EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account
EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding provides support for activities that will help to accelerate the impact from research that falls within the EPSRC remit.
Introduction to the EPSRC IAA
In recognition of the often long lead time between research ‘discovery’ (research outcomes) and related impacts, the EPSRC has awarded Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) grants to universities since 2012, including the University of Oxford. The IAA provides support for activities that will reduce that lead time, and help to accelerate the impact (beyond academia) from past, current or future research that falls within EPSRC’s research areas. EPSRC IAA Funding Calls will be announced on a regular basis, usually once each term, until all of the available funding has been allocated.
The University of Oxford’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account is accepting applications for support to the following EPSRC IAA schemes:
Details of the schemes are on the Funding Schemes tab.
Access to IAA support
We particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups. New DPhil graduates and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) are strongly encouraged to apply to the IAA to gain new skills or experience beyond the academic environment, to progress the impact of their research beyond academia, or support partnerships with non-academic organisations, e.g. in industry, healthcare, governmental agencies, local and regional government, other external organisations and groups.
Note: Applicants to the IAA must engage users in their projects. If this is not the case, applicants must contact the IAA (firstname.lastname@example.org) to explain reasons for this before submitting an application, as the review of the application will not proceed without this.
Applicants must include a letter of support from their user(s)/non-academic partner(s) with their application; this will minimise time delays between the funding decision and project start. The letter should clearly detail that what the partner will contribute to the project is in line with the information provided in the application. The letter should be on proper letterhead and signed.
Informal enquiries are welcome from applicants – email email@example.com
IAA staff are happy to review and provide feedback on draft applications prior to final submission. Please submit feedback requests to firstname.lastname@example.org up to 3 days before the application deadline. Late feedback requests may be considered subject to staff availability, urgency and need.
Whether you have applied to the IAA before, or this is your first application, please ensure you go through the checklist.
Additional Information on IAA
Call open: 30th November 2023
Application deadline: 4pm on Thursday, 8th February 2024
Partnerships Fund Panel meeting: 18th March 2024
Technology Fund Panel meeting: 14th March 2024
Project starts on or after 1st April 2024
* Please note the Doctoral Impact Scheme and Impact Workshops have a rolling deadline.
EPSRC IAA Funding Schemes
1. Technology Fund
Technology fund supports (i) Technology Development Grants, to develop new technologies to the point where they are suitable for follow on support from other sources (e.g. Oxford University Innovation (OUI) translational funding) or for commercial exploitation (e.g. capital investment for spinning out, licensing deals etc.), and (ii) Impact Delivery Grants to transfer knowledge, whose take-up will provide benefits to users but will not necessarily generate a financial return to the University (e.g. applications for NHS and other public bodies, NGOs, etc.). Impact/Technology Fund Grants are typically six to twelve months in duration and around £75-100k in value.
(i) Technology Development Grants
There is often a gap between the end of EPSRC research grant support and the point at which a technology is sufficiently robust (de-risked) to qualify for OUI translational funding, to attract capital investment for spinning out, or to license the technology to interested commercial entities. IAA Technology Development Grants are intended to bridge that gap.
Projects must be linked to the development or refinement of existing research outputs. Activities that may be supported include, but are not limited to:
- Proof of concept studies;
- Prototyping or demonstrators;
- Scale-up testing and development work;
- Generation of additional data to demonstrate the credibility of a technology (but not further research into the development of that technology);
- Access to resources or proprietary IP from an industry partner without the need to compromise ownership or control over University IP.
Existing research outputs are likely to be characterised by a high degree of uncertainty or risk but the aim of any proposed IAA project should be to de-risk the technology and advance it closer to the point where it is suitable for support from other sources and/or commercial exploitation. Technology that is advanced enough to seek support from OUI translational funding will not be supported. Projects must have a clear impact plan or ‘roadmap’ and the relevance of the proposed IAA-funded work within that roadmap should be explained: projects should address specific questions or explore identified issues, and applicants should have a broad sense of what the next steps might be if this stage is successful. Purely speculative projects are unlikely to be supported.
For platform technologies that have numerous potential applications, applicants should seek an external partner (or partners) to provide focus and clarity to the proposed project. If this is not the case, applicants must contact the IAA before submitting an application. Plans beyond the IAA project may involve a broad range of applications, but given the size of grants and length of projects, IAA Technology Development Grant proposals should have a clearly defined focus. Applicants are advised to contact OUI to discuss their technology and the steps required for commercialisation/licensing, before applying for the IAA scheme.
