You’ve submitted a grant application to Innovate UK. You’ve given a significant amount of blood, sweat and tears to the process, pulled together 4000 words plus 10 pages or so of appendices. You’ve waited a couple of months for your results and then you get the message that you’ve been unsuccessful this time around.
Sound familiar? Given the challenge of pleasing Innovate UK assessors, this is entirely commonplace.
Play the long game
Some of my clients work this out before we speak and others haven’t quite spotted it when we do but it’s important to look at applying to Innovate UK as a long-term initiative. The fundamental point here is that it can take two attempts to get a proposal funded. If you’re a really positive person, think about getting a rejection first time around as a cheat. You get 5 sets of comments on each application question, effectively telling you how to improve them for next time.
At Grant Starter, we run a detailed analysis process for you after any failure. If you’ve got an old application that wasn’t successful, we’ll laser in on the commentary and provide the essential steps, plus our own expertise, to make sure you stand the best chance of being successful second time around. If you submit an application with us and receive a rejection on your first attempt, we’ll provide the same service and you won’t incur any extra cost.
Over recent months, Grant Starter has helped more clients obtain government funding for their innovations across health, artificial intelligence, digital wellbeing and the built environment. A few of these have been far from straightforward so I wanted to highlight some interesting cases.
1. A client submitted their proposal, which scored just under 80%. It was rejected. We analysed, prepared a resubmission and, just before sending it to Innovate UK, the client received an email from them saying they now wanted to fund the original!
2. A client submitted their proposal, which scored 83%. It was rejected. We prepared a resubmission for them and they received £250k of funding, even though they scored less second time around.
What on earth does that mean then?
I always tell clients that Innovate UK’s small print indicates that they operate a ‘portfolio approach’. This means that when it comes to final decisions on applications, the panel might say “well this proposal on energy efficiency has scored 87% and it’s excellent. The problem is we haven’t spent enough on aerospace research this year. If we don’t spend on aerospace, we’ll lose the money next financial year.” Maintaining the example, they then make the decision to fund an application on aerospace that didn’t score very high but allows them to spend appropriately across different areas.
In a nutshell, however high you score, no matter how many % you drop on resubmission, there is a lottery element to the process that you cannot find a workaround for.
Your best bet for success is to use experts like us. We use assessor criteria and know how to make your application rock solid so that you give yourself the best possible chance of obtaining funding.
It’s not always a perfect ending…but it nearly is!
It’s important to remember that the strange examples I gave above aren’t typically what happens. Normally, if you score highly and the assessors don’t see fundamental problems with your innovation, you’re in a good spot.
Our track record over the last 12 months shows a 75% success rate, which is far higher than your chances applying without help (8-14%).
The next Smart Grant competition deadline is 5th January 2021. If you think your innovation could be eligible for funding or if you have been unsuccessful and want some expert help – get in touch for a no obligation discussion.