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

You can apply for up to: 

  • £30,000 for up to a year for projects linked to EPSRC-funded research (from the EPSRC IAA 2017-20)
  • £20,000 for up to a year for projects linked to STFC-funded research (from the STFC IAA 2019)
  • £15,000 for up to a year for all other projects (from HEIF)

When to apply and timings

Applications for amounts up to £15,000 are being considered until 30 August 2019. We'll normally let you know the outcome within two weeks. You'll be able to start the project after a further two weeks.

You’ll also be able to apply for larger amounts during the following call dates:

  • 2 to 16 September 2019 (earliest start 4 November)
  • 4 to 18 October 2019 (earliest start 9 December)
  • 8 to 22 November 2019 (earliest start 22 January)

When you apply during one of these calls, 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.