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Funding from UCL Research, Innovation & Global Engagement

The Office of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) funds projects across a wide range of UCL activities. Find more information on how to apply below.

The Office of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) - VP RIGE - seeks to maximise UCL's positive research and innovation impact on the world through maximising income, optimising professional support for research, innovation and impact, creating cutting-edge institutional infrastructures and enabling a positive research and innovation culture.

As part of this support applications are invited from UCL-based staff to secure seed funding across a number of RIGE areas, these opportunities include support for: developing overseas collaborations; cross-disciplinary collaborations that address societal problems; building links with industry and public sector services; working towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, fostering engagement between research and policy; and enhancing public and community engagement within UCL. Please see further details on each area in the sections below.

RIGE Funding Q&A

Which RIGE funding call should I apply to for my project? 
  • For projects collaborating with a global partner see the Global Engagement Funding section in the first instance below.
  • For cross-disciplinary projects see the Grand Challenges section.
  • For innovation and enterprise focused projects see the the Innovation and Enterprise section.
  • For projects related to SDGs see the SDGI section.
  • For policy related projects see the Public Policy section.
  • For public and community engagement see the Public Engagement section.

Your project may have more than one element and thus be eligible for more than one call, i.e. it may be both cross-disciplinary and a collaboration with a global partner. If you are unsure which call to apply for please consult with any of the contacts provided for each section, they will help you identify and choose which scheme would be best for your project. RIGE colleagues will also review applications upon submission and if it would stand a better chance of being funded under a different RIGE scheme they will consult you about diverting the submission on your behalf.

When is the next round of funding calls, and when can my project take place? 

Currently each RIGE funding call runs once per year. Where possible the application windows for RIGE calls will be aligned to run concurrently in Term 3. This aligned window will normally open in May and close in June (exact dates tbc each year) for proposals on project activity taking place in the following academic year (or following multiple years in the case of some I&E calls) - this allows award recipients to have funding in place for a full year of activity. Please note the timings of some individual funding calls may need to differ year to year, for example matched funding schemes with partner institutions often need to align with a partners financial year. It is therefore important to check the individual timings for each call below.

The aligned RIGE funding call for the 2023/24 academic year ran in May-June 2023. See which calls ran below.

Am I eligible to apply? 

In general, most RIGE funding calls allow academic staff at post-doc level or above and all professional service/VP office staff to apply for funding - providing their period of

employment with UCL covers the period of the project activity. Students can often be involved in projects as co-applicants. However, eligibility criteria can sometime differ across calls due to the source of funding e.g. external funded calls or matched partner calls - so please be sure to check the criteria of a call before submitting an application.

How much can I apply for? 

Funding amounts vary across RIGE calls as they are aimed at supporting different types of projects. Most calls range from £1k to £10k, however I&E provide some opportunities up to £30k and £100k. Please see the sections below for further details on how much is available for each call.

Global Engagement 

Global Engagement funding schemes support UCL staff from all disciplines and departments to develop collaborations with international partners. The Global Engagement Funds (GEF) small grants call supports UCL staff activity with any global partner, while Strategic Partner Funds support joint projects between UCL staff and colleagues based at UCL's key global partner institutions. See more details below or visit the GE funding page. To discuss which funding scheme is appropriate for your project, and for help with applying, contact UCLglobalengagement@ucl.ac.uk 

Global Engagement Funds (GEF)

Up to £5,000 is available per project to help support UCL staff collaborate with colleagues in any other country around the world. Projects can involve academic, education, enterprise, or policy engagement activity between one or more UCL individuals and a ‘global partner,’ which is one or more colleague(s)/research team(s)/department(s) based at an overseas HEI, research institute or international public/corporate/charitable organisation. Further details can be found on the GEF funding page

Strategic Partner Funds - open between 6-27 October 2023

A number of funding streams are available to support joint projects between academics based at UCL and those based at UCL's key global partner institutions. In most cases, where up to £10k is available per project, UCL and its relevant partner will contribute matched funds meaning larger overall pots of funding are available. For more information and to apply, please visit the UCL Global Engagement website.


