Innovation & Enterprise


Enterprise secondments funding

Put your research into practice outside academia, and build a lasting relationship with a non-academic partner organisation, with funding support.

Who it’s for

You'll be a member of academic staff with a partner organisation on board that’s based in the UK. It could be a business, charity, NGO or public sector organisation (e.g. local/national government, a hospital etc.).

Your secondee will be a current UCL member of staff or doctoral student. Early career researchers particularly benefit from the experience.

What projects could qualify

Your project must increase the impact of research outputs from previous or existing EPSRC research grants. 

If your project doesn’t have an EPSRC link, please contact the Knowledge Exchange team (knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk) to discuss alternative opportunities for funding.

Funding can support a secondment of up to 6 months full-time or longer part-time (6 months is the maximum for PhD students).

As a secondee, you must spend a minimum of 50% of the project based at your partner organisation’s offices. (Alternative arrangements will be acceptable if introduced in response to COVID-19 restrictions.)

Your proposal will need to:

  • show how both partners will share their expertise 
  • make a measurable difference to both, for example by exploring the development of new products or services, changing policy, etc.
  • benefit the secondee personally (e.g. joint industry or policy publications, skills development, commercial exposure, networks etc.) and UCL (e.g. through dissemination of outputs and best practice in the department, academic colleague visits etc.).

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

If you're working with government, you can access up to £15,000 in funds. For more information, contact the Head of External Engagement and Partnerships, Katherine Welch (k.welch@ucl.ac.uk) in the Public Policy team at OVPR, who facilitates these projects.

What funding is available

You can apply for up to £30,000 for projects of 3 months or more (a maximum of 6 months full-time).

Your external partner must make a cash or in-kind contribution. Projects where the partner organisation(s) match the EPSRC IAA funding and/or carry some cash co-funding will be prioritised. This should be at least 25% (with the other 75% coming from the EPSRC IAA). 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.

When to apply

Applications are currently closed. 

Submissions received outside published call dates will not be considered.

How to apply

We'd encourage you to speak to the Senior Partnerships Manager (High Growth SMEs) for advice on shaping your application and its eligibility. Email Kemil at kemil.thomas@ucl.ac.uk. We strongly encourage you to do so at the earliest opportunity, irrespective of the stage of development of your project.

  1. Read our funding scheme 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.)

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. Note that only one person can access the form.

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 a member of the 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. She’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) 2020-22.

Case study

Two dancers performing in Wayne McGregor's Atomos
The UCL Dance Network: Collaboration flourishes at the arts-science interface

UCL is bringing different creative organisations together to collaborate on projects, including innovative choreography, monitoring dancers’ health, and the benefits of dance for Parkinson’s disease.