COVID related innovation support and funding

Funding and support for ideas that address innovation related COVID challenges

£5.5 million is available for COVID related RD&I (Research, Development and Innovation) projects to develop new or improved essential products or processes. We need ideas that can be rapidly developed and tested with potential to be scaled and used across Wales over the coming months, in areas such as;

Our COVID-19 support is helping to develop a pandemic mask that fills the gap in the market between the two main types of types of face masks currently available – disposable and reusable. It is at a lower cost, closer to a disposable, but has all the enhanced protection of an elastomeric reusable product. In addition, both the mask and the filter can be decontaminated and the mask also has clips designed into it to attach a clear face shield. This project will create a pandemic mask that is suitable for all frontline workers to wear during this Covid-19 crisis and successfully stored for years in case of future problems. It will also be manufactured and distributed from premises in Wales to ensure a robust supply chain for UK workers.

Following the current crisis there will be a continuing need for surveillance for both ‘herd-immunity’ using antibody testing but also for active carriers using mouth and nose swabs. Our COVID-19 RD&I support will help to introduce a new test that will be able to extract, eliminate inhibitors and concentrate the nucleic acid in pooled samples from communal groups such as NHS staff, company workforces, primary and secondary school pupils, parents/middle aged and retired people. Assuming a pool of 20 samples per test and assuming that 10 tests are done with the adapted system, then a community of 200 persons will have been monitored, allowing us to screen NHS staff and the returning workforce in vast numbers, as well as to conduct continuous surveillance in the months to come in those countries in which the virus has appeared.

Unprecedented world-wide demand has led to critical PPE (personal Protection Equipment) and medical supplies shortages throughout the UK. Our COVID-19 support is helping businesses in Wales to play an important role in creating a more resilient supply chain for the future through helping to set up a surgical mask manufacturing company at premises in South Wales – initially to supply the NHS and care sectors but also industrial and commercial sectors that may require masks as the country comes out of lock-down. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in the need for sanitiser production. Our COVID RD&I support is being used to support a Distillery to produce large quantities of Ethanol to the Medical Sector in large quantities for the purpose of supplying the sanitisers to Welsh NHS trusts. The existing process involves making a wash in the current fermenters and distilling to 75%. With a minimum strength of 90% required, the distillery is using our support to change their method of production.

To help take these ideas forward, we are able to offer support up to 80% of the total eligible project costs, through the COVID-19 temporary state aid framework. You will be supported by our team of highly experienced Innovation Specialists who will provide advice on the options available, to make the most of your innovative ideas.  

For projects that do not meet the necessary criteria, SMARTCymru continues to support Welsh businesses to develop, implement and commercialise new products, processes and services. 

Help getting your business safely back to work

Innovation support is available to help businesses manufacturing products in all sectors through their recovery. For wider guidance please visit the ‘Return to work safely. Guidance for employers in Wales’ section of the site. 

The EU funded SMARTInnovation programme will provide assistance to plan and implement changes to incorporate reasonable measures that ensure safe working practices that comply with Welsh Government legislation and guidance within the workplace. Experts will work with you to identify opportunities to deliver safe working environments, employing innovative methodologies to maintain, and potentially improve productivity. 

SMART Productivity support is free to businesses in Wales, provided by the Welsh Government and is supported by EU funds. Experts will work with you, free of charge, to plan and help you implement the productivity and design improvements needed.

To speak to an advisor please email:

Innovating through COVID and beyond

As we start looking to the future, innovation has an important role to play in helping to make your business stay competitive. 

If you are looking for assistance with the development of new products, processes or services, our team of experienced Innovation Specialists - made up of engineers, scientists, IP experts and commercialisation managers – are here to help.

The EU-funded SMART Innovation programme has already helped hundreds of businesses in Wales, across a range of sectors, to prosper in ever-evolving and globally competitive marketplaces.  

We can also help you to access to the wealth of expertise and facilities available in our universities and colleges in Wales, or to get involved in the various challenges and collaborative opportunities from both industry and academia.