Grand Challenges

UCL Grand Challenges funding supports cross-disciplinary collaborations that address societal problems. Through strategic funding and 'seed corn' funding opportunities, support is available for novel ideas, collaborations, and activities that support community building, societal impacts, and engagement beyond UCL. For more details about each of these calls, visit the Grand Challenges funding page. To discuss which funding scheme is appropriate for your project, and for help with applying contact grand-challenges@ucl.ac.uk

Small Grants

Up to £5,000 is available for research-informed, societally relevant, cross-disciplinary/cross-boundary activities. This scheme is now closed. Find out more here

Doctoral Students Small Grants

The call for Grand Challenges Doctoral Students’ small grant proposals, for awards of up to £2,500 is now closed. Find out more here

Innovation & Enterprise

Innovation and enterprise funding is used to support projects from all disciplines and departments to exchange expertise and accelerate the impact of research, by building links with industry, public sector services and the wider public. Whether you want to arrange a secondment, test an idea, set up a partnership, or kick-start a business, your journey begins here. To discuss which funding scheme is appropriate for your project, and for help with applying contact knowledge.exchange@ucl.ac.uk

Applying Research in Industry

Work with an industry partner to move your research towards use or commercialisation. Apply for up to £100,000 Discovery-to-use funding for projects linked to EPSRC-funded research. Applications open between 22 January and 16 February 2024.

Early Stage Commercialisation

Test, de-risk or show the potential of your commercial idea. Apply for up to £30,000. Applications are open between 22 January and 16 February. Find out more here. 

Knowledge Exchange Initiatives

Exchange ideas and experience with people outside academia for the benefit society or the economy. Apply for £5,000 if you are seeking to explore the potential of collaborative work with non-academic partners. Awards of up to £20,000 are also available for projects seeking to realise the impact of research, or to enable knowledge exchange with external collaborators. Applications are open between 22 January and 16 February. Find out more here. 

Innovation Networks

Establish an innovation network to engage with multiple external stakeholders, nurture partnerships, and form an interdisciplinary community. Apply for up to £30,000. Applications are open between 22 January and 16 February. Find out more here. 

Outward Secondments 

Put your research into practice outside the academic sector with a secondment. Apply for up to £20,000 for projects linked to EPSRC-funded research. Applications are open between 22 January and 16 February. Find out more here. 

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

We can help you apply for funding to collaborate with a business on a complex strategic project through the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. Find out more here. 

EPSRC doctoral student internship support and impact projects

Access funding for an internship with a non-academic organisation or, if you've completed your doctoral studies, a short post at UCL to engage in impact-focused activities. Open to UCL-registered doctoral students who have been funded by the EPSRC or BBSRC. Apply for up to £7,000. Applications are open between 22 January and 16 February. Find out more here.  


UCL SDGs Initiative

The UCL SDGs Initiative was established to maximise the university’s impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across its teaching, research, operations and student extra-curricular activities. To discuss which funding scheme is appropriate for your project, and for help with applying contact s.knowles@ucl.ac.uk

SDGs: Pathways to Achievement - dates TBC

Run in partnership with UCL Grand Challenges and UCL Global Engagement, awards of up to £10,000 are available to staff and students for collaborative activities that help to address the UN SDGs. Find out more here

UCLB

UCL Business (UCLB) offers a range of support to UCL researchers to develop and commercialise their technology. Funding is available through a number of initiatives, and their experienced business managers can advise on the best routes to opportunity and how to apply.  For more information, visit the UCLB website.

Commercial Proof of Concept (POC) Funding

Funds to support the pre-commercial evaluation and development of UCL IP or technologies that have commercial promise but do not meet the investment criteria of the UCL Technology Fund or Apollo Therapeutics.

