SMART:Scotland grants

What is SMART:Scotland?

SMART:Scotland is a grant for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) based in Scotland.

The grant helps you undertake technical feasibility studies and research and development (R&D) projects that have a commercial endpoint.

Feasilbity studies

A feasibility study is carried out at an early stage of an R&D project, to see if the new product or process will work in the real world.

We can support up to 70% of the eligible costs for a small SME and up to 60% of the eligible costs for a medium SME:

  • A small SME has less than 50 employees and a turnover of less than €10 million
  • A medium SME has 50-250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million

Studies must last between 6 and 18 months, and the maximum grant is £100,000.

The grant is paid quarterly in arrears against claims submitted.

R&D projects

SMART:Scotland grants can help support projects that aim to develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process.

Support is available at up to 35% of the eligible project costs.

Projects must last between 6 and 36 months, and the maximum grant is £600,000.

The grant is paid quarterly in arrears and minimum total project cost is £75,000.

How it works?

We’ve been awarded funding from the European Commission's European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to contribute towards the support we provide to eligible SMEs. This applies across all SMART:Scotland awards.

If you’re awarded a SMART:Scotland grant and meet ESIF eligibility criteria, the grant offer letter will confirm this.

You’ll be asked to provide evidence to support your claim before you can receive grant payments. Details of the evidence we need will be included in the grant offer.

Am I eligible?

Your company must be:

  • A small or medium sized business, university spin-out or an individual
  • Based, or planning to set up, in Scotland

European Commission's definition of an SME

Your project must exhibit:

  • An advance in technological innovation for the UK industry or sector concerned
  • The technical risks and challenges associated with defining and developing the technology

Perfect your pitch

You must be able to demonstrate:

  • That you own, or have rights to exploit, the intellectual property required to undertake the project
  • All intellectual property developed throughout the project will be owned by the company receiving grant funding
  • How commercial prospects for the end product or process will be achieved, with realistic and effective routes to market
  • That you have the necessary management and technical expertise and resources (either in-house or brought-in) to make the project a success
  • That both the project and the business are financially viable
  • That financial assistance from SMART:Scotland is essential

Is it essential that a patent arises from the project?

No. Many inventions are protected by patent but this is not the only way to protect intellectual property (IP). Our assessment process does, however, include a patent search to determine the level of innovation and identify any prior art.

While patent protection isn't essential, it is essential that you demonstrate that you will own all IP generated through the project. You'll also need to tell us of how you will protect that IP.

Need help with IP? Contact our intellectual assets team

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?

After submitting your initial enquiry form, you'll be asked to submit a full application. You’ll be assigned a case officer who will take you through the whole process.

Appraisal

Your application will be assessed as soon as we receive it. If it meets basic eligibility criteria, we will commission intensive due diligence checks.

We’ll also commission a worldwide patent search to assess the level of innovation in your project and confirm it does not infringe any other intellectual property.

We’ll be in touch if any issues arise from these checks or we need to clarify any points in your application.

Confidentiality

Your application for SMART:Scotland funding may be referred to other Scottish Enterprise Departments, Government agencies and to non-Government bodies with sources of technical expertise for help in appraisal.

Confidentiality will be maintained throughout.

External technical, financial and intellectual property advisors undertake due diligence checks of applications.

We’ve established confidentiality agreements with each of the organisations to ensure that all material sent to them relating to grant applications is handled in strictest confidence.

The UK Intellectual Property Office has confirmed that SMART:Scotland does not constitute public disclosure for patenting purposes, as the information provided in confidence is not in the public domain.

Approval process

Where an application is successful, we allocate a dedicated grant manager to your project. They will be responsible for the management, processing and payment of claims, and ensuring that all relevant documentation and information is submitted.

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.