Innovation & Enterprise


HEIF Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund

This HEIF funding is for knowledge exchange that supports and develops a broad range of interactions between universities and the wider world, bringing economic and social benefit to the UK.

Call for proposals

A maximum of £30,000 is available for individual pre-commercialisation projects, with £15,000 available for small knowledge exchange (KE) projects. Maximum project duration is 12 months.

OpenCloseEarliest startSubmission subject line
13 August 201816 September 201822 October 2018KEI2018-04 HEIF Application – PI_Full_Name
24 September 201817 October 201826 November 2018KEI2018-05 HEIF Application – PI_Full_Name
29 October 201821 November 201821 January 2019KEI2018-06 HEIF Application – PI_Full_Name

There will be further calls for proposals in 2019.

Applications of less than £15,000 can be considered between calls.

Application forms and guidance notes have been updated. Make sure you use the latest versions below.


UCL Innovation & Enterprise invite members of the UCL community to apply for funding from the HEIF Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund. We welcome proposals that will help strengthen engagement with businesses, public and third sector services, the community and the wider public.

A maximum of £30,000 is available for individual pre-commercialisation projects, with £15,000 available for small knowledge-exchange projects. Maximum length of a project is 12 months. Project activities must be completed within the approved timeframe of their proposal.

The call for proposals is open to applicants from all UCL academic and professional service departments. Applications are encouraged from all subject disciplines.

This funding call won't fund academic research, public engagement activities or generic administrative support.

Below is further information on:

Scope of applications

The definition of knowledge exchange that informs UCL Innovation & Enterprise’s work, and our funding priorities, is as follows: “[UCL’s] engagement with businesses, public and third sector services, the community and wider public, with the aim of delivering external impact.”

When applying, you're encouraged to identify specific, focused and relevant knowledge exchange activities you would like to support, including for example:

  • the commercialisation of UCL research
  • the creation and development of relationships with external partners to maximise impact
  • setting up commercial ventures or social enterprises informed by UCL research
  • running events or competitions with a KE focus
  • training programmes to develop impact skills
  • influencing public policy (for example through secondments)

Applications with a social or health innovation focus are also welcome.

Pre-commercialisation awards are expected to support projects arising from research and teaching at UCL that have (or can demonstrate) an ultimate commercial end point which is likely to make economic or societal impact with which UCL will be associated.

Examples of eligible activities

Examples of the type of activities that are eligible include (but aren't limited to):

  • supporting academic staff sabbaticals and cover for teaching and research time to allow them to concentrate on commercial projects
  • supporting licence transactions and spin-outs; developing products and services; testing, de-risking or proving novel ideas, concepts and propositions; securing or supporting translational grants
  • commissioning external consultants, advisors and service providers, and paying for design, prototype development and manufacturing where appropriate

Assessment of proposals

Proposals will be assessed on the strength of the application and its fit with the UCL Innovation & Enterprise Strategic Plan 2016-21 and UCL Strategy 2034.

Awards will be assessed initially by UCL Innovation & Enterprise staff. Any applications exceeding a threshold of £15,000 will be reviewed by at least three members of the UCL community and the Innovation and Enterprise Funding Committee, who'll make recommendations to the Vice-Provost (Enterprise). The decision to award, suggest resubmission, or to decline, will then rest with the Vice-Provost (Enterprise).

Committee meetings will normally take place 4 to 5 weeks after the closing date, just prior to the earliest start date of the award. The applicant(s) will be notified of the decision and any further steps to be taken within three working days following the committee meeting.

Information on timelines for applications below £15,000 is provided in the guidance document (pdf).

How to apply / forms

Before completing your application, read all the information about the funding call on this page, as well as the guidance document. Applications that don't include the necessary documentation, as described in the guidance, won't be considered.

Send your completed application form and required documentation to knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk. Please use the corresponding submission subject line as your email subject heading.

Only complete applications submitted by the funding call closing dates will be considered for funding. This doesn't apply to applications of less than £15,000.


For further information or guidance please contact: knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk