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EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account Partnership Development Awards

Pump-priming funding for new research collaborations

The IAA aims to establish closer working partnerships between researchers and business. Partnership Development Awards will pump-prime collaborations with industry partners. The fund is open to research projects within EPSRC remit, and linked to previous EPSRC funded research, 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 (for example Innovate UK). Evidence of real involvement from the industry partner in the project should be provided in the proposal and support letter 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 31 March 2017.

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

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 31 March 2017 latest or funds will be returned to EPSRC.

Application process

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact their departmental Knowledge Transfer Facilitator (KTF) for advice. A list of KTFs is available at www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/rso/iaa/ktf/. If your Department does not have a KTF, please contact researchstrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk with any queries.

Applicants must ensure they are aware of any internal Departmental deadlines for approval by Head of Department before submission.

Expression of Interest Deadline 1st June 2015

Expressions of Interest should be emailed to researchstrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk by the PI with their name and Department, the name of the company partner and a short overview of the proposed project. EoIs are not subject to assessment but are requested for planning purposes.

Full Application Deadline 22nd June 2015

Full proposals should be emailed to researchstrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk

Assessment process

Funding will be awarded on a competitive basis. Applications will be considered by a cross-disciplinary panel of academics with experience in industrial collaboration.

Applications will be considered against the following over-arching criteria

  • Quality of project plan;
  • Potential benefits to all partners;
  • Value added by the IAA funding.

Proposal requirements

All documents should be collated together and submitted as one PDF document.

The proposal should form no more than 4 sides of A4 text outlining the rationale for the project, which should include:

  • Clear list of project tasks and a GANTT chart;
  • Brief overview of the company’s activities;
  • Commercial reason for the company's interest;
  • Details of resources to be committed by the partner company;
  • Relevant track record of the PI;
  • Details of plans for further collaboration with the company after the PDA;
  • Whether the project aligns with one or more of the Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks;
  • How the project falls within EPSRC remit and is linked to previous EPSRC funded research.

Please keep background information to a minimum.


An appropriate collaboration agreement covering IP terms between the University and company must be signed before the project begins. Please contact the Research Operations Office for advice.

As a matter of good practice, any proposed changes to project timescales or scope should be by prior agreement with the company partner.

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.