Scheme at a glance

  • The purpose of a Standard Innovation Voucher is to encourage new first time partnerships between a company and a university or further education college.
  • There are now 2 types of Standard Innovation Vouchers: Product/Process/Service Innovation Voucher - to support innovation to develop a new product, process or service for the company and Workforce Innovation Voucher - to support innovation to develop the company’s workforce (New/Enhanced Workplace Business Processes/Innovation Workplace Practices/Innovative Business Expertise). 
  • The value of a Standard Innovation Voucher is between £1,000 and £5,000, which covers the academic project costs and is paid directly to the university or college.
  • The company contributes an equal value in cash or in kind (such as staff time, materials or equipment) or a combination of both.
  • All SMEs, social enterprises and third sector organisations with main company operations in Scotland can apply for a voucher if they are partnering with a Scottish University or Further Education College.  
  • A company can only receive one Product/Process/Service Innovation Voucher. It is possible now to also apply for a Workforce Innovation Voucher (i.e. one with a university and one with a college) as long as these two projects are clearly distinct and not a continuation or duplication of original Innovation Voucher project. 
  • A company looking to further develop their innovative project should thereafter apply for a Student Placement Voucher or an Advanced Innovation Voucher if they wish to continue to partner with a particular academic team.
  • Projects must be innovative (a novel/pioneering idea) and lead to either new products, services, processes or an innovative workplace business process/workplace practice/business expertise that will benefit the company, the academic institution and the Scottish economy.
  • Businesses can also apply together to pool their vouchers to solve a common issue. (The Scottish Funding Council have set a maximum limit of 4 companies per Pooled Standard Innovation Voucher Application.) Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Page 5 for a full explanation of the necessary documentation to be completed/submitted.
  • If you require some assistance with the terminology used within the Application Form, please see the updated Glossary of Terms document.

Stages of application

  1. SME and academic partner meet to discuss idea / scope / eligibility / contracts / risk.
  2. SME and academic partner fill out the application form and sends to Interface. For any queries related to eligibility, the academic partner will complete the pre-submission form and send to Interface.
  3. Interface reviews and may ask for further information before sending to the Scottish Funding Council.
  4. Scottish Funding Council assesses the application and communicates a decision.
  5. Collaborative project between academic partner and business commences and a final report is produced on completion of the close out meeting.
  6. On receipt of the final report to Interface the Scottish Funding Council makes payment to the academic partner.