Abstract:  This paper explores regional variation in the effects of publicly sponsored RD grants on SME performance. The results suggest that there is no guarantee that the grants will impact firm growth, either positive or negative. Studying the heterogeneity of the results, positive growth effects are most likely to be found for publicly sponsored R&D grants targeting SMEs located in regions abundant with skilled labor, whereas the opposite is found for SMEs located in regions with a limited supply of skilled workers.