Awards will be up to a maximum of £75k with projects typically having a 6-9 month timeline.

Social Ventures Proof of Concept (POC) Fund

The Social Ventures POC Fund provides funding and support for UCL researchers who want to commercialise their research for societal benefit. Focus areas include new learning approaches using technology, resources to improve wellbeing, management of long-term conditions, social issues that can be addressed by artificial intelligence and data, security and crime science, and online access to services for underserved populations. It offers:

Up to £20,000 in funding for emerging social ventures arising from UCL research Access to business planning support, and IP advice.

For more information about the Social Ventures POC Fund, contact Ana Lemmo Charnalia.

UCLB Seed Investments

Not every spinout company opportunity is suitable for venture capital investment. Following some successful recent exits, UCLB is now able to make seed investments into promising UCL spinout companies that fall outside of the investment criteria for the UCL Technology Fund.

We anticipate making initial investments of up to £250k alongside external investors such as business angel syndicates and other high net worth individuals.

UCL Technology Fund

The UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF) is an early-stage technology investment fund managed by AlbionVC in collaboration with UCLB. It invests in intellectual property (IP) commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, predominantly in the engineering and life science areas, that have the potential to generate outstanding societal and market impact with resultant financial returns. Three types of opportunity can be supported:

Proof of Concept Projects – Funds to support the pre-commercial evaluation and development of UCL IP or technology. Awards will be up to a maximum of £200k with projects typically having a 6-9 month timeline. Developmental Funding into Therapeutic Licensing Projects – Providing funding of between £500k and £2m to enable UCL project teams to complete pre-clinical work in respect of a promising therapeutic asset. Spinout Companies – Equity investment at Seed and Series A with the potential to invest up to £5m in an opportunity typically via multiple funding rounds.

 


Public Engagement

These funding schemes support projects that advance the practice and culture of public and community engagement within UCL, that are creative, inclusive and enables UCL and external communities to work together to bring about meaningful change and mutual benefit. To discuss which funding scheme is appropriate for your project, and for help with applying contact publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk

Beacon Bursaries - dates TBC

UCL Beacon Bursaries have funded outstanding engagement projects and project teams since 2009. Up to £2,000 is available per project for staff and postgraduate research students who want to connect their research and teaching with people outside UCL. Find out more here.

Train and Engage - dates TBC

Train and Engage is UCL Public Engagement’s flagship training and funding programme for UCL postgraduate research students. This series of sessions is tailored to support UCL postgraduate research students interested in developing and applying their public engagement knowledge and skills. Those who have completed the program can apply for up to £1000 to implement public engagement ideas. Funded projects are supported by the UCL Engagement Team with advice, experience and resources to help as you design, develop, deliver and evaluate your project. This scheme is currently closed. Find out more here.

Public Policy 

Rapid Response Policy Advisory Scheme (EPSRC IAA) - open call, rolling deadline

The scheme awards expert engagement grants to enable the development/delivery of urgent short-term policy work in response to policy demand. Up to £10,000 is available throughout the year to UCL researchers from all subject disciplines. Funding available: up to £10,000. Open call with a rolling deadline. Find out more here.

Policy Dialogues Funding (EPSRC IAA) - open call, rolling deadline

UCL Public Policy offers funding and support for EPSRC projects to organise and deliver 'Policy Dialogues': knowledge transfer activities and events designed to foster engagement between research and policy.  A Policy Dialogue can be a meeting/series of meetings to allow for academics, policy makers, and policy practitioners to come together to discuss current priorities and proposals for future work. These activities are meant to be multidisciplinary, wider than the UCL community, and are not just meant for knowledge transfer but to build communities to share best practice, and built on a current policy need and support by a policy partner. Funding available: up to £5,000. Open call with a rolling deadline. Find out more here


Where possible and time permitting, applications that may be relevant to other schemes will be shared across RIGE to identify the most appropriate source of funding.

Additional funding schemes from RIGE will be added to this page in due course.