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Could your company benefit from the Agile Innovation Fund?

The Agile Innovation Fund can help companies in Ireland make huge in-roads towards their innovative goals. Find out more.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

Grants of up to 50% of costs

Making up part of Enterprise Ireland’s various innovation funding options, the Agile Innovation Fund is all about supporting collaborative research. It means companies, academic institutions and other organisations can scale up their innovation plans more effectively.

If your Ireland-based company has grand plans for innovation projects in 2022 and beyond, this one’s for you.

Starting at the beginning: What is Agile Innovation?

“Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way” - Tom Freston, Co-founder of MTV

Agile methodology used to be the preserve of techie companies - those in the IT or software sphere. Nowadays though, it can be applied pretty much everywhere.

Essentially, it’s where all processes and systems are regularly evaluated and assessed so that any issues can be resolved super-fast and as cheaply as possible. It also throws out the idea that innovation should be managed from the top down, instead allowing all staff members to have their say with greater autonomy. Experimentation is key, with managers focusing on the strategic stuff and less micromanaging.

Because of this way of working, Agile Innovation does lend itself more to smaller companies and start-ups. Companies that are larger and more corporate, with a set hierarchical structure, may struggle with it. But for employees that are lower in the hierarchy, it can certainly be a great learning curve, helping to engage staff more in moving the business forward.

How the Agile Innovation Fund works

The Agile Innovation Fund is a pool of money set aside for companies looking to develop products, processes or services that really disrupt the market.

The fund is administered to businesses via grants. In order to qualify, the maximum an R&D project can cost in total is €300,000, with a grant of up to €150,000 (so 50%). Grants covering up to 25% of project costs are also available, depending on the size of the company and the type of collaboration involved.

The good news too is that the process of applying for the grants is less laborious than it used to be. It’s been carefully streamlined and there’s fast-track approval too. Having said that, you still need to give your company and your project the very best chance of success; and as with all grant funding, competition is incredibly fierce.

This is where working with an experienced R&D grants consultancy like Myriad Associates is so worth it. We can not only advise you on what the judging panel will look for, but how you can complete your application to actually win the award.

Who can get an Agile Innovation grant?

A broad range of companies in Ireland can apply, including those that:

  • Have never carried out an R&D project before
  • Are undertaking very small or shorter projects
  • Develop and market products that have a short lifecycle

Funding can be given for industrial research, experimental development or a mixture of both.

Is my company eligible for Agile Innovation Fund?

Yes, if:

  • It’s trading with positive EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation)
  • You can prove that your company can afford the R&D project planned
  • Your company is an Ireland-based manufacturing or internationally traded services company

Industrial and Experimental Research: What’s that exactly?

Industrial research brings about brand new knowledge. This is then used by companies in developing new products, services or services, or significantly improving them. It’s planned and targeted.

Experimental research, on the other hand, is more systemic. It takes existing knowledge and applies it in creating new or improved products. These products can then be marketed, and make a profit, without significant additional development.

Can more than one project be included in an application?

No. You’re welcome to apply to the Agile Innovation Fund as many times as you want, but it must be one project only per application you submit.

Does R&D count as De-Minimis?

De-Minimis Aid is state funding that’s usually given to smaller organisations (although actual size and location don’t matter). A maximum of €200,000 can be claimed over any three fiscal years. R&D is not classed as De-Minimis as the support it leads to is much more generous.

See the De Minimis page of the EI website for more details.

What project expenditure will the Agile Innovation Fund cover?

More good news - the Agile Innovation Fund will help with the cost of a large array of expenditure types. They include:

Salaries: Wages and other personnel costs for company employees that are directly working on the innovative project

Any other project-related overheads: This is limited to 30% per employee (including employers’ PRSI), calculated as a fixed percentage of their salary

Materials and other operating expenses: These again must be directly related to the project. They may include design and prototype costs, clinical trial costs, some certification and travel/subsistence

Consultancy: Any costs paid to another organisation for their consultancy support. Obviously these costs must again relate to the innovative project only.

Remember: Any money your company has spent out on an approved project before you applied for Enterprise Ireland funding cannot be claimed for.

How do I apply and what is required?

You need to complete a two-part application on the Enterprise Ireland website. The process includes the submission of a technical project plan and a separate offline project plan document. Enterprise Ireland has published its fund guidelines here for more information.

What happens after I’ve applied?

Once your grant funding submission has been made, it’ll be scrutinised from both a technical and commercial viewpoint by various judging panels.

If your application is successful, you’ll be contacted by letter with further information about your claim. It will also contain details about who to contact with any queries and what to do next.

Don’t go it alone!

Having worked extensively in the R&D and innovation grant field for more than ten years, the Myriad Associates team has built a strong relationship with EI, the IDA and other grant funding bodies. This means we’re ideally placed to get hold of the funding your R&D project needs.

Based in Dublin, Myriad Associates is made up of an expert team of R&D tax specialists and advisors who really know their onions. So whether you’re a small company on the grow or a larger entity looking to finance a specific R&D project, why not get in touch with our professional team now on +353 1 566 2001. Alternatively, feel free to use our contact form.

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