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Innovation Vouchers

SPRINT provides Innovation Vouchers to help fund collaborative projects between your company and the SPRINT university partner(s). These projects can enable you to exploit space technologies and data in a wide range of commercial activities including (but not limited to):

  • Space products / technologies in the space sector
  • Space technologies and data deployed in non-space markets and applications
  • Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and non-space technologies deployed in space markets

SPRINT Innovation Vouchers can also be used to support feasibility studies, business planning, market analysis and other non-technical activities vital in product development cycle.

You can apply for up to £50,000 to help enable your collaborative project. SPRINT funds the university’s costs in delivering the collaborative project whilst your company funds your own costs. For any collaborative project to be funded by a SPRINT Innovation Voucher the voucher can fund up to 60% of the project costs. The remainder of the project costs can be met  through contributions from the company, university and/or any other collaborative partner. The value of company contribution however must be at least two thirds the value of the Innovation Voucher.

For example if the University’s costs were £30,000 then the Company would be expected to contribute a minimum of £20,000 of resource to the project, making the total value of the project £50,000.

Company contribution is the summed total of the expenditure incurred by the Company in delivering their project activities under the collaboration. This can take many forms (summarised below) but must be evidenced (and able to be evidenced) in case of an audit.

Company contribution generally fits into one of two categories:
Existing resources assigned to the project

  • Direct costs of staff assigned to the project
  • Staffing overhead (fixed at 20% of total staffing effort assigned to the project)
  • Pro rata costs to use existing Company resources for the purposes of the projects (not already included in overheads). This could include specialist equipment, data, software and facilities with the costs calculated on the basis of the Companies deprecation policy, and

New resources purchased for the project

  • Equipment, consumables software, data, etc…
  • Hiring new staff to work on the project (or pro-rata effort)
  • Sub-contracting / consultancy costs
  • Travel and subsistence
  • A cash contribution to the University to part-fund some of the University’s costs

Ideally, the Company contribution should consist of at least 50% new resource and up to 50% existing resource. The Programme however recognises that this is not always achievable due to the nature of the project. The balance of the total project costs assigned across the SPRINT grant and the Company contributions forms part of the value for money assessment at application review. Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will work with you and the University academic(s) to design your collaborative project within the SPRINT funding guidelines.

More complex projects involving multiple partners are also possible. You should work with your SPRINT Innovation Adviser to design these in compliance with the contribution expectations highlighted above.

Eligibility

Any UK-registered SME is eligible to receive Innovation Vouchers from SPRINT.

Some company structures can be complex and include involvement of non-UK entities. The outcomes of a collaboration project funded by a SPRINT Innovation Voucher should contribute to an increase in growth (i.e. in GVA and jobs) in the UK operations of the business. Therefore, only UK-registered companies with active R&D activities based in the UK will be considered eligible .

SPRINT has been designed to support growth in SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises). We use the Companies House definition for determining company size and you must be a micro-entity, small company or medium-sized company to be eligible.

Any questions you may have on your business’s eligibility to receive funded support from SPRINT should be directed to your SPRINT Innovation Adviser.

Submission Cycle

SPRINT Innovation Vouchers is an ‘always open’ call however we do have monthly application deadlines falling on the 3rd Friday of every month. From time-to-time SPRINT reserves the right to change these deadlines, your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will inform you of this should it occur.

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