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EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account Partnership Development Awards

Pump-priming funding for new research collaborations

EPSRC has made an allocation to the University of Cambridge for the Impact Acceleration Account over a 3 year period. One of the aims of the fund is to establish closer working partnerships with business. The University has therefore elected to use part of the fund for Partnership Development Awards, to pump-prime collaborations with industry partners. The fund is open to research projects within EPSRC remit which will kick-start collaborations with companies who have significant potential to become new business partners for the University.

Typically, the Award will fund an initial project of interest to a new industrial partner, which will create the basis for a larger and longer term collaboration which could attract funding either from the company or other external sources (eg TSB). Evidence of real involvement from the industry partner in the project should be provided in the proposal including estimates of cash or in-kind contributions. Projects with existing company partners, such as spin-outs or companies which have previously sponsored research within the same Department or research group, are unlikely to be supported.

Projects will be short-term (3-6 months) and of up to £50 000 in value. Any costs over £50 000 are expected to be contributed by the industry partner. All projects without exception must be completed by 30 September 2015.

Projects aligned with the Strategic Research Initiatives and Strategic Research Networks are particularly welcomed. A full list of Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks can be found at www.cam.ac.uk/research/research-at-cambridge/strategic-research-initiatives-networks

Application process

This competition is currently closed to new applications. Subject to further funding from EPSRC, the next funding call will be announced in the Easter Term 2015, for projects to start on or after 1st October 2015.

Eligible costs

Please consult with your departmental finance team to obtain an X5 costing for your proposal. 100% of directly incurred or directly allocated staff costs plus the cost of travel, consumables and other costs can all be supported by these funds. Funds cannot be used for patent costs, estate costs, indirect costs or capital items of equipment. PI time and student fees are also ineligible. The total request should be no more than £50 000; individual items of equipment must cost less than £10 000.

The spend on these awards must be completed by 30th September 2015 latest or funds will be returned to EPSRC.

Proposal requirements

Please keep background information to a minimum. The proposal should form no more than 4 sides of A4 text outlining the rationale for the project, which should include:

  • Work-plan for project;
  • Details of resources to be committed by the partner company;
  • The commercial rationale for the company's interest;
  • How the project will create further opportunities for collaboration and external funding;
  • Whether the project aligns with one or more of the Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks;
  • How the project falls within EPSRC remit;
  • X5 reference number


  • 0.5 page justification of resources
  • A letter of support from the company partner confirming their contribution to the project.

An appropriate collaboration agreement covering IP terms between the University and company must be signed before the project begins.

Progress reviews

As a condition of the grant, progress review meetings must be held at the start of the project and then at least every 3 months with your Departmental Knowledge Transfer Facilitator, or equivalent, to monitor project progress and identify any additional support needs.

Any questions regarding the scheme arrangements should be directed to researchstrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk.