Impact Acceleration Account (IAA)
Over £275,000 was awarded to Lancaster University researchers through the 3rd IAA Call to engage with external partners and accelerate the impact of their activities.
Both seed funding to develop early stage ideas and larger co-funded projects designed to turn research outputs into full commercial propositions were awarded.
The 3rd Call was run in conjunction with two Collaborative Impact events, focussed on thematic areas Eco-Innovation/Energy and ICT/Cyber Security. These were designed to be smaller and more specific events than the previous ImaginationLab. Lancaster researchers and industry were invited and given the opportunity to generate IAA project ideas both through existing and more excitingly, new collaborations. 30 awards were made, with half of these in conjunction with local SMEs, reflecting the university's track record of engagement in this area.
An overview of the Impact Acceleration Account
The university has been awarded £600,000 from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to fund a range of activities designed to promote impact from research areas that fall within their remit.
Impact is described as "the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy" and the Lancaster Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding will be used to:
- Address barriers in university/SME collaboration
- Use novel approaches to develop proposals to exploit EPSRC funded research
- Enhance the capacity of targeted SMEs to take up outcomes from EPSRC funded research
- Provide SMEs access to research infrastructure
- Provide flexible support measures for accelerating impact
- Evaluate and develop models to enhance impact of EPSRC funded research on SME Sector
The IAA award will run for 3 years from October 2012.
The IAA has supported nearly 70 projects using close to £540,000 worth of funding. Projects run across a number of departments and full details of what has been funded are available in the summary document.
All awards have been approved by the IAA Executive Board who met in October 2013 to agree on progress to date, ways forward and contractual arrangements regarding co-funding applications. Read more about governance, evaluation and the executive board.
There will be more calls for IAA funding throughout 2014 and researchers are advised to watch for communications through the regular channels. It is expected there will be calls specifically for those researchers who have already received IAA funding and calls for those who have not applied previously.
Main proposal outlines
The IAA account is focussed around three different types of industrial engagement as detailed below
Stage 1 - Cultural change in academic and industry staff
Day long secondments between University and Industry staff will enable them to appreciate each other's environment and provide a greater understanding of the context of each other's work. Funding will be available to cover travel costs (up to £100) of each exchange and anyone wishing to avail of funding will be expected to participate in workshops designed to share experiences and lessons learned.
Stage 2 - Co-design of innovative early -stage ideas to explore potential opportunities for impact
Seed funding of up to £5000 will be available to explore opportunities for academic and industry colleagues to collaborate on the exploitation of EPSRC funded research outcomes. This funding will be available throughout the duration of the IAA in addition to targeted events designed to facilitate university and industry idea generation and collaborative working.
Stage 3 - Support for the early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition
For those collaborations with evidenced potential, flexible support will be provided to enable the outcomes of EPSRC research to be developed into a full commercial proposition. There are five mechanisms to do this with support from £5k to £20k.
- Post-Doctoral Impact Fellowships
- Post-Graduate Impact Fellowships
- Technology Access Vouchers
- Business Incubation & Investment
- Rapid Response Fund
If you are a company and would like to know more about these schemes and how to work with Lancaster University researchers then please follow the link below.
The IAA follows on from the previous EPSRC Pathways to Impact funding which encouraged EPSRC grant holders to develop innovative proposals for taking forward knowledge transfer and impact activities from their EPSRC funded research.
Dr Mark Rushforth
Head of Business Partnerships and Enterprise: Physical Sciences
+44 (0)1524 594 298
"The funding allows organisations to explore a new working relationship with our researchers, gain access to expertise and facilities, and develop new products and processes that will open up new markets for businesses and facilitate economic growth. I've been impressed with the scope of the projects so far and I'm really excited to see what develops."
Dr Mark Rushforth
Head of Business Partnerships and Enterprise