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.

We’re currently reviewing all our funding schemes and associated guidance. Some details may change for the next call (opening in October). Please check this page in early October for changes.

What is knowledge exchange?

Knowledge exchange (KE) is a process that connects you with communities beyond the university to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise. It emphasises a two-way exchange of learning and helps you use your knowledge to benefit society and the economy, bringing what you've learned back into the university.

Who it’s for

UCL academic staff working in any subject discipline and at any stage in their careers can apply for funding. Early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.

Professional services staff can also apply for Knowledge Exchange funding from UCL’s Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) allocation.

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
  • if applicable, show how it maximises the impact of research aligned with AHRC, EPSRC, or STFC's portfolios

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 knowledge exchange and innovation funding guide (Word).

How much you can apply for

You can apply for:

  • up to £5,000 to explore the potential of an early-stage project idea with a partner organisation (stage 1)
  • up to £20,000 for more developed projects (stage 2). For example, your project may be building on an existing collaboration or the success of a previous project

Stage 1 funding is aimed at those who are exploring knowledge exchange for the first time, in particular early career researchers. Stage 1 applications will be assessed using simplified criteria.

If you’re unsure which stage your project is at, get in touch with the Knowledge Exchange team (knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk) to discuss.

When your project can start

If you're successful, it will take some time for the award to be processed before you can start your project.

We will publish here the earliest date you’ll be able to start your project, once this has been confirmed.

When to apply

Applications will open on 14 October and close on 8 November 2024.

Submissions received outside published call dates will not be considered.

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. 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 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 assess its eligibility and make sure it matches the funding criteria.
  2. If it does, two 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. Applications up to £5,000 will be assessed using a simplified criteria. The Knowledge Exchange team will take the decision and make a recommendation. 
  4. For applications over £20,000, the UCL 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 will make the final decision. For applications up to £20,000, the Knowledge Exchange team will make the final decision. The same criteria are applied in both cases.

Funding sources

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) 2022-25
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) 2022-25
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) 2022-25
  • Research England, Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

Academic spotlight

Keri Wong
Dr Keri Wong

Keri is Associate Professor in Psychology at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society.

Working with west London charity Jamal Edwards Delve, Keri and students from her Psychology with Education BSc co-designed a series of mental health and life skills workshops with young people.

Read about Keri’s experience of working with Jamal Edwards Delve >

Case study

Islington youth councillors with the UCL Empower Islington Research Team
UCL collaboration with London partners leads to better mental health support for young people

Two knowledge exchange projects, drawing on expertise from UCL and partners, are helping young people co-develop the mental health support they need most.

A tube of brown coloured paint
Transforming coal waste into vibrant paints through UCL collaboration

UCL artist Onya McCausland developed a range of paints from waste generated by de-commissioned coal mines, working with UCL Innovation & Enterprise and the Coal Authority.