Innovation & Enterprise


Discovery-to-use funding

Work with a non-academic partner to apply your research in industry and move your work from its early stages towards a practical use that benefits society, with EPSRC IAA funding.

Who it’s for

You'll be a UCL researcher who's identified an opportunity to partner with an organisation to maximise the impact of your research.

What projects could qualify

The types of activities you can get funding for include:

  • extending the use of an industrial technology 
  • improving an industrial process or product
  • developing a prototype
  • exploring commercialisation opportunities for your research
  • developing a tool that tackles a social issue

Your proposal will need to:

  • show how it maximises the impact of EPSRC-funded research
  • feature research that’s ready to move towards a practical use
  • show how both partners will share their expertise and benefit from the collaboration
  • show that your partner has a UK presence

Further details on eligibility requirements can be found in our funding scheme guide (pdf).

What funding is available

You can apply for between £10,000 and £100,000 for projects lasting a minimum of 3 months, and running between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Your external partner must make a cash or in-kind contribution. This should be at least 25% (with the other 75% coming from the EPSRC IAA 2020-21). Projects with reduced contributions may be considered where the partner is a governmental, charity or other not-for-profit body or an SME, and the project is deemed to be highly impactful.

In exceptional cases, we'll consider projects that are not yet at the stage where they can engage a partner organisation, or the intention of the project is exclusively to explore pathways to commercialise your research. You'll have to develop a strong case to justify the absence of partner support. The maximum available for this is £50,000.

When to apply

You can apply between 6 and 20 March 2020 (for projects starting on or after 18 May). You'll hear the outcome of your application by 1 May.

Submissions received outside published call dates will not be considered.

There'll be more opportunities to apply during the year, but the number will be limited due to the complexity and duration of these projects. Further calls will be announced shortly.

How to apply

If you're a first time applicant we'd encourage you to speak to the Knowledge Exchange team (knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk) for advice on writing your application. You can also contact the team if you have any questions or want to discuss your project.

  1. Read our funding scheme guide (pdf) for advice on completing your application and details of the documents we’ll need to see.
  2. Read our guide to using the web application form (pdf), and what information you'll need to have to hand before starting.
  3. Prepare the costing spreadsheet (Excel).
  4. Fill in the web application form on our online portal. (You'll need your UCL login.)

After you’ve started to fill in the web application form, you can save and return to it as many times as you need before submitting.

You can use the application template (Word) to share information with co-investigators or other colleagues but emailed applications will not be accepted

If you have any feedback on the new web form, please send to knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk so we can improve the process.

After you apply

  1. Your proposal will be assessed by the Knowledge Exchange team to make sure it matches the funding criteria. 
  2. If it does, at least three members of innovation-engaged UCL staff will review it. Your application will be assessed on its suitability for the scheme, feasibility, and potential for impact.
  3. For applications over £15,000, the Innovation & Enterprise Funding Committee will consider the application and make a recommendation to the Vice-Provost (Enterprise) on whether to award or decline. She’ll make the final decision. For applications up to £15,000, the Knowledge Exchange team will make the final decision.

Funding source

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) 2020-21.