Support to help small and medium-sized businesses to improve their competitiveness by developing new, highly innovative and commercially viable products and processes to the benefit of the Scottish economy. The programme provides grants on a discretionary basis for technical and commercial feasibility studies, and research and development projects.
SMART: SCOTLAND seeks to achieve its objectives by providing grants on a discretionary basis for:
technical and commercial feasibility studies; and
research and development (R&D) projects.
The support available is as follows:
Technical and Commercial Feasibility Studies
Support for technical and commercial feasibility studies is available on a discretionary basis at 75% of eligible project costs. Projects must last between six and 18 months and the maximum grant is £100,000. One-third of the grant is paid upfront when the project starts. The remainder of the grant is normally paid quarterly in arrears against claims submitted.
Feasibility studies should involve early stage R&D, the outcome of which will enable informed decisions on the technical and commercial
If applicants successfully complete the feasibility study, they may then apply for a research and development grant to enable them to develop a pre-production package.
Research and Development Projects
A SMART research and development grant of 35% of eligible project costs, up to a maximum grant of £600,000, is available to SMEs on a discretionary basis to enable them to develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process. Grant assistance is normally paid quarterly in arrears against claims submitted. Projects must last between six and 36 months, and have minimum eligible costs of £75,000.
The development of commercially usable prototypes and pilot projects can also be assisted where the prototype is necessarily the final commercial product and where it is too expensive to produce for it to be used only for demonstration and validation purposes. In such cases, any revenue generated from the prototype or pilot would require to be repaid on a pro-rata basis.
Any SME that meets the SMART:SCOTLAND eligibility criteria may apply for a SMART R&D grant, irrespective of whether or not they receive support under SMART for a feasibility study.
All feasibility studies and research and development projects that receive SMART grants will be considered for a SMART Award. These Awards will be made in recognition of projects that demonstrate exceptional technical merit and commercial potential. Winning firms will be presented with their awards at an annual awards ceremony designed to showcase them to the business and financial investment communities.
Applicants need to receive an award offer before they start projects or commit expenditure.
To obtain an award, entrants must demonstrate that:
the proposed project will represent a significant technological advance for the UK industry or sector concerned;
significant technical risks are associated with the technology challenge;
they own, or have the rights to exploit, the intellectual property needed to undertake the project. (Note: all intellectual property arising from projects support under SMART must be owned by the business receiving the award);
the commercial prospects for the end product or process are good;
realistic and effective routes have been identified for realising the commercial potential for the product or process;
the necessary management and technical expertise and resources to ensure that the project is brought to a successful conclusion are either available "in-house" or will be bought in;
financial assistance under SMART:SCOTLAND is essential; and
both the project and the business are financially viable.
Account will also be taken of the wider impact or implications of projects to society, eg factors such as environmental impact, sustainability, and health and safety.
The value of the de minimis aid received under the Exploitation Assistance is unlikely to exceed £7,500, although this will vary between projects. The exact figure will be set out in the grant offer letter. This service is provided free of charge to those businesses which will not breach the EUR 200,000 rolling three-year de minimis aid limit by accepting the offer. (Applicants that have previously received de minimis aid from the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise or any other public body will have been advised of this by the public body that offered the funding.) If applicants are required to pay part of the cost of this service because the de minimis aid limit would be breached, the Scottish Government will still offer the service, which may be declined.
The Scottish Government reserves the right to rescind the decision to offer a grant or reclaim the grant if any information provided turns out to be materially untrue, if applicants do not inform the Government promptly of material changes in their plans, or if they fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant offer.
A Monitoring Officer will be appointed to projects and will make occasional visits to oversee progress and to ensure compliance with the conditions attached to the offer of grant. Arrangements for monitoring progress will be set out in the offer letter.
Individuals planning to set up a business and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are eligible to apply to the programme, provided they are based in Scotland or planning to set up in Scotland. SMEs must meet the European Community definition of a small to medium-sized enterprise and have:
fewer than 250 employees (full-time equivalent world-wide, including partners and executive directors); and
an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million; and/or
an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.
SMART: SCOTLAND actively encourages entries from companies established by universities or non-profit research centres in which the institution retains a shareholding. Such companies are eligible to apply for a SMART grant as long as:
one of the purposes of the company is the development of products or processes for commercial exploitation, and the company does not merely act as a clearing house for R&D contracts for the university or research centre; and
the company meets the other qualifying criteria for SMART: SCOTLAND.
The university or research centre should normally have a shareholding of 33% or less. If more than one university or research centre has a shareholding in the company, their combined shareholdings should normally not exceed 33% of the company's share capital.
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