One thing you learn very quickly from submitting grant funding applications is that there are no guarantees of success. In fact, you can submit an excellent grant application into a funding call and still not receive funding simply because the standard of other applications is higher than normal. As taxpayers, we should expect that a reasonable level of scrutiny is applied to those seeking public funds, meaning securing it should be a highly competitive process. That does not mean that creating an application with a good chance of succeeding is impossible though.
Whilst it feels cliché to even the write the sentence, it is the basics of grant application writing that are often unknown or misunderstood. As the old saying goes, don’t anger the examiner! If an assessor has seen a few applications before yours, they are likely to look unfavourably on your application as a whole if you are failing to do the basics right. So let’s get into some of the fundamental things you should consider when writing your application to Innovate UK, or any other innovation grant funding for that matter.
Consider the investment that you are requesting and ask yourself whether it represents genuine value for money.
If you capture a 10% market share, will the returns justify the level of investment you are requesting?
Is the market genuinely big enough? Be honest and consider whether you can credibly evidence this.
2. The innovation
How is the idea distinctive from similar or related products and does it have the strength to be exploited globally?
Is there truly nowhere else that the idea can be bought from or created by a consultancy?
Can it be a genuine world lead?
3. Readiness level
Is your innovation moving towards commercialisation? Is there market pull? You should be framing your application around a market driven innovation as opposed to something that is closer to research or ‘blue skies’.
Do you have any potential customers? Could they be a partner on the application? If they can’t be, you should consider justifying this.
4. Use of public funds
Why are you requesting that public funds are used for your innovation?
Why are you not taking other available options e.g. VC/angel investment or loans?
5. Spreading your bets
Have you under or overthought any of the sections? Do some look better answered than others? Remember that all sections have equal weighting and whilst it can be tempting to focus on certain sections, that approach won’t get you very far!
Hopefully some of the advice above can be helpful when considering how you approach your grant funding application. Of course, this is just a soft touch so if you would like some further discussion and assistance, Grant Starter can help you with your application.