If at first you don't succeed...

The past couple of months have been busy for Grant Starter. We had a successful round of Innovate UK Smart Grants in the summer, before moving onto helping our clients with submissions to Round 3 of the Sustainable Innovation Fund (SIF). We heard at the end of last week that we achieved a 100% success record with our SIF grant applications - an achievement that we’re very proud of.

The cycle continues, and we’re now deep into Smart Grant territory again, working with our clients to submit before the end of November.

Learning should be continuous

Whilst we are always looking towards the next round of grant funding, our experience tells us that taking time to learn from successes is hugely important in this line of work. Clearly, there is a temptation (hopefully it’s not just us…) to see a successful grant application and think, “objective achieved” and move on without second thought. But that approach lacks value, and the only things to be gained are a happy customer and a good reference for the future.

A more sensible approach is to say, “OK, let’s clear the diary for a couple of hours and have a proper look through the feedback.” Every application assessor is unique, meaning the feedback they give can be wildly different. Sometimes it is frustrating – for example, when an assessor credits your inclusion of certain data on one application but an assessor on another application responds to its inclusion negatively. In many cases though, their feedback is an extremely powerful tool for future applications.

Absorb it. Use it.

So often we interact with clients that have already submitted a proposal to Innovate UK and failed. They often feel aggrieved at the feedback they’ve received from assessors. If you push that feeling to the side and read the feedback through, you’ll often find that some of the most important attributes to improving your proposal are hidden in the feedback. Some of it is so obvious, it might smack you in the face!

Every new grant application we take on is informed by our previous experiences. We analyse feedback from every application we deal with, so we can use it to strengthen our client’s applications and make it difficult for assessors to do anything but score positively!

A two-step process (sometimes...)

In the latest Round of the Sustainable Innovation Fund, we worked with a client that had a fantastic idea but received quite a lukewarm response on their first grant application. However, after restructuring the application according to the (robust) critique of the assessors, we scored over 80% and secured the client the funding they requested.

We know that sometimes resubmitting an application can give clients the best chance of succeeding, as they effectively have a free assessor review. Whilst it isn’t something we need to use often, we offer a free resubmission service to all our clients if they’re unsuccessful on their initial attempt. Nine times out of ten, it works out for the best.

If you’re thinking of applying for an Innovate UK Smart Grant or any other IUK funding, get in contact with Grant Starter for a no obligation chat!

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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