(ii) Impact Delivery Grants
Some research outputs do not lend themselves to impact through direct commercial exploitation, but may have great potential to deliver benefits for third-party users. For example, many software outputs are open source, and therefore fall outside the remit of schemes designed to promote the commercialisation of research outputs. But in their ‘raw’ state, they may not be suitable for take-up by industry or other users: there may be a need for training materials, or for the development of new user interfaces.
Impact delivery grants support projects designed to address specific barriers to impact. Preference will be given to projects where there is a clear market and/or barriers have been identified in consultation with potential users.
2. Partnerships Fund
Partnerships grants accelerate impact through increased engagement of Oxford researchers with end-users of the research in non-academic organisations. We are keen to encourage Early Career Researchers, and encourage applications from under-represented groups to be involved in visits, short secondments, and collaborations through this scheme - this includes post-doctoral researchers and doctoral students (see guidance for details). Partnership projects are typically six to twelve months long and around £30k-£80k in value (or if higher, provide good justification). Calls will be announced on a regular basis until all of the available funding has been allocated.
The IAA Partnerships scheme is designed to be flexible and to promote interaction between Oxford researchers and research users in non-academic organisations (e.g. industry, public sector, third sector, government, etc). The scheme supports activities to build relationships between the University and external partners and promote a culture of innovation.
Partnerships involving part-time working with an external organisation (e.g. one day a week over a period of three, six or twelve months) or full-time secondments are welcomed, depending on the needs of the project. It should be made clear in the application what time will be spent at the external organisation and how the project will be managed when not on-site. A Partnership may also lead to another Technology Fund/Impact Delivery grant application. Please note that graduate students [see note below] are also eligible to be seconded, with the support of their supervisor. Please see the EPSRC IAA Doctoral Impact Scheme below for information on partnership opportunities for recently graduated DPhil students.
Partnerships that may be supported include, but are not limited to:
- Outward: Outward secondment of researchers/academics to establish or strengthen connections with external research users by transferring knowledge or technology from EPSRC-related research.
- Pre-application: Enable PIs to work directly with users or groups to inform the design of an EPSRC research grant proposal, thereby ensuring research questions and/or the format of research outputs are more relevant to users.
- Pre-proof of concept: Enable researchers to work with users or groups to identify key gaps or challenges that need to be addressed to enable further utilisation of EPSRC-related outputs and draw up a plan to tackle them.
- Inward: Inward secondment from industry or other organisations or groups can be supported, although salary costs for non-University staff cannot be requested.
Letters of support from the partner organisation or groups are required at the time of application, although if this is proving to be a challenge you should inform the IAA. However, awards will be conditional on receipt of a satisfactory letter of support which clearly details that what the partner or group will contribute to the project is in line with the information provided in the application.
3. Doctoral Impact Scheme
Doctoral Impact Scheme supports and encourages new DPhil graduates to maximise the impact of their research beyond academia through engagement with non-academic partners in industry, healthcare, governmental agencies, local and regional government, and other external organisations. The project can be six to twelve months in duration and £30k-£60k in value (or if higher, provide good justification).
Eligibility requirement: To be eligible for the Doctoral Impact Fund, it is required that DPhil students will have submitted their thesis. We particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups.
DPhil students are eligible to apply for the scheme if:
- their research is within EPSRC research areas (students do not need to have received EPSRC funding)
- they have passed their Confirmation of Status examination
- they are within 12 months of submission of their thesis
Applications should be led by the supervisor, who must be an employee of the University for the duration of the project, and who will assume responsibility for ensuring that the award is used within the terms of the grant. DPhil secondees can be named as Co-Investigators.
PURPOSE AND USE OF FUNDING
Supervisors will be required to clearly state the benefits for the awardee, and how they will support the awardee during the project. In addition to the supervisor, awardees should identify a ‘project mentor’ who is not the awardee’s line manager or supervisor or PI and is, ideally, external to the University. The role of the mentor is to help extend awardees into areas that are less familiar to them, thus applications should detail what added value the mentor will bring to the awardee. Any potential conflicts of interest (for the supervisor, the project mentor and for the DPhil student) must be declared and a satisfactory management plan detailed in the application.
Awards can comprise up to 12 months’ salary (at the first point on the University salary scale 07S, including pension and NI contributions) and direct project support costs. Travel or accommodation costs may also be requested, depending on the location of the non-academic partner. Applications for awards of greater value are permitted, but must include an exceptionally strong and specific justification as to why the project could not be completed within the expected limit.
It is expected that the majority of the project will be spent at the external partner, but that a proportion of the project (e.g. the final 20%) will be spent at the University, writing up a project report and delivering a short webinar or similar, which may be used as exemplar case study material. However, projects that do not fit this schedule will be considered for funding, if such an arrangement can be justified in the application.
