Winning an Innovate UK (IUK) grant could be a game-changer for your company. But don’t get too carried away when you hear that your application was successful. Before you can claim any costs against your grant, you’ll need to complete one last leg in the application process: Innovate UK’s due diligence process. Here’s what you need to know.
Innovate UK performs due diligence using information companies submit via the Innovate Funding Service (IFS) Portal.
Upon success, IUK will add the “Set up your project” section to your portal. This page contains eight or more steps, including questions relating to your project, your team, and your finances. It may also list additional questions specific to your project or company.
You have 30 days to complete the setup list, starting from the day you’re notified of your successful application.
It is important to begin the process immediately, as you may encounter blockers later in the process, and early identification will allow you the time to resolve them. This is especially true if your project is collaborative.
At all stages, be as communicative as possible with IUK when you run into delays or difficulties.
Your goals during the diligence process are are to:
- Provide IUK with any additional information required to conclude their due diligence
- Be assigned your project Monitoring Officer, your single point of contact with IUK during the execution of your grant-funded project
- Receive and sign the Grant Offer Letter (GOL) and begin your project
Once you complete the project setup list, and Innovate UK all its checks based on the information you’ve provided, you will finally be able to sign the GOL, and your project can formally start.
A collaborative project is one executed by a consortium of organisations partnered to deliver the grant-funded project. If you’re a single applicant, ignore this section.
IUK will refer to members of your consortium as partners. Each will have to complete its own due diligence process.
For collaborative projects, it is important to know:
- If you submitted the grant proposal, you’re the Lead Applicant
- Some steps in your due diligence process will require signatures from your consortium partners
- Some steps in this process may not be applicable to some types of organisations, which may need to provide different information requested or complete additional steps
- Subcontractors do not count as partners and are not subject to their own due diligence
- You may not claim against your grant until all project partners have concluded this process and signed the GOL
Completing the due diligence process
Here are each of the eight steps in the project setup list, along with a brief description of what Innovate UK needs in each section.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our grants experts are here to help.
Step 1: Project details
In step one, you will set up your project by providing its start date and the primary location at which your project-related activities are conducted. This location is used to select your Monitoring Officer.
Step 2: Project team
You must choose and provide contact details for your project manager and a member of your finance team, and those for any consortium members your project has.
Your project manager will be responsible for setting up the project and will be the main point of contact for Innovate UK’s monitoring officer.
This could be a different person from the actual project manager responsible for your project if you elect to split IUK-related project admin from your day-to-day project management.
Your finance contact will be responsible for providing bank details for your organisation and handling any Innovate UK queries regarding project costs.
If you choose someone in either role who was not listed as a member of the project team on your original application, they will need to register on the IFS portal via an email they’ll receive from Innovate UK.
Note: The project manager and finance contact can be the same person.
Step 3: Documents
You must submit the following items in the documents section.
If your project is collaborative, you will need to upload mutually signed collaboration agreements with any project partners. The Lambert Agreement Website is a good starting point. Select the most appropriate template, and tailor it to your needs.
The exploitation plan should confirm your overall project plan and describe all the activities you expect to conduct and be reimbursed for. If your project is consortium based, this includes your partner’s activities. You will find a template for this document on the IFS. Use the Project plan and technical approach questions in your successful application as a starting point.
You will be expected to update this plan each quarter to reflect the previous quarter, and update the remainder of the exploitation plan to reflect any changes needed.
Step 4: Monitoring officer
Once the first three steps are complete, IUK will assign you a monitoring officer, who will be the primary contact for your project. The officer will check in with you quarterly to go through the project plan, track deliverables, and report progress to Innovate UK.
Step 5: Bank details
Provide the following details for your company’s bank account:
- Account number
- Sort code
- Billing address
Step 6: Finance
Your finance checks will vary depending on your company’s age, whether or not you’re revenue generating and the source of your match funding (as stated in your successful grant application).
Generally, the finance checks will include:
- Business Cash flow forecast for the period covering the term of the project
- Banking facilities currently available (for example, overdraft(s) or loan(s) where these are applicable to your company) plus a recent company bank statement. You may redact any information other than account name and balance
- Company Management Accounts for the last three months
- Details of any agreed overdraft facilities or other short-term financing
- Details of any funding from other sources such as venture capital funding
If your project includes recurring costs, you may be asked to precise whether these are unique to the project or shared with day-to-day work outside the grant.
Step 7: Spend profile
Once your project’s finances are approved, you will complete a spend profile.
This is a table on the IFS which breaks down major expense categories (labour, subcontracting, materials, capital expenses, travel and subsistence, overheads and other) for each month of your project.
It‘s important to note that you will not receive any grant money in the first quarter of your project, but you can begin claiming reimbursement during the second quarter.
Step 8: Grant Offer Letter (GOL)
Once all these steps are complete, your project manager can sign and submit the grant offer letter. And then your project can start.
If your project is collaborative, your partners will also need to sign off on the GOL.
I hope this blog has given you a good understanding of completing Innovate UK’s due diligence process.
If you have any questions about due diligence or any other part of Innovate UK’s application process, just drop us a line. Our grants experts would be happy to help.