It's not enough that a product is commercially innovative. You can't claim in respect of projects to develop innovative business products or services that don't incorporate any advance in science or technology.
d) The project must have encountered scientific and/or technological uncertainty (PARA 13 2004 DTI).
See point (e) for definition of what is scientific and technological uncertainty.
Uncertainties that can be resolved through relatively brief discussions with peers are routine uncertainties rather than technological uncertainties.
Technical problems that have been overcome in previous projects on similar systems are not likely to be technological uncertainties.
You should set out at a high level, in a form understandable to the non-expert, what these uncertainties were and when they started and ended.
You should describe the methods adopted to overcome the uncertainties and the investigations and analysis undertaken. This need not be in great detail, simply sufficient to show that the matter was not straightforward.
Describe the successes and failures and the impact of these on the overall project. If the uncertainties were not overcome, explain what happened.
e)Something is only a scientific or technological uncertainty when the resolution of that uncertainty was not readily deducible to a competent professional working in that field (PARA 13 2004 DTI).
Anything that can be readily resolved (PARA 14) is not R&D.
It might be publicly known that others have attempted to resolve the uncertainties and failed, or perhaps that others have resolved the uncertainties but that precisely how it was done is not in the public domain. In either case a valid technological uncertainty can still exist. Alternatively, if the project is one where there is little public information available, you'll need to show that the persons leading the R&D project are themselves competent professionals working in the relevant field. This might be done by outlining their relevant background, professional qualifications and recent experience. Then have them explain why they consider the uncertainties are scientific or technological uncertainties rather than routine uncertainties.
Whichever is appropriate set out the details and have evidence available if needed.
Updated April 2017