Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account

EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account

Overview

Impact Accelerator Accounts (IAAs) are block awards made to organisations to speed up impact of research. Newcastle University has won £1.7 million from the EPSRC to spend over three years (March 2017 – March 2020).

The IAA is available to help bridge the gap between the lab and marketplace. They allow research to be communicated, translated and accelerated to users and moved forward.

The EPSRC gives £60 million to 33 universities to bring about impact through the IAAs. The IAA impacts the research landscape. It makes it easier for scientists to develop ideas and collaborate with industry. It speeds up the contribution scientists make towards:

  • new innovation
  • successful businesses
  • economic returns

IAA aims

The Newcastle IAA features a strong collaboration with Durham University. It builds on collaborations such as the EPSRC Angel Alliance and Northern Accelerator. Through the EPSRC-IAA, we aim to:

  • develop new, and strengthen existing, relationships with industrial users of EPSRC research through secondments and collaborative projects
  • provide resource to enable early-stage commercialisation of EPSRC-funded research
  • enhance and develop the culture of impact within the Newcastle research community
  • provide more diverse opportunities for a wider range of participants, e.g. early career researchers
  • improve the outcomes of projects beyond IAA funding
EPSRC logo

Funding streams

The IAA supports four main areas of activity:

It is a prerequisite to the EPSRC-IAA funding that it relates to an EPSRC grant. The funds should be used to advance the findings from that research grant towards impact.

We can give you further guidance on applications.

Contact

For more information or application forms for IAA funding, please contact:

Sarah Warner
Impact Funding Manager
Email: sarah.warner@ncl.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4573

Commercialisation

We offer support for early stage commercialisation. There are two funds available:

Ideas to innovation

This fund is intended to allow for the first steps towards commercialisation. The technology/software/etc is at an early Technology Readiness Level (~TRL3). Types of work funded include:

  • prototyping
  • feasibility studies
  • market assessments
  • making links to key policy makers

Funding is available up to £15,000 (approx. 6 month project). This is an open call

Examples of funded projects:

  • Systems and methods for biofeedback training (Engineering)
  • Proteins, peptides and actives involved in ageing (skin) processes (FMS)
  • Whole journey ship analysis (Maths and Stats)

Innovation to impact

This fund is intended for technologies that have a clear route to market/impact. The technology will have evidence of market demand and requires an industry/policy collaborator.

The technology should have a higher Technology Readiness Level (~TRL7). The output of the project is expected to be a licensable technology, spin out, significant policy change.

Funding is available up to £80,000 (approx. 12 month project). This call is open and will close 1st February 2019.

Examples of funded projects:

  • Development of a non-thermal plasma device to reduce combustion particulate emissions (Engineering)
  • Cost-effective hip implants (FMS)
  • Prototyping an Innovative LNG cryogenic energy recovery system for power generation on LNG vessels and terminals (Engineering)

Contact

For more information or an application form, please contact Sarah Warner: sarah.warner@ncl.ac.uk

A graph showing the different levels of technology readiness.
Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs)
Ideas to Innovation Award Process
Innovation to Impact process

Secondments

We help facilitate short placements and up to six-month secondments for researchers in industry and vice versa. We also provide support for impact fellowships scheme.

Placements for impact

Flexible exchanges are available, from week-long placements up to six-month secondments. Both outward and inward placements are available (researcher into industry, or industry into university).

Funding of up to £25,000 is available. This is an open call.

Example of funded project:

  • Placement into HexisLab to investigate novel cosmetic actives for ageing skin (FMS)

Fellowships for impact

The IAA also supports externally run impact fellowships, for example:

The external fellowships have their own deadlines.

Examples of funded projects:

  • Parliamentary Academic Fellowship: EU and UK funding for research and development
  • Parliamentary Academic Fellowship: Public engagement with science

Contact

For more information or an application form, please contact Sarah Warner: sarah.warner@ncl.ac.uk

Placements for Impact process

Engagement

There are three funding streams supported under strengthening user engagement. These include:

Strategic impact projects

These are projects that involve Newcastle University’s strategy partners or are of strategic importance to the university. Our strategic partners include Northumbria Water, Siemens, P&G and GlaxoSmithKline.

