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Today sees the launch of Claritas Tax’s new Grant Funding service.

The new service will be led by Matt Hodgson, Partner at Claritas and supported by Caroline Walton, Senior Manager. Sitting within Claritas’ existing Innovation Reliefs business solution, the Grant Funding solution has been established to meet the needs of businesses that require additional funding to support their innovation.

Claritas - Matthew Hodgson

We caught up with Matt Hodgson to find out more about Grant Funding and the new service for clients.

Good morning Matt. Can you tell us more about the new Grant Funding service and what prompted you to start it?

The new Grant Funding service is a natural extension of our existing business lines within the Innovative Reliefs business solution. We have a team that specialises in Research & Development tax Relief, Patent Box tax relief and Creative Industry Tax Relief spread across our two Manchester and Birmingham offices. In the last few years, the team has grown as our client base has expanded and we have a solid client base of highly innovative companies.

“2020 has been a year of significant financial challenge for many businesses on account of Covid-19 and many have struggled to fund the innovation and business expansion that had been planned”.

Innovation tax relief claims which can result in corporation tax repayments or tax credits have assumed greater significance for companies and I have been approached by several businesses to advise on or deal with Grant Funding as well.

Added to the challenges caused by Covid-19, there is also Brexit and there has been great uncertainty for businesses as to whether Grant Funding would continue to be available from EU funding sources once the UK was no longer a member of the EU.

Some of the anxiety about this has been alleviated recently however there is still uncertainty about what funding will be available from the EU or organisations within the EU in the future.

UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

As an adviser to SME sized businesses in the North West, we focus on assisting businesses to obtain Grant Funding via Innovate UK.

Given the financial challenges that many organisations face on account of Covid-19 and Brexit, Grant Funding has never been more important and I believe that now is the ideal time to raise awareness as to what is available and offer a service to cater to the need, particularly as Innovate UK have released their latest £25m funding round (opened on 21st January, 2021) – applications must go in by 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday 26th May which may seem like a long way away, but it’s a seriously involved process so I’d recommend starting your application now!

What sort of grants are available, who is eligible and how much can you apply for?

Every funding opportunity has its own eligibility criteria. Grants are available for a company’s own project as well as collaborative R&D projects or projects led by one organisation and with others participating.

Grant funding is available for every stage of research, from fundamental research to applied research that develops new products and services. Funding is available to test the feasibility of an idea and make sure that it will work. It is available to create a new product, process or service or improve an existing one through research and development.

UK Research and Innovation takes an investment-driven approach to applications for funding. Applications are invited from businesses that can demonstrate that they intend (and can evidence that this will happen) to commercialise their ideas. Preference is given to companies that will maximise the return on UKRI’s investment to the UK’s economy and society with UKRI’s support.

Businesses can apply for funding only if they are based in the UK.

“It’s also important to note that Grant Funding and claiming R&D tax relief aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive as some people seem to think”.

Whilst EU law currently prohibits a company from receiving more than one State Aid for a specific project (a grant from Innovate UK and claiming relief under the UK’s R&D tax relief regime are both State Aids), it’s perfectly possible to claim for R&D tax relief on a separate project to one which you’ve applied for Grant Funding for.

What is the application process?

The UKRI says that applications for funding are a serious undertaking. It is true that there is a substantial amount of work involved in preparing and submitting a robust application. Preparation and research of the eligibility criteria for the funding opportunity that you are applying to, the specific application requirements and supporting evidence together with a thorough review of the guidance prepared by the funding provider is definitely required.

There are plenty of potential pitfalls and scope for error in the application process which is why it is important that an experienced practitioner deals with the application.

How likely is it that an application will be successful?

UKRI received 15,450 applications in 19/20 and 25% of these were successful, which speaks for itself.  Total funding across the successful applicants was £2.5bn, so not an insignificant amount by any means.

The success of an application for funding depends on how well the application has been put together; the drafting to ensure that the eligibility criteria is satisfied as well as credible evidence to support the application.

What sort of businesses can apply?

Applications for Grant Funding can be made by any innovative business operating in any industry sector that satisfies the criteria for funding. UKRI publishes details of successful applications.

Some of the businesses applying for funding include architects’ practices, construction businesses, software development and data analytics as well as pharmaceutical research, medical technology and material sciences. Some examples of previous successful claims can be found on our website here

How do we find out more?

More information on Grant Funding and whether there is a current funding opportunity that meets the needs of a particular innovation or business can be obtained by contacting one of the Claritas team here.

Alternatively, check out our Grant Funding pages on our website here

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