Project proposals should be very focussed, with the emphasis on creating impact (beyond academia) from the original DPhil project (or related research). Examples might include: transferring a method developed during the DPhil to an industrial setting, transferring knowledge to support the implementation of software into industry, or supporting a sector/governmental policy change.
Doctoral Impact award holders will be employees of the University, not students, and therefore the affiliated department will need to issue a contract to the candidate once the offer of award is confirmed.
Overseas students are eligible to apply, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. In this event, visa arrangements may need to be considered as employment will be subject at all times to meeting the requirements of the UK Border Agency and the provision of original documentation to establish the right to work and remain in the UK in advance of the start date.
Industry-funded students (e.g. iCASE or fully funded) need to seek confirmation of the intellectual property situation from Research Services, before considering an application.
Please note that this scheme cannot fund additional research. EPSRC-funded DPhil students who are interested in follow-on funding to support academic impact should refer to the EPSRC Doctoral Prize scheme.
4. Impact Workshops
This funding aims to support academics and researchers to coordinate and deliver impact-focussed meetings and workshops. Meetings/workshops should include engagement with non-academics or non-academic organisations (industry, healthcare, government agencies, third-sector organisations, charities, local and regional government, external groups, etc.), and should seek to give rise to further knowledge exchange, translation or partnership activities.
Up to £5,000 per meeting/workshop is available (or if higher, provide good justification). It is advised that the project duration is set at least two months to allow enough to clear the funds.
Please send enquiries by email to email@example.com. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in their approach to this funding stream, and examples of activities that may be supported include:
- Identifying challenge areas with non-academic organisations or groups;
- Activities to develop a Responsible Innovation approach, e.g. support towards broader deliberation, dialogue, engagement and debate in an inclusive way;
- Bringing together academic groups to develop solutions to known external problems, e.g. future calls for ISCF, GCRF, etc.;
- Public Engagement where interaction is key to informing the research impact, such as user or patient engagement as a critical pathway to achieving societal and/or economic impact;
- Visits/meetings to develop new collaborations with non-academics or non-academic organisations.
External Partner Engagement
All IAA projects benefit from engagement with users or external partners as this increases the chance of realising and/or creating impact, and IAA projects always require at least one external partner.
Business Engagement: Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the MPLS Innovation and Business Partnerships team or the MSD Business Development team, for guidance and support that may be needed to identify, engage or select relevant industry partner(s).
Public Engagement: For applications involving public engagement with research, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the MPLS Public Engagement (PE) Team. Projects looking to involve members of the public should contact the PE Team if they wish to seek participatory research guidance.
External partners may be end-users of the technology/knowledge, manufacturing companies, government agencies, or charities and third sector organisations, amongst others. Projects may benefit from involvement with more than one partner, and partner engagement can vary from merely advisory to co-development of outputs, whichever is more beneficial for the project. For example, engaging a manufacturing company to enable development of the technology to take manufacturing processes into consideration, and an end user partner to ensure the technology is what end users need/want; thus, ensuring that thought has been given to the full translational pathway.
Where applicants have chosen not to engage an external partner for their IAA Technology Fund project, applicants must contact the IAA before submitting an application; it should also be made clear in the application why this is an exception, and why there would be no added value from doing so. Where projects do have an external partner, it should be clear why the partner is not paying for the project and what they will contribute.
Where the partner is an existing or prospective spinout, there must be a strong and clear case that the proposed project is a new stream of work and not additional development of the initial technology that was licenced to the spinout. It should also be clear that the spinout is the most appropriate company to support this particular project. A clear statement of how conflict of interest will be managed must be included with your application. Applicants can expect the assessment panels to give additional scrutiny to IAA projects that involve University spinout companies.
Management of intellectual property
Applicants should not refrain from working with external partners solely due to fears around protection of the IP; all the necessary contractual arrangements can and will be put in place to ensure that IP is appropriately protected. This may include confidentiality agreements for pre- and post-application discussions, collaboration agreements or secondment agreements, amongst others. The terms of any IP agreement will take into consideration the funding, the work being carried out by the parties and any relevant background IP introduced, and will always be in line with the University’s approach to IP.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant Technology Transfer Manager at OUI (if applicable) at the earliest possible stage, to discuss the proposed project and the intellectual property management plan.
