There is a huge range of R&D tax incentives, grants and subsidies available to UK businesses, to help you accelerate innovation and business expansion. As a result, it can be tricky selecting the best option for your business.

Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) has partnered with RFM member ABGI UK, a leading international tax incentive and innovation management advisor. They help companies accelerate their innovation activity by identifying and securing appropriate funding.

They have provided us with a summary of available tax incentives, grants and subsidies, to help you find the right solution for your company and ensure you maximise your innovation funding. This page will be updated regularly as new opportunities emerge.

ANTONY BEAK is ABGI’s key contact for the rail sector in the UK working with the key industry bodies. He has 20 year’s experience supporting innovation in UK companies and has been an innovation funding specialist with ABGI for 4 years. If you have any questions regarding any of the funding sources mentioned on this page, or require any further information, please email or call him on 07399 096180.


If your company carries out R&D on its products, processes or services, you may be able to take advantage of the UK Government’s R&D tax credit scheme. The scheme allows companies to claim tax relief on the money invested in qualifying R&D.

For profitable companies claiming under the SME scheme this could be up to 24.7% additional tax relief on qualifying expenditure. While loss making SMEs can surrender their losses and receive up to 33% cash payment.

Companies claiming under the RDEC scheme can receive up to 9.7% net benefit.


The Patent Box scheme allows your company to benefit from a corporation tax rate of 10% on all profits associated with the commercialisation of a patent granted by the intellectual property office in the UK or the European patent office.

If your company has exclusive licences to third party patents, and has undertaken qualifying development, you can also benefit from the reduced corporation tax rate.


Capital Allowances provides generous tax relief against investment in assets, such as equipment, fixtures, plant and equipment, business vehicles and property. While the benefits are very generous, capital allowances are one of the most complex areas of tax legislation in the UK and it is believed more than 50% of UK businesses are not taking advantage of the tax relief available to them.

GRANT FUNDING – Manufacturing Made Smarter : Feasibility Studies

UK businesses can apply for funding towards feasibility studies into digital technologies to transform supply chains in UK manufacturing.

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Your project should research problems being experienced by UK supply chains and develop innovative digital solutions, focussing either on supply chain design or supply chain execution, comprising any one of the following:

  • improve and optimise existing supply chain networks
  • re-design or re-engineer existing supply chain networks
  • design new supply chain networks both for new products and processes

You could qualify for a 50% grant of between £125,000 and £250,000

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  •  involve at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise

Applications close 7th October 2020

Further details here


GRANT FUNDING – Manufacturing Made Smarter : Industrial Research

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies to transform supply chains in the UK.

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Your project must investigate one or more problems that your specific supply chain is experiencing and develop and test digital solutions to these problems.

You could qualify for a 50% grant of between £500,000 and £1.5million.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise

Applications close 7 October 2020

Further details here

GRANT FUNDING – IETF Deployment of Energy Efficiency Technologies in Industry

Organisations can apply for grants supporting engineering studies and deployment of technologies to improve the energy efficiency of industrial processes.

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Example technologies include:

  • improved process control
  • more efficient heat exchange
  • more efficient drying
  • energy recovery from waste heat
  • energy recovery from waste pressure
  • resource process optimisation

The minimum grant which can be applied for under this competition is £250,000 and applications for proposals close at 11.ooam on 28th October 2020.

Further details here

GRANT FUNDING – Innovate UK Smart Grants (August 2020)

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver disruptive R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as, but not exclusively:

  • the arts, design and media
  • creative industries
  • science or engineering


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A total of £25m is available to support projects of between 6 and 36 months duration.

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your R&D project activity in the UK
  • intend to commercially exploit the project results from or in the UK
  • be an SME if you want to work alone
  • include at least one SME if you are a large business or RTO and wish to collaborate with other UK registered businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

Your project must follow specific rules based on its duration:

  1. Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. They can be single or collaborative projects.
  2. Project durations between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million. They must be collaborative projects.

Closing date for applications is 25 November 2020

Further details can be found here


Innovate UK runs funding competitions that can help you develop your idea and make it successful. They are open to innovation projects led by a UK-based business or research and technology organisation, with funding awarded to the winner.

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These competitions help to commercialise UK innovation and bridge the gap between the research lab and the marketplace.

For a full list of all InnovateUK competitions currently open, and to find out how to apply click here