Innovation & Enterprise


Knowledge exchange and innovation funding

If you’re planning a project where you’ll exchange ideas and experience with people outside academia, you could get funding support.

What is knowledge exchange?

Knowledge exchange (KE) is a process that connects you with communities beyond the university to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise. With its emphasis on a two-way exchange of learning and ideas, it helps you put your knowledge to use for the benefit of society and the economy and bring what you've learned back into the university.

Who it’s for

All UCL staff can apply – including academic, research and professional services staff from any department.

What projects could qualify

Your proposal will need to:

  • engage with non-academic users or collaborators, such as businesses, public sector services, charities or the wider public
  • show how you'll bring their input or expertise back into the project and UCL
  • show how your project will contribute to society or the economy
  • show how your project maximises the impact of EPSRC- or STFC-funded research or builds on your work at UCL

Projects could include, among others: 

  • developing a partnership
  • running networking events 
  • designing and delivering workshops
  • informing public policy

What funding is available

There are three funding sources, which one you can apply for will depend on the funder of the underpinning work.

If your project is linked to:

  • EPSRC-funded research, you can apply for up to £30,000 of EPSRC IAA funding.
    If you're applying for £15,000 or less, your project can start from 2 January 2020. All other projects can start from 15 January 2020.
    Projects must finish no later than 31 March 2020.
  • STFC-funded research, you can apply for up to £20,000 of STFC IAA funding.
    Projects can start from 15 January 2020 and must finish no later than 30 September 2020.

For all other projects, you can apply for up to £15,000 of HEIF funding (this is available to all UCL staff). Projects can start from 15 January 2020 and can last for up to one year.

If applying for HEIF Funding, please note that there are very limited funds available for the remainder of the current financial year (2019/20), so the likelihood of securing funding is very low. 

You may wish to defer your application to spring 2020 (for projects starting from 1 August 2020).

When to apply and timings

You can apply during the following call dates:

  • 8 to 22 November 2019 (earliest start date above)

You'll be notified of the outcome around six weeks after the call closes.

How to apply

  1. Read our 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 new web application form (pdf), and what information you'll need to have to hand before starting.
  3. 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 please note that emailed applications will no longer be accepted

If you’d like to discuss your project or the application process, contact the funding team at knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk

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 sources

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) 2017-20
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA)
  • Research England, Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

Case study

Onya McCausland, Five Colours, Five Landscapes, 2018 © Onya McCausland and University College London. Photo by Anna Betts
Creating paints from coal waste: the arts and sciences join forces at UCL

When Onya McCausland visited a former coalfield in Lancashire, she found both a source of materials for her paintings and a potential business idea.