• £118 Million to Jumpstart Knowledge Exchange
    Dame Ottoline Leyser CEO of UKRI and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge (Credit: Sainsbury Laboratory)

News & Views

£118 Million to Jumpstart Knowledge Exchange

Jun 28 2022

Funding of £118 million has been made available by UKRI in the latest round of Impact Accelerated Accounts (IAAs) to translate research across 64 universities and research organisations. Now in its 10th year, IAA scheme provides early-stage support for promising research to break into commercial fields.

Previous IAA success stories have included include autonomous vehicle software leader Oxbotica, spun out of University of Oxford research in 2014; and the leading haptics and hand-tracking firm Ultraleap whose founder and CEO Dr Tom Carter commercialised his PhD research at the University of Bristol.

The company, that pioneers touchless digital interaction, now has teams of more than 150 people across its Bristol and California locations and is working with major brands including PepsiCo.

“Academic research and the priorities of start-up investors are different. To create a spin out company you need to bridge the gap between the two.Impact Acceleration Account funding allowed us to figure out our target market and build a business plan to complement the technology,” Tom Carter said.

UKRI Director of Commercialisation Tony Soteriou, commented: “The UK is home to some of the brightest, most innovative and creative research teams in the world. They have the ideas and they have the entrepreneurial energy to create businesses and services that could turn sectors on their head.

“What they need, what every great commercial idea needs, is support in the critical early stages. The Impact Acceleration Account is the catalyst that allows projects to grow to the next level, attracting investment, forging partnerships and creating jobs.

“The breadth of UKRI allows us to work right across the UK’s world-class research and innovation system to ensure it builds a green future, secures better health, ageing and wellbeing, tackles infections, and builds a secure and resilient world.”

Extending over three years funding enables researchers to focus on maximising impact, knowledge exchange, translation, and commercialisation potential within research organisations.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “Research and innovation has the potential to improve people’s lives and livelihoods, rejuvenating communities across the UK and tackling global challenges and it is imperative that we harness that potential.

“The path between discovery and impact is not simple and so it is vital that we provide flexible support that allows talented people and teams, and world-class institutions to connect discovery to prosperity and public good.

“Our impact acceleration funding has a fantastic track-record in providing support that helps brilliant ideas become realities that make a real difference. The new IAA offers a UKRI-wide simplified model with a single application with centralised reporting and monitoring that aims to improve strategic planning.”

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