Funding to support industry collaboration

Date:
Ian Brotherton

Heriot-Watt has received £1.18m funding allocated to the University to help to build on the University's already strong links with business and industry.

The funding, which has been provided by EPSRC under their Impact Acceleration Account programme, is part of a £60m funding package announced made by Business Secretary Vince Cable and designed to help support universities’ best scientists and engineers to deliver greater collaboration with industry, bridge the gap between the lab and the marketplace, and help them become better entrepreneurs.

Impact Acceleration is designed to support the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition, the ‘Valley of death’ between a research idea and developing it to a stage where a company or venture capitalist might be interested. It will also allow universities to fund secondments for scientists and engineers to spend time in a business environment: improving their knowledge and skills and returning to the lab with a better understanding of the way companies operate and the challenges they face.

We are delighted to have received this funding which will be used to help support those trying to increase the Impact of their research

Alan Miller, Deputy Principal (Research & Knowledge Transfer)

Alan Miller, Deputy Principal (Research & Knowledge Transfer) at Heriot-Watt, said, "We are delighted to have received this funding which will be used to help support those trying to increase the Impact of their research.

"The funding will be allocated on a competitive basis to tie in with the University's key strategic aims and builds on our £6.5m working with industry project which has, over the last three years, transfered knowledge and expertise to Scottish businesses, benefited the wider economy and fostered partnerships as well as creating 300 private sector jobs and supporting the development of 17 new companies through the Converge Challenge competition, run by the University."

Launching the fund, which will provide a total of £60m to 31 universities across the UK, the Business Secretary said, “The UK's scientists are some of the most innovative and creative people in the world, but they need support to take their best ideas through to market. This could be by establishing a successful, technology-driven SME like Space Syntax which I visited today.

“This investment I'm announcing today will help our leading universities become centres of innovation and entrepreneurship, generating commercial success to fuel growth.”

Heriot-Watt Impact Acceleration Account Programme

The Heriot-Watt Impact Acceleration Account has a number of strands where funds can be won competitively. These are:

  • Mobility and secondments – we will support secondment to and from industry and mobility between academic laboratories. The grants will be allocated on a competitive basis. We expect successful proposals to clearly state the potential impact of the secondment.
  • Proof of Concept & Demonstrators – we will support early stage road-mapping and initial IP and Market research as well as the construction of demonstrators. It is expected that projects will be relatively early stage and lead to applications for further development funds such as Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept, intellectual property that could lead to licenses, spin-out company formation or joint development programmes with industry. The grants will be allocated on a competitive basis.
  • Enterprise Engagement – this is a 'seed' fund that aims to stimulate relationships with external organisations leading to longer term strategic relationships. Creativity will be encouraged to bridge between disciplines to develop radically new concepts and ideas. It is hoped that projects will lead to bids to other funding schemes such as KTP, TSB, EU etc.
  • Pubic Engagement and Events – this is a fund designed to support the organisation, attendance or participation in events where the Heriot-Watt contribution is likely to be impactful or lead to impact, i.e. participation in high profile public engagement events such as the Edinburgh International Science Festival or taking a stand and giving a presentation at an event such as All-Energy. Funding will be allocated on a competitive basis.

Application process 

The first round of calls for the funding described above is now open. The closing date for applications is Friday 21 December. Further calls will be made throughout the duration of the IAA (dates to be determined). 

For further information and for application forms please contact the IAA Project Manager & Business Development Manager, Dr Ian Brotherston.