13 September 2023

Access to public funding has numerous competitive advantages for beneficiaries beyond the funding of the project itself. Greater project scope or shorter implementation times are some of the benefits associated with funding, but there are other aspects to consider. Public funding facilitates collaboration with other entities, which promote the scope of the project and with which lasting relationships can be built, as well as greater visibility in the market, positioning the entity as a reference in its sector.  

The purpose of a grant  

Grants are an important source of funding for companies. Especially for companies that have limited resources to invest in R&D activities and/or, for example, want to invest in their green and energy-saving transformation. By financially supporting innovative projects, various agencies ranging from regional institutes, the Belgian government to European institutions hope to stimulate innovation, create new products and services and support the growth of companies in the country.  

Some grant programmes are often highly competitive, while many other companies compete for the same funding opportunities. This can make it challenging to stand out and successfully win the grant.  

Despite these challenges, applying for an R&D+I grant as a company can be a rewarding investment of time and resources, as it can provide access to funding that can help accelerate innovation and boost business growth. It is important that companies are well prepared and aware of the requirements and challenges of the grant application process to maximise their chances of success.  

Developing a funding strategy  

FI Group can assess the company’s (R&D+I) needs, identify potential investment areas and help prioritise projects. This can ensure that the company invests in activities that are in line with its strategic objectives and have the potential to generate a positive return on investment.  

Our experts can identify and evaluate funding sources for R&D+I activities, including grants, tax incentives and private financing options. Thus, we help the company determine which funding sources are best suited to its needs and can provide guidance on the application process.  

What does the application process look like?    

Applying for an R&D grant as a company can be a complex process, depending on the specific grant programme and the complexity of the R&D project.     

Eligibility and documentation    

R&D grants often have strict eligibility requirements, such as specific industries or project types, and may require a certain level of expertise or experience. Ensuring that your company and project meet all these requirements can be challenging. Moreover, there are often strict documentation requirements for R&D grant applications, including detailed project proposals, budgets and supporting documentation. Companies should make sure they have all the necessary documentation in place before submitting their application.    

The application procedures    

The R&D grant application process can be long and time-consuming, involving a considerable amount of paperwork and documentation. It can also involve multiple stages or assessment rounds, which can add to the complexity of the process.    

Some technical expertise, especially in describing the scientific or technical aspects of the project, makes the process smoother. This can be a challenge for companies that do not have a strong R&D team or experience in applying for grants.    

Reporting and compliance    

Once a grant is awarded, there may be strict reporting and compliance requirements that must be met to continue funding. This can increase the administrative burden and complexity of the project.    

Competition    

R&D grant programmes are often highly competitive, with many other companies vying for the same funding opportunities. This can make it challenging to stand out and successfully win the grant.    

Despite these challenges, applying for an R&D grant as a company can be a rewarding investment of time and resources, as it can provide access to funding that can help accelerate innovation and stimulate business growth. It is important for companies to be well prepared and aware of the requirements and challenges of the application process to maximise their chances of success.    

What are the different sources of funding available    

Grants provide companies with access to funding that can be used to support the development of new products, services or processes or to improve existing ones. This can help accelerate innovation and stimulate business growth by enabling companies to invest in R&D activities, the green transition, the circular economy, etc. that might not have been possible otherwise.    

Green & energy-saving grants 

Companies doing research and development (R&D) should be aware of the green transition as it has profound implications for their operations, competitiveness and bottom line. Here are some key subsidies with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, promoting renewable energy and protecting the environment. The green transition encourages key innovation in areas such as renewable energy, electric vehicles and sustainable materials. Companies with a focus on R&D that are aware of and invest in these trends can gain a competitive advantage and position themselves for long-term growth.     

Innovation and R&D grants     

R&D+I grants can also significantly support companies as they provide financial assistance to companies engaged in research and development activities. They can significantly support enterprises of all sizes by funding R&D activities, encouraging collaboration, reducing financial risk, supporting job creation and increasing competitiveness. These grants play an important role in strengthening innovation and the sustainable growth of all industries in Belgium.     

We help you overcome challenges and seize opportunities, from rising energy costs, environmental regulations and resource optimisation to digital transformation and technology integration.  

With FI Group as your reliable partner, you can navigate the evolving landscape of R&D funding and fully leverage the available incentive measures. 

Yvette Poumpalova 

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