about your company, we'll see how our team can help you.

What happens next?

As part of your final application process you’ll be asked to complete and submit:

  • An Expression of Interest form
  • Project proposal
  • Business plan and accounts

If you’ve an established management arrangement with Scottish Enterprise, and you’ve already provided some or all this information for other purposes, discuss this with your relationship manager before you apply.

Provided your application meets basic eligibility criteria, we’ll carry out appropriate internal or external due diligence using experienced technical and financial assessors.

Contact our team to learn more

Our team are on hand to answer your questions and explain the support we can offer to help your business succeed.