Support for innovation, research and development

1 Overview
2 Tax credits for R&D
3 Government support for R&D

1. Overview

The Scottish Government and UK government offer a range of free information and advice for research and development. You may be able to get financial support in the form of research and development tax credits, grants or funding schemes.

Download a guide to becoming lender ready

2. Tax credits for R&D

If you are doing research and development (R&D), you may be eligible for R&D tax credits. The credit is made available either as:

  • a tax deduction based on R&D spending
  • a cash payment from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) (for certain loss-making small or medium-sized businesses only)

If your business is liable for Corporation Tax, you might be able to claim Research and Development (R&D) Relief from HMRC. This may reduce your business' tax bill by more than your actual expenditure on allowable R&D costs.

3. Government support for R&D

The government helps businesses benefit from the knowledge and expertise of other businesses and academic institutions. It also offers grants for innovation and R&D:

  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships help businesses benefit from the expertise of further education colleges, universities or research institutes.
  • Collaborative Research and Development encourages businesses to develop ideas together and with the research community. Grants are intended to help cut the costs of bringing results to market.
  • SMART: SCOTLAND provides discretionary grants to support technical and commercial feasibility studies and R&D projects in Scotland.
  • The R&D Grant provides support for research and development to companies across all sectors in the Scottish Enterprise network area.
  • The Highlands and Islands Enterprise research and funding scheme supports businesses undertaking research and development, even if the innovation is new only to your business.
  • The Innovation Voucher Scheme is a Scottish Funding Council scheme that enables small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland to build relationships with higher education institutions to help them develop new products, services and processes.

Other government initiatives

If your idea could help address a specific problem faced by government or a public sector organisation, the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) offers a fully-funded development contract with a relevant government department.

Business and Innovation Centres (BICs) offer advice and support to start-up businesses. They can:

  • help you find out about sharing premises with similar companies (eg in a science park)
  • give you advice about management, strategy and planning
  • help you find manufacturers and markets

BICs are certified by the European BIC Network, a scheme run by the European Community.

Read our guide Manage your research and development.

Contact your local Business Gateway office.

Your local office will be able to answer your questions on this or any other business subject. 

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