The process of building prototypes within a project will look different to everyone, with complex processes, research phases and a divergence in software development or technical builds concluding individual processes. Over this time, different models may be constructed with individual challenges faced on each phase and knowing HMRC’s stance on these is important for planning and organising your R&D case.
Building a prototype highlights the overcoming of obstacles and is often a physical representation for the project undertook, however this creation processes will only fall under R&D up until an extent.
Within the project the development of the prototype will typically come nearing the end of the uncertainties, where creation of the technology/exploration of the sciences is becoming plausible. The creation and work behind forming the prototype will be considered as part of the R&D within the claim, as well as some feasibility testing, however this is where the project will, in HMRC’s eyes, conclude for certain scenarios.
The principal of R&D focus on the uncertainties within a scientific or technological study and if these can be overcome to create an advance; once a prototype has been developed and testing to a functioning level, this no longer becomes an aspect of feasibility as the technology is in part active.
A prototype can take form in a variety of ways within the context of your project, and each will serve a different role. As mentioned, a feasibility prototype will often occur at the end of the research and development phase and is used to evaluate how possible the overall advance is, however other models may be built before this as well.
In addition to the feasibility prototypes completion, if new challenges arise from this design, this can be claimed as a further project. Recognising these divides within the processes is one of the highlights to working with specialised R&D companies, who are able to distinguish important breaks within the process and assign them correctly for HMRC.
Live data models can be used to ensure every piece of software will function together while testing, and tactile models might be built during the design phase for scope and measurement. These will be included within the R&D timeline but may not incur the ending of the process, as these will need to be adjusted and amended before the challenges faced in the project are resolved.
It is important when considering your prototypes to pay notice to the intention behind the model itself as well. A prototype intended to display the aesthetics of the model or design for commercial intent would not be considered as part of the project or advance in itself, however if the design was made with the intent of perfecting measurements or helping understand the practicality of the advance, this would be accepted within HMRC’s parameters.
Prototypes are noticeable statements within the R&D process as an accumulative effort from the project, and understanding their role within the guidelines for HMRC and R&D as a whole helps contextualise their importance.
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