Research and Innovation Services



Find answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about our Innovation Service.

General questions

Why do we need an Innovation Service at UCL?

The externally set criteria for sponsored research do not capture the many ways that collaboration and funding are brought into UCL. Providing central support for a wider set of activities will enable us to:

  • Leverage systems and processes that reduce administrative burden
  • Provide consistency and transparency
  • Improve UCL’s ability to respond to new funding opportunities, as the research and innovation funding landscape diversifies and evolves. 

The Innovation Service will be fully integrated into Research and Innovation Services (RIS), providing the whole research community with more streamlined and comprehensive support. 

Who is the Innovation Service available to?

Effective from October 2022, our Innovation Service is available to:

  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  • Faculty of Population Health Sciences.  

Our Innovation Service will be introduced to all other faculties in a phased approach across 2022/23, with the aim of supporting all faculties by August 2023. 

Who can I speak to about the faculty innovation roll-out plan?

A faculty-based rollout has been adopted to monitor demand and ensure sufficient time for training and development.

If you have questions about the proposed launch of innovation support for your faculty, contact Liam McCafferty, Assistant Director of Innovation Service Development at l.mcafferty@ucl.ac.uk.

Who at UCL is providing innovation support?

Research and Innovation Services (RIS) will provide support alongside the support that they currently provide for all sponsored research projects and contracts.

We have invested in additional resource within the Pre-Award, Contracts Services and Post-Award teams to support innovation projects. 

Innovation project types

What is the difference between an Innovation project and a Sponsored Research project?

The table below illustrates the key differences between projects classified as innovation and sponsored research projects.

Innovation service classification principles
Classification principlesSponsored researchInnovation
1.The funding source must 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 must meet the Frascati Definition of Research (novel, creative, uncertain, systematic, transferrable).YesNo
3.The project scope (objectives and plan) must be subject to external (i.e. funder) scrutiny and normally agreed upon from the outset, as required by HESA.YesNo
4.Performance-related conditions must exist.YesNo
5.Funding terms must 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

Projects should be classified as sponsored research wherever possible to maximise UCL’s reported research volume and the number of projects eligible to receive QR funding.  

Costing, pricing and approval processes are the same for both research and innovation projects.

I need help with classifying my project

In the first instance, use the Triage Tool to determine how your project is likely to be classified. To start using the tool, select 'Present' at the top-right-hand corner of the screen.

If you need additional assistance, email Liam McCaffery, Assistant Director of Innovation Service Development, l.mccafferty@ucl.ac.uk.  

How do I submit an Innovation project or contract request?

The process for submitting an innovation project or contract request is the same as the current process used for sponsored research.

During the application process, select ‘Innovation’ under the ‘Project Activity Type’ drop-down list in Worktribe.   

You should also refer to our video guides on how to create an Innovation project and contract request in Worktribe (UCL login required).

Who will review my Innovation project application?

This will be managed by our Pre-Award team following the same process as currently used for sponsored research.

How will my innovation project affect UCL’s reporting and what will be reported?

UCL reports sponsored research income (research income and contracts) separately from other funding streams. This will remain the same and Innovation income will not be included. Instead, it will form part of UCL’s “other income”. 

Support and guidance

Will I receive training?

In preparation for the October launch of the Innovation service, we delivered several training sessions to UCL Professional Services teams, and the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, and Faculty of Population Health Sciences.

You can access a recording of one of our Innovation Training – Faculties sessions using the link below (UCL login required).

We will deliver training to each Faculty as part of the roll-out.   

Who do I contact if I have questions about the Innovation Service?

For general queries about the Innovation Service, please contact Liam McCafferty at l.mccafferty@ucl.ac.uk.

If you are unsure of how your project should be classified, please contact Elena Kushnerenko (e.kushnerenko@ucl.ac.uk) or Liam McCafferty (l.mccafferty@ucl.ac.uk).  

For various research and innovation-related guidance documents and training, including Worktribe system-related topics, visit our Training and resources pages or the Research and Innovation Portal.