EPSRC IAA Strategic Investments Call

The University of Glasgow’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) is pleased to announce the launch of new IAA initiative – strategic project investments. This scheme is designed to provide targeted support to a PI or research group who are developing a portfolio of research outputs and outcomes towards larger scale impact. It aims to accelerate the pace with which strategic innovation projects are developed into investable propositions. Proposals to this call should focus on identifying and developing high-impact, flexible and highly innovative or creative project concepts. It should enhance the chances of excellent research having material and far-reaching impact, typically through attracting substantial external funding, or significantly advancing research translation and commercialisation. 

Projects should contribute to one or more of the four core strategic objectives of the IAA:

  • Commercialisation and entrepreneurship - to increase the economic impact of EPSRC research through strategic investments in innovative technology development, licensing and new venture creation, while at the same time developing entrepreneurial individuals.
  • Partnership development and business engagement - to increase the volume and depth of our industry, government and third sector partnerships. By utilising the opportunity afforded by IAA harmonisation and our increased EPSRC allocation, we will lead the University in creating more and wider cross-disciplinary impact activities to create more partnerships including in new sectors. We will hence stimulate a pipeline of new impact opportunities, particularly supporting new career development pathways for our PGRs and PDRAs.
  • Staff mobility - enabling a two-way, dynamic flow of researchers between academia and external partner organisations through project placements, co-location, and secondments.
  • Capacity building, culture change and engagement - to progress an evolution of a KE culture that embeds responsible innovation and sustainability, and safeguards equality, diversity, and inclusion by lowering the barriers to innovation and engagement and by upskilling researchers in impact creation.

 

What is available?

Through this initiative we are inviting proposals for IAA projects of up to £100,000 in value. A total fund of £300,000 is available. Projects can be up to two years in duration and must be complete no later than 31 March 2025. Please refer to the standard EPSRC IAA guidelines and eligibility requirements when preparing your proposal.

 

What are we looking for?

We are looking to fund a small number of projects that have the potential to lead to significant impact.

As with standard IAA projects, this call will not fund research – projects must involve the translation of research outcomes towards impact. However, due to the increased funding available, we expect that projects should be of a greater scope and scale than the standard IAA projects that we fund. Similarly, we expect more significant impact potential, and this should be explained clearly in the proposal. The potential impact could be of one or more types including economic, policy, societal or cultural impact.

This funding could be used to enable a degree of continuity for translational activity in areas which require longer term investment, for example, by providing an extended contract to a key member of staff supporting an impact opportunity, thus increasing the chances of project success.

While we are offering a degree of flexibility in the use of the allocated budget (see below), proposals must define a set of expected project outputs and outcomes that will be achieved by the end of the project. The proposal should also explain how these outcomes will contribute to delivery of impact.

 

Priorities for funding

Priorities include:

  • Strategic partnership investments – for example, a programme of collaborative R&D with a strategic partner or partners.
  • Projects which are designed to nurture and expand an existing external partnership into something more significant through increasing the number of projects or depth of collaboration on existing projects.
  • Projects which can clearly demonstrate that they are driven by and have the potential to serve a significant market need, deliver against a major opportunity, or contribute to addressing a key societal challenge.
  • The commercialisation of university innovation which requires larger, longer-term investment and / or investment in multiple streams of activity – for example, R&D, regulatory compliance, market research, investor engagement.
  • Enabling ‘fast failure’ and developments which involve a high degree of risk but have high reward potential.
  • Enhancing the chances of success in securing significant follow-on funding from external sources.
  • Projects which incorporate staff mobility – both the placement of university staff with external partners and the hosting of staff from partners on site at the university.
  • Projects involving the co-location of partner organisations at the university.
  • Developing a pipeline of projects that are closely aligned to University and Scottish and national priorities.
  • Projects which are designed to influence and affect changes in local, regional, national or transnational policy.
  • A programme of activities which will support larger scale public engagement, culture change or capacity building in a focused area.

Please note: this list is by no means comprehensive and proposals to need not address all these priorities.

 

Guidelines and eligibility criteria

In addition to the usual IAA eligibility criteria proposals to this call must also align with one of the College of Science and Engineering World Class Research themes:

  • A sustainable net zero future
  • Data Science and AI
  • Future Telecoms
  • Healthcare Technology
  • Materials Research
  • Quantum and Nano Technologies
  • Robotics and Autonomous Systems
  • Space.

We expect that applications to this call will build upon the outcomes emerging from a portfolio of research projects. All proposals must explain how they fall within the EPSRC remit. Please refer to EPSRC research areas and priority themes.

It is also strongly advised that applicants discuss their proposal with a relevant member of the EPSRC IAA Team:

 

Project budget flexibility

We do not necessarily expect the use of the budget of strategic IAA investment projects to be entirely defined at the time of application. Project funds can be used to enable the rapid and agile deployment of resources to address an opportunity or overcome obstacles as and when they arise. This could be the use of funds to travel to a company partner at short notice; the deployment of a researcher on a short piece work related to impact generation; or the purchase of consumables and / or small equipment to enable the construction of a prototype; etc. All use of funds awarded under this call must comply with the standard IAA eligible costs guidance.

 

Partner contributions

Cash contributions and tangible in-kind contributions from external partners are strongly encouraged and will be considered when assessing proposals.

 

Letters of support

Letters of support from partners detailing commitment to the project and specific reasons for support are also strongly encouraged.

 

Proposal submission

The deadline for submission of proposals to this call is 7 March 2023. Applicants should use the EPSRC IAA 2022-25 Strategic Investment Call Application form. Completed applications should be sent to Cose-IAA@glasgow.ac.uk.