Innovation & Enterprise


Knowledge exchange and innovation funding

If you would like to explore opportunities to engage with people outside academia and develop collaborative projects, you could get knowledge exchange funding.

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, 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 builds on your work at UCL
  • show how your project maximises the impact of EPSRC- or STFC-funded research (if relevant)

Projects could include, among others: 

  • strengthening or exploring the development of a partnership
  • designing and delivering workshops or events where you’re working with non-academic collaborators
  • informing public policy

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

What funding is available

You can currently apply for funding for projects linked to your:

  • EPSRC-funded research (you can apply for up to £30,000 of EPSRC IAA funding, for projects ending no later than 31 March 2021)
  • STFC-funded research (you can apply for up to £20,000 of STFC IAA funding for projects ending no later than 30 September 2020)

For projects not linked to UKRI-funded research, HEIF funding will be available later in the year. A funding call will open in the spring for projects starting on or after 1 August 2020.

When to apply

You can apply between 20 January and 3 February 2020 (for projects starting on or after 1 April). You'll hear the outcome of your application by 10 March.

Submissions received outside published call dates will not be considered.

There'll be more opportunities to apply during the year. Further calls will be announced shortly.

Due to the MyFinance closure from 22 January to 5 February 2020, if you're not able to provide a standalone Worktribe costing on submission you can provide a basic costing breakdown for review. Once MyFinance is restored we'll request standalone Worktribe costings from applicants who have not yet provided them.

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. 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 web form, please send it 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 UCL 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) 2020-21
  • 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.