Smart is a long-standing TSB scheme offering funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge. The SMEs should be in a science, engineering and technology area. Three types of grant are available: proof of market, proof of concept and development of prototype.
Proof of market grants are to enable SMEs to assess the commercial viability of a project; through market research, market testing and competitor analysis, assessing the intellectual property position and initial planning to take the project to commercialisation. Projects last up to 9 months, have a maximum grant of £25k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be grant funded. Proof of market grants are may be of particular interest to University spin out companies.
Proof of concept grants are to enable SMEs to explore the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a new technology, product or process. This might be through initial feasibility studies, basic prototyping, specialist testing to provide basic proof of technical feasibility, intellectual property protection and investigation of production and assembly options. It also includes pre-clinical research studies for healthcare technologies and medicines, including target identification and validation. Projects last up to 18 months, have a maximum grant of £100k, and up to 60% of total project costs may be grant funded.
Development of prototype grants allow SMEs to develop a technologically innovative product, service or industrial process. This might be through small demonstrators, intellectual property protection, trials and testing, including clinical, market testing. Projects will last up to two years and have a maximum grant of £250k. This grant can fund up to 35% of total project costs for medium enterprises or up to 45% for small and micro enterprises.