Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click on 'Find out more' to see our Cookie statement.

The University has been awarded more than £7 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which supports the ‘best, brightest and most disruptive ideas’ from UK research institutions, including funding for engineering and physical science innovation.

UK Research and Innovation logo

Today’s announcement means the University has been awarded the largest amount of IAA funding in the UK, to jumpstart knowledge exchange, translation and commercialisation of research across all disciplines.

The award includes £5,136,458 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) IAA, for the period 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2025, and £150,000 for the same period from the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

A further £100,000 has been awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) IAA to fund one year of ‘pathfinder support’ for research carried out across the MPLS and Medical Sciences Divisions.

The largest, EPSRC portion of the University’s award is a block grant that can be applied across a range of disciplines to support innovative research and commercialisation of new ideas within engineering and physical sciences.

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Vesuvius Chair of Materials, said: ‘We are delighted to receive this funding from across the UKRI research councils. Many thanks to the researchers and professional services staff involved in supporting the applications that have led to this award. 

‘This vital, flexible support across a wide range of disciplines enables our talented people and teams to explore ideas related to pressing societal challenges and exciting technological opportunities. I look forward to following progress as we use these funds to connect research discoveries to prosperity, social and cultural benefits, public policy and public good’.

Commenting on the STFC IAA portion of the award, Philip Burrows, Professor of Physics, added: “The STFC IAA funding will allow us, in Oxford Physics, to develop our portfolio of innovation projects, leverage impact across research council IAAs in key multi-disciplinary areas, and achieve much greater ‘bang for buck’.

“The three-year horizon is particularly welcome as it allows us to pump-prime the pipeline with early-TRL [technology readiness level] activities that will naturally lead to projects with the potential for huge societal impact and economic return”.

IAA success stories from MPLS

Now in its tenth year, the UKRI IAA programme has provided early-stage support to Oxford start-ups that are now established global businesses, including two spin-outs from the Department of Engineering Science.

Oxbotica

At the Oxford Robotics Institute, part of the Department of Engineering Science, the IAA has supported partnerships and trials of new technologies with industrial partners. The IAA was vital in developing prototypes and utilising key technologies which led to the commercial success of Oxbotica. This spin-out now employs 170 staff and has a turnover of £20 million.

The IAA enabled the team to explore diverse uses for its technology and facilitated its engagement with the UK Space Agency, which resulted in its code being licensed for the EXOMARS project.

OxVent

In March 2020, the Government announced the Ventilator Challenge, a call-to-arms to meet the upsurge in demand for ventilators caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-disciplinary team from King's College London and University of Oxford harnessed IAA funding to prototype, test, and up-scale a design for a simple, safe, and low-cost ventilator in rapid time. By June, the new ventilator, the OxVent, was selected as one of 16 out of 5,000 bids to join the challenge.

From there, the team worked closely with Smith & Nephew Plc who shared their expertise on medical device manufacture to help bring the OxVent to regulatory and production readiness. This team has now founded OxVent Ltd., a social enterprise to help developing countries meet ventilator demands during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Find out more about innovative research and spin-outs from MPLS departments by exploring our research impact case-studies.

Find out more about today’s UKRI IAA announcement

Similar stories

Next generation of innovators recognised at inaugural Jamie Ferguson Chemistry Innovation Awards

Oxford Chemistry students with innovative, game-changing ideas have been highlighted at the inaugural Jamie Ferguson Chemistry Innovation Awards ('The Jamies'), a new annual awards scheme co-developed by the Department of Chemistry and Oxford University Innovation (OUI) in honour of the late Dr Jamie Ferguson.

MPLS Teaching Award 2022 Winners announced

Congratulations to the eight staff in MPLS departments who have recently been given divisional awards for teaching excellence. The MPLS Divisional Teaching Award Scheme celebrates success, and recognises and rewards excellence in innovative teaching.

Researchers develop world's first ultra-fast photonic computing processor, using polarisation

The innovative technique, developed in the Department of Materials, uses multiple polarisation channels to carry out parallel processing – enhancing computing density by several orders over conventional electronic chips.

MPLS Professor Laurence Brassart and physicist Dr Archie Bott among 84 scientists awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships

The Fellowships were announced by Science Minister George Freeman this morning, to help the UK’s most promising science and research leaders to tackle major global issues and commercialise their innovations within the UK.

MPLS student Hannah Rana, who recently completed a DPhil in Engineering, selected for Schmidt Science Fellowship

Hannah is one of 29 Schmidt Science Fellows selected this year to receive support for up to two years from Schmidt Futures, working in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, to help advance interdisciplinary research and innovation around major challenges facing humanity.

Museum of Natural History to showcase Science Together community-researcher collaborations

The 'Explore Science Together' event takes place at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on Tuesday 7 June.