Whilst on lunch today – a quick post...

Over the last few weeks, I have spoken to a number of potential clients facing the same challenge. Strangely enough, the challenge doesn’t relate to writing their grant application. In all cases, the challenge is preparing their consortium – a posh way of describing the additional partners required for a multi-partner grant application.

It’s looking good! Oh no wait…

In many grant applications that we help with, a business might need input from another partner, in order for the project to appear credible to assessors.

For example, a new technology company is creating something novel with huge market potential. The company has a wealth of experience and previous success and the nearest state-of-the-art is not even close. The route to market is well-evidenced and value for money is clear. Sounds fairly strong to me. However, it will only be successful if local councils procure it.

“That’s OK”, says the lead company. “We’re in talks with different councils at the moment.”

When asked if the company has anything (e.g. a trial) formally arranged with councils as part of its proposed R&D project, it is clear no agreements are in place.

Suddenly this project starts to look fairly risky. If I was an assessor I would be asking myself whether I can really take the risk of awarding taxpayers’ money to a company that may or may not be able to gain the interest of its target market.

Formalise relationships

To feel at ease about giving the project the green light, I would want to see that a local council had officially agreed to participate in the project. Ideally, this would be as a project partner also claiming funds for their participation. However, this could also be as a non-grant claiming partner. If this is not possible, a mention in the application that a formal agreement (describe it!) is in place might help to de-risk the project somewhat. Letters of support are eligible in some Innovate UK competitions but not all, so read the competition brief and question guidance carefully!

The early bird catches the…grant award?

Clearly, a massive issue for everyone involved in a grant application is time. This includes consortium building. If you need project partners to make your application seem credible, start these conversations as early as possible because getting agreement is hardly ever going to be quick!

A lot of these early stage conversations can be carried out through your own channels. Don’t be afraid to use the UK’s fantastic Knowledge Transfer Network though. The KTN has helpful staff across multiple disciplines that can connect you with partners through introductions and events (virtual…or other once we get past June).

Once you’ve got your consortium primed, why not get in touch with us and discuss the project you are preparing for a grant application? We can do the heavy lifting for you and we beat the price of our nearest competition by 30%. Drop us a line for a no obligation discussion.

Now go and call those stakeholders!

Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

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