The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has teamed up with Finance South East (FSE) to create a two-year pilot aimed at improving collaboration between universities and industry.
The Collaboration Fund, which will launch later this month, will provide funding of up to £100,000 to all UK academic institutions that have previously received funding from the EPSRC and who are seeking business partners to commercialise their product ideas.
FSE has previously gained experience in managing proof-of-concept and early stage funds and will assist the EPSRC in allocating the money.
Sally Goodsell, FSE’s chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted to establish this partnership with the EPSRC and to be given the opportunity to extend our fund management expertise nationwide. We have structured this fund with the objectives of the EPSRC in mind and to ensure that the new funding is used to deliver visible economic value to the UK.’
EPSRC’s head of knowledge transfer, Dr John Baird, added: ‘This pioneering initiative combines EPSRC grant funding with FSE’s expertise and will deliver practical support to researchers looking to explore the commercial potential of their work with a collaborative partner.
‘Key benefits will include experienced mentors assigned to each project and access to funding advisors for help with business planning and the structure of a suitable longer-term funding package. We envisage three calls a year that will complement EPSRC’s ongoing Follow-on Fund calls and we anticipate strong interest from a wide range of institutions.’