Manage your research, design and development

Funding your research and development


There are a number of ways you can fund your research and development (R&D) project.

Getting a bank loan

Approaching your bank for a loan will require a well thought-out business plan. Your plan should help investors and lenders understand your vision and goals, explain how you are going to spend the invested or borrowed money and set out how this will benefit both them and the business.

See how to tailor your business plan to get funding.

Seek investment

You could try to attract investment from business angels - wealthy individuals who invest in private companies, typically £10,000 to £250,000 - but you must be prepared to relinquish some control of your business.

Read about business angels and how they operate.

Apply for a grant

Applying for a grant could help finance part of your project. There are many sources of publicly funded grants and support schemes:

See how to apply for a government grant.

R&D tax reliefs

Businesses engaged in innovative R&D projects can sometimes claim R&D tax reliefs. Projects could qualify if they're focusing on making advances in science or technology. Different tax relief schemes are available based on company size and project nature, offering incentives for SMEs and large companies alike. Find out more about research and development (R&D) tax reliefs.

Other sources of help

There are several other sources of assistance:

  • Innovate UK Business Growth brings together buyers and sellers of innovative products with the aim of promoting and exchanging new technologies and ideas.
  • Business Innovation Centres nurture innovative new businesses helping them through the difficult start-up stage.
  • Local Chambers of Commerce can provide access to training, information and networking opportunities. Get in touch with the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.
  • Many universities collaborate with local businesses on R&D projects. Read about knowledge transfer partnerships.
  • Innovate UK provides R&D funding through various competition programmes. Read more about Innovate UK funding competitions.

Watch the animation below to see how Invest Northern Ireland can help you be more innovative through research and development.