EPSRC IAA Eligibility
The Committee welcomes applications from Early Career Researchers (ECRs). PIs must be University employees holding a contract of employment and may be hosted by any department of the University. ECRs and Doctoral Graduates should note that researchers requesting costs for their own salary cannot be a Principal Investigator on the application, however they can be a Researcher co-investigator on a project, where they will provide significant intellectual input to grant writing and design, and intend to spend up to 100% of their time working on the proposed IAA project. Current DPhil students cannot be PIs or employed (as students); see guidance below. Researchers holding honorary or visiting positions are not eligible to apply. Applicants should clarify their eligibility with their departments, and departmental approvers are required to check eligibility of their applicants before advancing any applications. If you have a potentially impactful project that falls within EPSRC research areas but does not fit with the schemes detailed in this guidance, please speak to your department’s Research Facilitator in the first instance.
|Pre-proof of concept
|Researcher / PDRA salary **
|Travel & subsistence
|Project support costs
|Outsourcing (e.g. prototyping)
|Bench fees (inward)
|Staff infrastructure charge **
Grants will cover directly incurred / directly allocated costs, but no indirect/estates/capital equipment/PI salary costs.
** For staff employed on Oxford payroll (will not fund salaries of user/partner staff)
IAA grants cannot be used for:
- New fundamental research or to develop tools exclusively for use in further academic research;
- Impact activities that should already have been anticipated and supported through standard routes, e.g. impact activities costed as part of basic research proposals, CDTs.
- Duplication of other sources of funding that can be used more appropriately for the impact activity within remit of Research Council, e.g. CLASP/IPS.
- Direct subsidising of commercial R&D;
- Projects not aligned with EPSRC’s research areas;
- PI salary;
- Undergraduate or postgraduate activities or training, or core PhD training including tuition, bench fees, or bursary;
- Employment of PhD students. However, students may benefit by engaging with the IAA, and can be paid for limited work on a project, provided the department confirms student status has been suspended for duration (regardless of source of studentship support);
- Equipment with a value of £10,000 or more;
- Estate costs or indirect costs;
- Any costs relating to Intellectual Property protection including but not limited to registering, maintaining, or supporting patents or property rights;
- Contributions to KTPs.
Application to the EPSRC IAA
IAA staff are happy to review and provide feedback on draft applications prior to final submission. Please submit your feedback request at least 3 working days in advance of the application deadline to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for EPSRC IAA funding should be made through the online Internal Research Awards Management System (IRAMS) which can be accessed using your Single Sign-On (SSO) details. Once you are logged in, please choose the correct scheme from the list to start your application. If required, IRAMS guidance in the form of quick reference guide (QRG) documents for applicants, departmental approvers and administrators can be found on the Research Support pages.
You can also download the applications forms here:
- Download the EPSRC IAA Technology Fund application form 2024 (Word doc)
- Download the EPSRC IAA Partnerships Fund application form 2024 (Word doc)
- Download the EPSRC IAA Doctoral Impact Scheme application form 2024 (Word doc)
Please note that some departments may have set an earlier internal deadline, so please check with your local research support team and share your application with your department at least 7 working days in advance of the application deadline. Applications must be reviewed online by departmental approvers and, where approved, submitted for review by the assessment panel before the deadline.
If you have a potentially impactful project that falls within EPSRC research areas but does not fit with the IAA Technology Fund or Partnerships scheme, please speak to your department’s Research Facilitator in the first instance.
Submissions that substantially exceed the word limits indicated will not be considered. Applicants should include a letter of support at the time of application, it should be uploaded as part of the case for support template in a single document. Separate documents will not be accepted by email at the time of application.
Please email email@example.com with any enquiries.
Assessment of EPSRC IAA Applications
Funding decisions are made by two multi-disciplinary internal panels with experience of realising impact from research. Applicants are urged to ensure that applications are written with clarity and a non-specialist audience in mind and should be reassured that all applications are assessed in the strictest confidence.
Technology Fund Panel
- Prof Eleanor Stride (Engineering Science) – Chair
- Prof Arzhang Ardavan (Physics)
- Prof Boris Motik (Computer Science)
- Prof Kylie Vincent (Chemistry)
- Prof Sarah Waters (Mathematical Institute)
- Dr Adam Workman (OUI Seed Fund Manager)
Partnership Fund Panel
- Prof Susie Speller (Materials) – Chair
- Prof Felix Leach (Engineering Science)
- Prof Niki Trigoni (Computer Science)
- Prof [To be confirmed]
Where a call has identified priority or highlight areas, preference may be given to projects or activities that address the priority/highlight for this funding, provided they are ranked at a level that is competitive for EPSRC IAA support.
