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A Guide To Successful R&D Grant Applications For Accountants

If you’re an accountant in the Republic of Ireland and believe one of your clients may benefit from an R&D grant, you may well find the following information useful.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

Successfully achieving an R&D grant can be a massive financial boost to a business, especially one that’s brand new or very small and looking to grow. At Myriad Associates we have nearly two decades of experience in helping companies determine which grant will suit them best, and how to maximise their chances of being accepted. The key is to be properly clued up from the outset.

If you’re an accountant in the Republic of Ireland and believe one of your clients may benefit from an R&D grant, you may well find the below information useful.

First up, what exactly are R&D grants?

A research and development (R&D) grant can represent a vital step towards funding a company’s new products, services or processes. The Irish government offers a number of different grants, and there are some regional offerings too. They’re essentially open to any Irish organisation that is looking to grow and innovate.

To achieve funding, your client must identify what different R&D grant schemes they may be eligible for. They will also need to fully understand the process around applying so they get it right first time.

What can R&D grants fund?

Typically, R&D grants are designed to support commercial innovation. This innovation doesn’t necessarily have to be deemed brand new, but it does need to make a notable advancement in science or technology. Routine improvements (for example small product updates) are unlikely to curry favour.

Technological and scientific industry sectors such as those working in pharmaceuticals or energy efficiency could well find grants easier to attract. However, all types of innovation is covered and anyone can apply.

Grant funding will often be used to help with:

  • Carrying out a feasibility study
  • Creating a prototype
  • Collaborating with other academic researchers, or with other companies

R&D grants will usually be awarded in respect of a very specific, time-limited piece of work rather than general innovation efforts. Typically such projects will last between six months and three years. Grants only also tend to cover 20-50% of the project cost, rather than 100%.

What government R&D grants and support are on offer?

Any Irish organisation can apply for R&D grants from Enterprise Ireland in addition to certain European grants. The main two are Horizon 2020 (which runs until the end of December this year) and EUREKA Eurostars.

We’ll start off with Horizon 2020, a European scheme that has administered over €80 billion in grant funding since 2014. Its aim is in maintaining Europe’s world-class success in scientific disciplines and removing barriers to innovation. It also helps the public and private sectors come together to achieve their common goals.

The other main programme, EUREKA Eurostars, is a European funding scheme for innovative SMEs that wish to research collaboratively with partnering organisations across Europe and associated countries. Enterprise Ireland supports SMEs in the RoI who would like to get involved - see more on our EUREKA Eurostars page.

What type of grant applications are most likely to succeed?

A company’s application for an R&D grant is most likely to be successful if it:

  • Thoroughly and clearly describes what business opportunities the project will promote. This is about the anticipated result of the project and how it will offer maximum return on investment.
  • Demonstrates a clear knowledge of the target market, including any offerings by competitors.
  • Explains why the organisation is more likely to succeed against these competitors.
  • Shows how the proposed product, service, or process is radically different to anything that’s gone before.

How to apply for a grant

Applications for R&D grants, or indeed any grants, can demand a fair bit of your clients’ time. Accuracy is therefore essential.

These are the key steps applicants need to take. They must:

  • Write a narrative to identify the R&D they want to undertake.
  • Consider the funding required for the specific project in question and whether any additional funding by the company itself is being added. Grant providers will want to be sure a company’s R&D work is financially viable and that the business is sound.
  • Consider whether they are going to apply themselves or via an R&D consultant (we recommend the latter)
  • Do some research into which schemes the company might qualify for. It’s also worth checking whether any project costs could be eligible for R&D Tax Credits too.
  • Decide, having looked at all the details and requirements, whether to actually apply. It should be remembered that some grant competitions are extremely over-subscribed, with only around one in five applicants being successful.
  • Submit the grant application. In the case of bigger grants, the process may have two stages to it, beginning with the requirement to pass an initial screening process.
  • Be prepared for a wait. Decisions can sometimes take several months depending on the scheme, and companies may need to submit proof of expenditure for claiming reimbursement.

Don’t go it alone!

As your clients’ trusted business accountant, you’ll want to help them make sure they maximise their application for the very best chance of success. Bidding is incredibly competitive, the application process isn’t always straight-forward, and the stakes can be high. That’s why we recommend working with a professional R&D tax relief and grants advisory such as ourselves. We will work alongside you in delivering a first-class service to your client. We literally deal only in financial matters to do with R&D, and nothing else. Not only does this mean you can rest assured that everything is completed properly, it frees you up to do the day job.

What happens if my client’s grant application is successful?

If your client’s application is successful, they will be required to give the awarding body certain pieces of documentation for checking. They may also be assigned a monitoring officer, again depending on the awarding body. Funding is then typically provided in arrears when all the checks and audits have been completed. Rules around this can vary between each grant awarding body too, and again we can assist with this.

Interested in knowing more?

Get in touch with our friendly team today on +353 1 566 2001 and let us help you help your clients with their R&D grant requirements

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