Research and Innovation Services


Innovation Service

Our Innovation Service supports projects and contracts that fall within UCL's charitable mission that are not classed as sponsored research. Find out more about the service and use our triage tool to access the right support for your project.

What kinds of projects will RIS support as innovation?

Our Innovation Service is being used to capture any project within UCL’s charitable mission that enables research or innovation activity but cannot be classified as sponsored research.

To be supported by our teams, all projects should:

  • Have the right to publish results within a reasonable timeframe
  • Use results for further research and teaching purposes
  • Demonstrate public benefit.

Our Innovation Service will be rolled-out to UCL faculties across the 2022/23 academic year.

Classification principles

The table below illustrates the key differences between a project classified as innovation versus a sponsored research project.  

Innovation service classification principles
Classification principlesSponsored researchInnovation
1.The funding source should be external to and independent of UCL. This includes funding derived from external sources but managed by UCL and funding made available by UCL subsidiaries.YesYes
2.The project should meet the Frascati Definition of Research (novel, creative, uncertain, systematic, transferrable).YesNo
3.The project scope (objectives and plan) should be subject to external (i.e. funder) scrutiny and normally agreed upon from the outset, as required by HESA.YesNo
4.Performance-related conditions should exist.YesNo
5.Funding terms should support publication within a reasonable timeframe (maximum delay of 12 months) and allow the use of results for academic purposes.YesYes
6.Public benefit should not be incidental, i.e., the benefit of the funder or collaborator, if not a public body, should not significantly outweigh the benefit to the public.YesYes

Is my project sponsored research or innovation?

Wherever possible, projects should be classified as sponsored research to maximise UCL’s reported research volume and the number of projects eligible to receive QR funding. Use our triage tool to help you find the right UCL team to support your project (UCL login required). To use the tool, select 'Present' at the top-right-hand corner of the screen to begin.

Access the triage tool

You can also contact your designated Pre-Award contact for advice on the classification of your project. 

When will my faculty be supported?

A faculty-based roll-out has been adopted to monitor demand and ensure sufficient time for training and development. Faculties will be included in waves, in the following order, with the aim of supporting all faculties by August 2023:

  • Wave 1: Medical Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Population Health Sciences
  • Wave 2: Brain Sciences and Life Sciences
  • Wave 3: Mathematical & Physical Sciences and The Barlett (Built Environment)
  • Wave 4: Institute of Education and Social & Historical Sciences
  • Wave 5: Laws and Arts & Humanities

Managing innovation activity in Worktribe

The processes and level of support for innovation activities are designed to follow those for sponsored research as closely as possible. When creating a project in Worktribe you need to select 'Innovation' as the Project Activity Type.

There are several new project types and contract request types available. Please select the type that most closely matches the description of your project. Costing, pricing and approval processes remain the same for both research and innovation projects.  

Further guidance


For an overview of our Innovation Service, watch our Innovation training - Faculties session video (UCL login required). The session will provide you with:

  • A basic understanding of the Innovation Service offer
  • An understanding of the system and processes associated with the innovation service
  • The main activities within the scope of Research and Innovation Services and routes to support from other UCL teams.  

Watch the training video 

Guidance and support

Use the links below to find answers to our most frequently asked questions, a copy of our Innovation Service training deck and examples of case studies.



Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about our Innovation Service.

UCL Portico building

Training deck

Access our Innovation Service training deck for Faculties (UCL login required).

Two people facing the same direction, one smiling

Case studies

View case studies to see examples of Innovation projects (UCL login required).