Exploring Innovation Grant


The aim of the Exploring Innovation grant is to support better planning of R&D, Innovation or International Collaboration projects through;

  • Encouraging companies to do some strategic thinking around disruptive technologies and taking time to look outside of their own organisations for inspiration and for guidance. For R&D, this could include a review to determine the current status of scientific or technical knowledge in the area.
  • An investigation of solutions that may be available from the 3rd level sector. This may include searches of the Knowledge Transfer Ireland website and discussions with one or more of the Technology Centres/Gateways in order to identify Research Partners and existing IP if appropriate.
  • Prototype development if appropriate in order to assist in the evaluation of project options. (Note that this scheme is not intended to support the actual development of new products, processes or services).
  • Analysis of the commercial feasibility of the project – resources required, risks and potential return on investment. This could include interaction with potential customers.

The outputs should include a project plan that could form the basis of an application for R&D or other relevant funding from Enterprise Ireland.

*Note that this offer was formerly known as a Technical Feasibility Study Grant.

Under Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) (2021-2026), projects supporting the digital and climate transition of enterprise are being funded through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. This covers projects that will:
  • facilitate emissions reductions, or
  • support the digital transformation of the company, driving increased adoption and diffusion of digital technology
Funded by the European Union


Am I eligible?

You are eligible to apply for an Exploring Innovation Grant if you are an Enterprise Ireland client or potential client of Enterprise Ireland and meet both of the following criteria:

  1. Engage in an eligible service activity or manufacture in the Republic of Ireland
  2. have 10 or more employees.

If you are a High Potential Start-up Company (HPSU) seeking Feasibility Grant support, go to HPSU Feasibility Study Grant.

If you are not a client of Enterprise Ireland and employ less than 10 employees, you should contact your Local Enterprise Office.


What is the maximum grant and what costs are eligible?

The maximum grant funding available for an Exploring Innovation study is 50% of eligible expenditures to a maximum grant of up to €35,000. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and the level of funding will be determined following assessment of;

(a) the merits of providing grant support to the activity set out in the application;
(b) the need for financial support;
(c) previous funding provided to the company;
(d) potential for employment and sales growth.


Eligible ExpendituresMaximum Limits and Notes
Salaries and Overheads• Salary support is based on the actual salary paid to employees (base salary less any bonus or other payments) 
• Only time spent on the proposed project by employees of the company can be applied for.
• Support for external consultants must be applied for in the Consultancy Fees section.
• Employee time spent attending Trade Fairs is ineligible.
• Overheads of up to a maximum of 30% of eligible salary costs can be applied for.
• The salary costs of the Managing Director (MD) or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is not eligible with the exception of Small Enterprises where a maximum 30% of the MD’s or CEO’s time may be eligible where it is deemed to be critical to the project.
Foreign Travel and Subsistence• Only Travel and Subsistence costs for overseas trips related to the proposed project are allowed.
• Foreign Travel and Subsistence costs must be for company employees.
• Subsistence rate is to cover all out of pocket expenses including hotels, meals, taxis, local fares, incidentals etc.
• If Foreign Travel and Subsistence is for Trade Fairs, it is limited to 5 employees.
• Eligible Travel Costs: Economy Air/Ferry or Rail Fares, Mileage (60c per kilometre) or Economy Car Hire (note: mileage cannot be claimed on Hire Cars).
• Eligible Subsistence Rates: Overnight Rate - 24 hr period, max €200 per Day Day rate, < 24 hours €60.
Consultancy Fees• Costs of hiring a specialist consultant to input into or undertake the proposed project.
• Daily rates for Consultancy must reflect actual market rates up to a maximum of €900 per day.
• Daily rate to be inclusive of travel and subsistence and all out-of-pocket expenses.
• Where more than one consultant is being used from the same firm the daily rate applies to the firm.
• Where there is more than one consultancy firm involved on the project, the rate applies to each firm separately.
Prototype/Materials Costs• Prototype materials, specialised software tools, hire of equipment or facilities and other sundry costs relating to building a prototype are eligible.
• Where consultants/contractors are being used to input into the prototype design/build, the costs should be entered in the Consultancy Fees section of the application form.
• Employee time should be entered under the Salaries and Overheads section.
• Capital items/equipment costs such as laptops, servers are not eligible under this expenditure item.

How do I apply?

All applications for funding should be discussed with your Enterprise Ireland Adviser prior to submission.  

Apply via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.

Prior to applying you must do the following:

Any expenditure incurred prior to receipt of the application by Enterprise Ireland will not be eligible for grant aid.


What are the call close dates?

You may apply all year.


Key contact/more information