How will Grant Funding be affected by Brexit?
- POST BREXIT GRANT FUNDING -
"A markedly changed world, but on a long timescale"
With the advent of a pro-leave referendum, companies in the UK face a potentially prolonged period of uncertainty. The vote to leave, whilst not yet enacted through Article 50, has put in motion the steps necessary for the UK to leave the EU. As a company involved with many organisations on an EU level, and successful in winning many EU grants, we have assessed the current situation and identified where the opportunities lie.
There are a significant number of EU funds that will be affected by a Brexit. These include funds to regions through ESIF and ERDF funding, those to research bodies, specific sectors such as agriculture and wider commercial businesses.
Funds that have already been allocated will likely not be affected, as the contracts to support the funding have been agreed. These include specific funds such as ODINE, a €100k incubator program with deadlines of the 30/06/16 & 31/08/16, as well as the open-to-all Horizon 2020 SME Instrument for the current funding round.
This means applications to Phase 1 and Phase 2 should most definitely carry on as planned:
Phase 1 Deadlines
Phase 2 Deadlines
This means the SME Instrument is still a huge (up to €2.5m) opportunity for UK based companies and represents a funding area where Granted clients have had significant successes.
Beyond these timeframes it is extremely difficult to be certain about any EU funds, this all depends on the stance taken by both sides during the negotiations. It is true we may still have access to these funds in their current form well into the future, such as Norway does, however, currently Norway pays in €656m and receives only €100m back in research grants. By way of comparison at the UK’s 24 Russell Group universities alone EU research funds add up to about £400 million a year, whilst the total invested in British SMEs since 2014 has been €5.5bn. This is a significant funding gap should funding be withdrawn entirely which, at this early stage, looks unlikely.
There are other attempts to retain funding levels, such as that by the vote leave region of Cornwall, however it is still too early to know the likely impact of such calls and their potential effectiveness.
A number of EU funds require collaboration across EU member states (EUREKA, Eurostars) and it is likely that the UK would, if it wished to retain single market status, be required to contribute to these funds in this manner. As of yet further details about the validity of these funds not already contracted remains uncertain.
An area where there is more certainty is in the UK funding. Already the subject of a spending review the UK funding landscape is well defined and a plan has been published to provide innovation funding up to 2018-19.
This provides innovation funding opportunities to UK companies through Innovate UK and the first £15m Open Call under this new approach has been announced with a deadline of the 7th September.
Further specific calls are announced on a rolling basis, including current funds such as the Energy Catalyst Round 4 again with a registration deadline of the 7th September .
State Aid legislation impacts on grant funding by affecting the amount of money that can be claimed by companies in the EU. This is both to prevent the state from “propping up” failing industries, as well as to ensure no single company receives a disproportionate rate of support from the state, be that the UK or the EU.
The implications of Brexit upon the State Aid legislation is, as yet, not fully known, however if, as is likely, the UK wishes to retain access to the EU single market, it will be obliged to accept the existing EU competition, trade and State Aid rules.
LEADERSHIP AND PLANNING
There is a huge amount of uncertainty, as there always is in running a company, and the Post-Brexit landscape will affect different companies in different ways. What is (currently) certain is that funding opportunities still exist and can be extremely generous (€2.5m for SME Phase 2 for example) at high (60-100%) intervention rates.
The key to managing both your company and your innovation approach is to, as much as is feasible, plan multiple scenarios and demonstrate strong leadership. We continually receive calls from clients that wish to apply for funding a week before a project starts or after they have purchased their equipment.
The trick to accessing grants is to plan ahead and let the funding compliment your entire business plan, as often grants open doors that weren’t previously viable. The best way to navigate grants in a Post-Brexit world is to seek advice, plan prudently and take advantage of every opportunity.
Read our Second (EU funding specific) BREXIT Article 'How will European Grant Funding be effected by Brexit?'
Concerned about the potential impacts of Brexit on your business? Give us a call to receive advice on your next move, now.
We are proud to be the region's leading grants consultancy. We thrive from helping our clients achieve the game-changing projects they aspire to through grant funding. We provide services ranging from Grant Writing to Project Development with particular expertise in Funding Energy.
If you'd like to know more about your eligibility for the large sum of financial aid provided through grant funding, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01392 427860 and talk to Mareike, Tom or Alex directly.