Decisions of the panel are final. Where the panel has declined to fund but made recommendations, applicants may resubmit once only, if the recommendations have been fully addressed. Please note that applications for funding for Doctoral Impact Fund and Impact Workshops/Meetings will be considered by the Partnerships Panel and are subject to a rolling deadline.
Quality assessment criteria (not listed in any priority order)
- Potential size of the impact - could be financial or social
- Risk involved in the project - high risk not necessarily a negative if potential impact is large
- Timescale to impact - will this project reduce the lead time to impact?
- Likelihood of impact
- Clarity of plan to achieve the project aims
- Good value? Impact per £
Privacy Notice: EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account
Our privacy notice tells you what we are doing with your data and how we will keep it safe. We are processing your data for the purposes listed in the privacy notice only because you have given us consent to do so, by completing and submitting your application form. You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In this event, we will stop the processing as soon as we can. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before your withdrawal of consent.
We (the University of Oxford [note 1 below]) take your privacy seriously. This privacy notice tells you what we are doing with your data and how we will keep it safe.
How will we use your data?
We need to process your data for the following purposes, related to the EPSRC IAA Fund: registering your application to the EPSRC IAA, carrying out remit checks or overlaps with other funds managed by the university, reviewing your submission, contacting applicants, announcing and sharing funding outcomes, sharing additional funding opportunities, exhibiting and publicising the project summary (successful applications), and evaluating the IAA project and portfolio.
Applicant data (name, telephone number, and email address) will be processed for peer review, monitoring, evaluation and administration of the project and funding, and in order to contact the successful and unsuccessful applicants, and for dissemination of information about the IAA’s activities and events, for collecting partnership data relevant to business or user engagement, and for collecting feedback for the project evaluation.
Your data (name, department, and project title and lay summary) will be used to identify your IAA project, including on webpages displaying successful IAA-funded applications in the MPLS Division and departments. We may also use your data in publicity or promotional material related to the IAA, including on University websites.
We will contact you separately to ask you to provide information about your age, gender, disability and race to assist us in auditing and evaluating the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account. Providing this information is not a requirement for applying to the IAA. The University’s EPSRC-funded Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) aims to monitor access to IAA funding by Oxford’s academics and researchers. Understanding the diversity of our applicants is an important part of evaluating the access and benefits from IAA’s programme, support and funding.
If you choose to submit details of your age, gender, disability, and/or race or ethnicity, it will be used solely for evaluation of the IAA programme. It will not be shared with the panels assessing and allocating funding of applications or awarding strategic funds – IAA Technology Fund/Partnership Fund panels or the IAA Steering Group, it will not be made public, and it will not be used in our publicity materials. Only aggregated (anonymous), data will be included in the evaluation report and in the IAA’s monitoring and reporting.
We are processing your data for these purposes only because you have given us consent to do so, by completing and submitting your application form, and for Optional Data, by completing and submitting Access Assessment form. You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us at email@example.com, or 01865 282462. In this event, we will stop the processing as soon as we can. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before your withdrawal of consent.
Who has access to your data?
Access to applicant data within the University will be provided to those who need to view it as part of their work in carrying out the purposes described above. Your data may be shared publically as described above, in relation to the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account.
How long will we keep your data?
We will only retain your data for as long as we need it to meet our purposes, including any relating to legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. If you choose to submit details of your age, gender, disability and/or race or ethnicity, we will keep it until the project evaluation is completed, at which point it will be deleted.
How will we keep your data safe?
Your data will be held securely in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures. Further information is available on the University’s Information Security website.
How will we store and use your data?
We store and use your data on University premises, in both a manual and electronic form.
What are your rights?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to put you in control of how your personal information is collected and used. It gives you these rights:
- To see what information we have about you
The right to be informed allows you to ask for full details of the personal information we hold on you.
- To change the information
The right to ask us to correct anything that you think is wrong with the personal information we have on file about you, or if it is incomplete.
- To be forgotten
The right to erasure allows you to ask us to delete your personal information.
- To stop us using the information
The right to object allows you to tell us to stop using your information.
- To change how the information is used
The right to restrict processing allows you to ask us to only use or store your information for certain purposes.
- To move the information
The right to data portability allows you to ask for and download your personal information electronically, so you can move it, copy it or keep it for yourself.
Further information on these rights is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
You can withdraw your consent for the processing or your data at any time by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 01865 282462. In this event, we will stop the processing as soon as we can. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before your withdrawal of consent.
If you wish to ask any questions about our use of your data, or want to exercise any of the rights described above, please contact us at email@example.com, or 01865 282462. Please note that we may keep a record of your communications to help us resolve any issues which you raise.
You can also contact the University’s Data Protection Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
[note 1] The University’s legal title is the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford.