Innovation & Enterprise


Proof of concept / early stage commercialisation funding

Test, de-risk or show the commercial potential of your idea with funding from Research England.

Who it’s for

UCL academic staff working in any subject discipline and at any stage in their careers can apply.

What projects could qualify

Your proposal will need to:

  • build on research and/or teaching at UCL
  • work towards a defined commercial outcome, for example licensing your IP
  • have a social or economic benefit 

The types of activities you can get funding for include:

  • commissioning external consultants, advisors and service providers
  • paying for design, prototype development and manufacturing

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

You’ll need to work with UCL Business (UCLB) before applying. We’ll ask UCLB for their views on the project after submission. You can find your UCLB business manager on the UCLB website.

What funding is available

You can apply for up to £30,000 for a maximum 12 months’ of activity.

When to apply

Applications are currently closed.

Further call dates will be announced in due course.

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 funding scheme guide (Word) for advice on completing your application and details of the documents we’ll need to see. 
  2. Get in touch with the UCLB business manager for your department as early as possible (at least a week before submission). Find them on the main UCLB website.
  3. Read our guide to using the web application form (Word), and what information you'll need to have to hand before starting.
  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’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 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 assess its eligibility and make sure it matches the funding criteria. 
  2. If it does, it will be reviewed independently by innovation-engaged UCL staff. Your application will be assessed on its suitability for the scheme, feasibility, and potential for impact. For applications up to £15,000, the Knowledge Exchange team will make the final decision based on the reviewers’ recommendations. 

Funding source

  • Research England, Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)