Innovation & Enterprise


Future Industries Demonstrator: apply for funding

Apply for up to £5,000 to work with a company on a collaboration to explore challenges in tackling climate emergency and enhancing East London's natural environment.

About the grant and what can be funded

The aim of the grant is to help you work with a company taking part in the Future Industries Demonstrator (FID) to apply either existing insights or new research and development to a challenge in ‘natural environment’.

Your project should focus on knowledge exchange (two-way exchange of expertise/knowledge between UCL and non-academic organisations/communities), or translational or impact acceleration activities.

Projects could include:

  • 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

Your project will need to align with a research area included in the EPSRC portfolio.

You can apply for up to £5,000.

Projects must start by 8 April 2024 be no longer than 6 months. Projects must be completed by 1 October 2024.

Participating companies 

The collaboration must be with one of the companies participating in the current FID programme. The companies in the cohort include: 

  • Alive Labs - brings healthier systems into our urban environment by using technology to develop sustainable buildings at scale.
  • Fibre Lab - uses a custom-built mechanical shredding machine to turn post-industrial textile waste into valuable recycled fibre.
  • Good Mine - helps people finds convenient, sustainable ways to get rid of their unwanted belongings via an app.
  • Mad Leap - aims to create a circular approach to food, energy water and waste to benefit people and planet.
  • Yodomo - encourages people to understand how things are made and how materials can be reused, developing wider making skills and encouraging behavioural change in the community.

If you require an introduction to one of the companies listed above, please email b.malkani@ucl.ac.uk


To be eligible:

  • the lead applicant(s) must be members of staff or doctoral students at UCL. This includes part and full-time researchers and academics from any discipline. (Honorary lecturers, undergraduate and master’s students cannot apply.)
  • the application must be developed in partnership with a company that is part of SHIFT’s Future Industry Demonstrator taking place from December 2023 – April 2024. 
  • the proposed project must align with a research area included in the EPSRC portfolio.

Costs and activities that can be funded

Direct costs (directly allocated or directly incurred, of any type) can be covered. This includes salaries, consumables, travel and subsistence, etc.

The following costs and activities cannot be covered:

  • Indirect, estates and generic administrative costs
  • Costs associated with the protection of intellectual property
  • The purchase, or contribution towards the purchase, of a single item of equipment valued more than £10,000
  • Research activity (e.g. any activity that could normally be funded through research grants)
  • Public engagement activities that do not involve a two-way exchange of knowledge (e.g. one-way dissemination or broadcast)

How to apply

Applications are now closed.

Before you apply, you should read the guidance (below) and the terms and conditions.

Guidance on completing your application

The lead applicant must be a UCL academic, researcher or doctoral student. Postdoctoral researchers may be named as PI if they meet this criterion and have approval from their line manager and Head of Department. Doctoral students will require a PI as a lead applicant.

It’s the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure that:

  • all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility criteria

In the application form, you'll need to include:

  • details of your proposal (600 words) including:
    • the project scope
    • how there will be a two-way exchange between researchers and the company (this can be in form of workshops and meetings)
  • 3 to 5 project outcomes with specific deliverables (600 words)
  • how your project meets the EPSRC research priorities (200 words)
  • how the grant money will be spent (300 words)
  • how you'll report on the project impact (500 words)
  • a project timeline (300 words)
  • a brief public description of your proposal (200 words)
  • any additional information about the proposal (300 words)
  • how you are embedding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in your proposed activity 

Your application must show:

  • how your research will contribute to helping solve a challenge in tackling emergency climate change in east London
  • why your research is best placed to solve the challenge
  • the roles your partner may play, and how you’ll collaborate and exchange of expertise/knowledge between UCL and non-academic organisations/communities

Your application will not be considered if:

  • it's submitted outside of the published dates (there will be no extensions to the deadline)
  • you have not completed all sections on the application form
  • you do not have a company partner participating in Future Industries Demonstrator programme 
  • the proposed area of work does not align with the EPSRC portfolio
  • your application is not submitted on the official application form or approved accessible format
  • you apply for more than £5,000
  • the proposed duration of your project exceeds 6 months

After you apply

Your application will be reviewed by a UCL selection panel. Applicants who best match the criteria will be notified of the outcome week commencing 19 February 2024. If you're unsuccessful, you'll be notified via email from a member of staff from UCL Innovation & Enterprise. 

If you are successful, you’ll receive an email with details of how the grant will be released by Award Services at Research and Innovation Services. Your project start date must be no later than 1 April 2024.

Successful candidates will receive further mentoring throughout the project from UCL Innovation & Enterprise, including support from UCL Business, Innovate UK EDGE and the Business & Innovation Partnerships team. You must spend the grant within 6 months of receiving funds.

If UCL Innovation & Enterprise are unable to find a suitable applicant for the grant, a further challenge will be advertised later in 2024.