There are many different funding streams available for academics looking to commercialise their research.
Proof of concept funding
Cambridge Enterprise has funding available to provide early stage support for inventions and new concepts for which commercial potential has been identified.
Funding of up to £25,000 is available, and exceptional larger projects may also be supported. For more information on the Proof of Concept funding, please contact a member of the Cambridge Enterprise team.
Early stage funding sources
There are many early stage grants currently available and it is impossible to provide an exhaustive list. The following provides information on some grants, and does not purport to be an exhaustive reference source of early stage funding options. Please select your area of interest from the categories at right, or use the search function to find the type of funding you are looking for.
Cambridge Enterprise has recently issued a call for proposals for projects by University researchers which includes research funded by the Science and Facilities Technology Council. The purpose of the call is to enhance the commercialisation of STFC-funded research.
One of seven UK Research Councils, STFC is the primary funder for Astronomy, Nuclear, Particle and Particle Astrophysics. With the UK Space Agency, the STFC supports Space Exploration. On behalf of the other Research Councils, STFC manages access to large science facilities for UK researchers through our own facilities and international agreements, making available cutting edge machines to provide x-rays, lasers and neutrons. Continuing its international leadership role, the STFC manages the UK subscriptions to major collaborations in its science areas, such as CERN and ESO.
Cambridge Enterprise has invited two types of proposals for up to £25K:
- Proof of concept projects: prototypes and continued development work.
- Market research projects: market assessment and commercial potential studies for new technologies being developed by STFC researchers.
Please contact Gillian Davis of CE (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like further information or support.
The call is now open. The deadline is 18th February 2015.
Any research proposal involving a collaboration with one or more industrial partners (contributing either in cash or in kind) is handled by MRC as a MICA. MICA is not a scheme in itself, but a mechanism to support the establishment of an agreement between academic and industry research partners, which can be applied to the majority of MRC’s funding schemes and calls (to find out if you can apply a MICA to your proposal, please refer to your specific scheme or call). MICA facilitates collaboration as it allows partners to work out and clearly specify arrangements for relative responsibilities, governance, regulatory approvals, indemnity, intellectual property rights, reporting, and access to data and samples before a project starts. In addition, MICAs help to establish that proposed collaboration arrangements are eligible under EU State-Aid regulations for MRC funding.
Through its Long-range Research Initiative, the European Chemical Industry has tendered for research in the following areas:
• Critical review of epidemiological evidence for the potential association between endocrine active chemical and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Award funding: €100,000 over 4-5 months.
• Contribution of dust to human exposure. Award funding: €350,000 over two years.
• Development of an alternative testing strategy for the fish early life-stage test –OECD 210. Award funding: €500,000 over three years.
• Development of an in silico model of dermal absorption. Award funding: €500,000 over three years.
• Development of an integrated approach to predict internal exposure to chemicals. Award funding: €300,000 over two years.
• Foresight study on introduction of new technologies – the case of nanotechnology. Award funding: €150,000 over one year.
• Mechanistic bioaccumulation models for ionogenic organic substances in fish. Award funding: €300,000 over two years.
• Towards more ecologically realistic assessment of chemicals in the environment. Award funding: €500,000 and €700,000 over 3-4 years.
These awards are fixed-price contracts between the Council and the awardee.
Eligibility: Applicants should provide an indication of additional partners and funding opportunities that can be leveraged as part of their proposal.
The BBSRC new pathfinder scheme enables potential follow-on funding applicants to secure small amounts of funding to carry out preliminary commercial activities.
The Brian Mercer Feasibility Awards aim to provide initial support to test the feasibility of a project and enable holders to investigate the technical and economical feasibility of commercialising an aspect of their scientific research, possibly in conjunction with a third party. These awards are designed to promote innovation and are intended to fill the funding gap between the scientific research and the exploitation of the idea through venture capital. The scheme covers the built environment, clean technology, energy and nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Funded by BBSRC and delivered by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Enterprise Fellowships are designed to encourage the development of a new business, building on previously funded BBSRC research, around a technological idea developed by the Fellow (either individually or with others) and within which the Fellow would be expected to play a leading (though not necessarily the leading) role. This award is of particular relevance to individuals and ideas who previously received BBSRC Follow-on Funding (although not exclusively).
A year’s salary to provide time to develop a full business plan and seek investment
Access to mentors, business experts and professional advisors
Business training to help develop the required skills
Academic and research staff and postgraduates with relevant experience are eligible to apply if employed by a:
UK Higher Education Institution (HEI), or
Institutes of BBSRC
Invited applications for applied R&D projects that are close to existing Wellcome Trust interests. For example, these may build on Trust initiatives in basic science, such as genome-wide association studies, healthcare in low- and middle-income countries, or in areas like malaria, typhoid or TB.