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 maximise the impact of your work by commercialising your research and/or partnering with a non-academic organisation.

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 research aligned with EPSRC's portfolio
  • 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 there's a clear benefit to the UK arising from the project (both UK and international collaborations are welcome)

Further details on eligibility requirements can be found in our knowledge exchange and innovation funding guide (Word).

How much you can apply for

If you have secured a financial contribution from an external partner, you can apply for £10,000 to £100,000.

The partner must make a cash or in-kind contribution of at least 25%.

Variations to this contribution may be acceptable in specific circumstances. Further details are in our knowledge exchange and innovation funding guide (Word).

If you cannot secure a financial contribution from an external partner at this stage, you can apply for up to £50,000. You'll have to develop a strong case to justify the absence of partner support and include this in your application form.

The maximum project length is 12 months.

When to apply

Applications are currently closed. The next call will likely open in May/June 2023. Dates will be published here when confirmed.

Submissions received outside published call dates will not be considered.

If you applied during our previous call, you should find out if you’re successful by Friday, 7 April. The Funding Committee will meet during the week starting 20 March.

When your project can start

You can decide the most suitable start date for your project, but if you applied during our previous call, the earliest you can start is 2 May 2023. This is to allow time for the award to be processed.

How to apply

We'd encourage you to speak to the Knowledge Exchange team (knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk) for advice on shaping your application and its eligibility. We strongly encourage you to do so at the earliest opportunity, irrespective of the stage of development of your project. 

  1. Read our knowledge exchange and innovation funding guide (Word) 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 (Word), and what information you'll need to have to hand before starting.
  3. Prepare the costing spreadsheet (Excel) (you need to provide this as well as your Standalone Worktribe costings).
  4. Fill in the web application form on our online portal. (You'll need your UCL login. Only one person can access the form. You can save and return to the form at any time.)

You can use the application template (Word) to share information with co-investigators or other colleagues if this is helpful. But applications must be submitted via the web application form (emailed applications will not be accepted).

If you have any feedback on the 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 assess its eligibility and 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 Executive Director, UCL Innovation & Enterprise on whether to award or decline. They’ll make the final decision. For applications up to £15,000, the Knowledge Exchange team will make the final decision. The same criteria are applied in both cases.

Funding source

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) 2022-25.