The Smart Scheme offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology. The aim is to bring to market successful new products, processes and services. There are three types of grants available: proof of market, proof of concept and development of prototype.
Accutronics applied for and won the proof of concept grant for a new battery for medical devices. Named Chameleon, the new product range includes high-voltage, and high-current smart batteries which are designed and certified with the needs of medical OEMs in mind.
“When you work in an SME, you are busy all the time and often feel like you can’t take time off to apply for grants,” said Rob Phillips, managing director at Accutronics. “However, it’s crucial for manufacturers to invest in innovation and make sure they engage in programmes that support those R&D efforts.
“The funding we received from the Technology Strategy Board and their ongoing support has fast tracked our product development strategy for Chameleon. We were able to design and bring a product to market much quicker,” Phillips continued. “My advice to SMEs is to make the most of the opportunities available and take part in the innovation schemes – the support we’ve secured has been very worthwhile” he concluded.
Accutronics secured its first grant from the Technology Strategy Board in September 2009, when it was awarded a £3,000 innovation voucher. With this award, Accutronics was able to commission a consultant to design robust battery cases which were later introduced into the company’s product offering as rugged battery designs.
In 2010 the battery manufacturer also undertook a successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with Aston University and as a result, Accutronics were able to recruit a senior member of staff into their research and development team.