Projects are in areas of strategic importance to the university, including:

  • Energy
  • Data
  • Smart Cities
  • Ageing
  • Culture and Creative Arts

There is up to £90,000 per project available for one to two projects per year. This in an open call.

Example of funded project:

  • Comparison of DDHS bioreactors with alternate technologies for decentralised waste treatment commercialisations in SE Asia (with Northumbrian Water Ltd)

Collaborative impact event (capacity building)

We can provide funding for events that involve other RCUK impact acceleration accounts, e.g. MRC Confidence in Concept, ESRC-IAA or funding for events involving Durham University researchers.

Example of funded project:

  • Global Challenges workshop and sand-pit

Building relationships (engaging industry)

Funds are available to allows researchers to engage with commercial partners/policy makers. This include funding for:

  • travel
  • meetings
  • events with industry, e.g. sandpits and hackathons
  • attending commercial events such as industry conferences

Example of funded project:

  • Travel to policy makers to advise on antimicrobial resistance.
  • Event: ‘The Future of Prosthetics: A User Perspective’

All three schemes are open calls and can be applied for at any time.

Contact

For more information or an application form, please contact Sarah Warner: sarah.warner@ncl.ac.uk

Strategic Impact Award process

Development

We provide culture and capability development for Early Career Researchers, in the form of our ACTION for Impact training programme.

Researcher to innovator

ACTION for Impact is open to postgraduate and early career researchers who receive funding from EPSRC or ESRC.

The purpose of the training course is to:

  • develop the delegates’ entrepreneurial abilities
  • make them think about problems and challenges they address with their research (and beyond)
  • help them realise the commercial, economic and societal impact of their research

Innovation in practice

After training, delegates will have access to mentoring from the Careers Service and advice from Business Development Managers to develop an Impact Project proposal pitch or to consider their next steps.

They will then have opportunity to present their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel. This is in a bid for a personal impact project, which will help to embed the skills acquired on the course.

Personal impact projects could include:

  • spending time in an organisation/industry
  • conducting market research for an idea
  • working with the enterprise team to explore a new commercial or social project or enterprise

Course structure

Further details about the course structure are available.

More information

Training courses will be run in April and July 2019.

ACTION for Impact training at Slaley Hall
ACTION for Impact at Centre for Life

Alternatively, fill out our form to express an interest in the July course.

Applications

We provide you with information on your eligibility, the process and assessment for gaining IAA help and tips to help you succeed with your application.

Application guidance

Eligibility

The proposed project must stem from research originally funded by EPSRC. Only Newcastle University staff are eligible to apply for IAA funding.

The IAA will fund:

  • staff time for Newcastle University staff
  • consumables
  • equipment costs (must be under £10k including VAT and must be essential for the project)

The IAA will not fund:

  • ‘blue-sky’ research
  • patent costs
  • consultancy
  • contract research
  • trips to academic conferences
  • activities that should be funded by other mechanisms 

Assessment

Applications will be assessed on a range of criteria, including:

  • potential reach and impact of the project
  • value for money of proposal
  • clarity of proposed plans
  • understanding of steps needed to achieve longer-term outcomes and impact
  • evidence of support from external partners
  • evidence of demand from potential users/stakeholders

Application tips

IAA applications are shorter than full applications, but don’t forget the important information.

  • Who do you intend to benefit? What is the benefit?
  • What are the next steps after the IAA project?
  • Write for a scientific but non-expert audience.
  • Concentrate on the exciting bits of the research.
  • An EPSRC representative sits on the panel. Make sure the quality of the application is good enough to be read by external panel members. 

Application process

  1. Application forms should be requested from the IAA manager.
  2. The IAA manager can consult with the PI on the application prior to submitting.
  3. A business development manager may need to be involved in the application process, especially if there are collaborating companies and potential issues with intellectual property.
  4. The application review process is different for the different funds but should take around two to four weeks for the outcome.

Contact

For more information or an application form, please contact Sarah Warner: sarah.warner@ncl.ac.uk