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Scottish Enterprise’s (SE’s) R&D Grant supports a single company to undertake development of new products or processes to the pre-production prototype stage through discretionary grants of up to 25% of eligible project costs.
The R&D Grant supports businesses developing new products, processes and services to improve company competitiveness and to benefit the Scottish economy. Projects must represent a significant innovation for the company concerned and significant risks should be associated with the challenge of developing a new product, process or service.
Companies of all sizes may be eligible provided that they are based in Scotland or planning to set up in Scotland. SMEs must meet the EU's definition of a small and medium-sized enterprise. Most sectors are eligible and applications from traditional industries, hi-tech businesses, and the service sector are equally welcome. However, SE do not support defence projects unless they have a primary civilian application. Certain industry sectors have restrictions on state aid for R&D under the provisions of the Treaty of Rome (Articles 92 and 93). The industries currently affected include shipbuilding and transport.
Grants are made at the discretion of Scottish Enterprise (SE) and the amount offered follows an appraisal of the level of support needed. Grants are available at:
Grants above £100,000 (€117.7k) must demonstrate a positive impact on R&D jobs in Scotland.Grants to SMEs may involve European funding on a per case basis.
The selection process takes account of a number of factors including the nature of R&D, whether it creates or safeguards R&D jobs, whether it links in to other local companies perhaps for materials or specialist knowledge, whether there is a global market opportunity, whether intellectual property has been considered. SE also looks at the financial and commercial aspects of an application as well as the management expertise available to the business.
The 2009 evaluation of R&D Plus project concluded that there is a strong strategic case for continued and increased support for R&D grant funding and that it makes a substantial contribution to economic development activity in Scotland. There was strong belief that the programme has had an impact on firms’ R&D capacity and spend, their turnover and employment, and therefore that it is having a positive impact on the wider economy.
The 2010 evaluation of <£100,000 (€117.7k) R&D and Innovation Support Grants concluded that each grant is used primarily by companies classed as either key sectors or growth sectors. Both schemes are generally seen to be working well, with only minor issues around the processing and evidencing of claims. There is very positive leverage associated with the two schemes. Participating companies have realised or are realising a wide range of benefits, including the development of intellectual property and its use in new products, the development of wider innovation in support of the new products and access to new revenue streams through the sale of products. The grants are also making a contribution to key national government priorities and SE targets. The evidence of wider knowledge or market spillovers was less clear, with some evidence that any effects within Scotland could be lower than effects elsewhere. This suggests the benefits are largely felt within the companies rather than across the economy as a whole. Nevertheless, the economic impact assessment suggested that there is a positive economic impact arising from the support and that the projects both deliver clear value for money.
A number of conclusions from the 2009 indicate potential issues to be aware of when launching such a measure:
The 2010 evaluation of the smaller grants also makes other recommendations for programme improvement: