Get in touch

For advice on how to access the funding opportunities listed here or to discuss partnering on research with industry, contact your faculty's Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation team. 

Accessing funding to enable your research projects at Imperial is key to ensuring you have the financial support required to progress from an initial idea to impactful innovation.

Whether you’re seeking funding to develop a new technology for licensing opportunities, whether it’s to enhance the work behind a spin-out / startup, or whether it’s to enable you to recruit PhD or Masters students for your research programme, there are numerous funding opportunities that are both publicly-funded from UK or international research organisations, funded through charities and non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), or privately funded through corporations, Venture Capitalists (VCs), or other investment schemes.

At Imperial, we also run a number of internal-focused funding rounds for College-supported schemes and initiatives. These can be found on the Research Office pages.

Whatever funding you’re looking for, and from whichever source, contacting the Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation (IPC) team in the first instance is best practice.

The knowledgeable team is embedded within each of the Faculties at Imperial and can provide important insights and expertise about the best types of funding to apply for, when new funding opportunities are available, and how to manage the application process – as well as supporting ongoing partnership activities that might develop.

The team specialise in supporting the technology transfer and intellectual property (IP) aspects of grant and funding applications, as well as guiding on what are the most suitable opportunities available and how to access them.

Types of funding opportunities

There are a number of typical types of funding, which we’ve outlined below. For more details on when rounds for applications are open from funding bodies, coordinate with the IPC team.

Funding from industry

Funding that comes directly from an external business for a specific piece of research or project is often aimed at addressing specific problems or technical applications within an industry or sector. Your IPC Faculty team are perfectly placed to guide you towards making bids for these opportunities, and have a great track record in supporting both the academic group and the external organisation in achieving their goals.

Matched funding from industry

Industry-academia partnerships are increasingly encouraged by the UK Government, with a number of specific match-funding schemes available. In these schemes, the external company will provide between 33-50% of the funding – which may also be tax-deductible - with the remainder provided by through Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation – see below).

Examples of these types of funding opportunities are Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and Smart Grants (through Innovate UK), and Prosperity Partnerships (backed by other UKRI-councils). Imperial’s IPC team has extensive successful recent experience with supporting these applications.

PhDs and Masters funding

There are many opportunities for industry partners to support funding for PhD and Masters students within research groups and projects at Imperial. From full-time newly-recruited positions through to embedding an employee of the company within the research team at the College to enable even greater application of the insights, these can be mutually beneficial to Imperial, the industry partner and all involved.

Industry fellowships and secondments 

Heading the other way, sometimes the opportunity comes from researchers being embedded in the company’s own R&D teams or other parts of the business. Funding opportunities from a range of sources enable researchers at different stages of their careers to work within an organisation.

Researchers can then apply their knowledge specifically to the challenges faced by the company, and at the same time learning about industry’s biggest problems in order to shape future research opportunities when back at Imperial.

This is often achieved through a KTP or Knowledge Transfer Secondment (KTS).  

Research Council and charitable funding

UK Research and Innovation (UK Government)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the main funder for most university-based research projects in the UK. UKRI pulls together the main research funding councils across the country – including:

Each year, researchers at Imperial secure hundreds of millions of pounds of funding from these councils, with help available from the Research Office and relevant IPC teams to support the application process and ongoing management of successful projects – notably with the tech transfer and IP protection aspects of an application.

Other parts of the UK Government also run specialised research grant schemes. Contact your IPC representative for more information about these.

European Commission funding

Despite Brexit, the UK remains a key player in projects funded by the European Commission, such as the Horizon Europe programme and the European Research Council.

Imperial’s own Research Project Management team are a dedicated in-house resource available to support the ongoing management, admin and reporting of successful projects, while our IPC team can assist with applications for funding and with insights about potential partners for programmes in industry and academia across the continent.

UK-based charities

The UK is home to thousands of charities, many of which fund scientific research into a range of issues, such as air quality and environmental health through to cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among others. Imperial’s world-leading researchers are often sought after as partners in projects and tens of millions of pounds of funding is secured each year via these important organisations.

Non UK-based charities

Imperial is an international university, and we work with partners around the world to tackle the most pressing challenges faced by humanity and the planet in all corners of the globe. The International Office, Research Office and IPC teams regularly work with researchers and international charities in order to support projects that address challenges such as hygiene and water quality, infectious diseases and agriculture, among many others, to improve the lives and living standards of people throughout the world.

Startup and entrepreneur programmes and funding

Imperial College Enterprise Fund

Launched in 2020, the Imperial College Enterprise Fund is an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) managed by Parkwalk Advisors to enable early stage funding for startups from Imperial’s community. 

Since launch, over £3 million has been raised by private individuals and over 10 startups from across Imperial – founded by staff, students and alumni – have received investments of between £150,000-£300,000 from the fund, and achieved additional investment from Angels and VCs with support of the Startups and Investment team in the Enterprise Division.

Imperial-led programmes

At the College we support innovation and innovators both through our policies and processes as well as our programmes. Entrepeneurship development is a key principle in the Imperial Enterprise, and programmes such developed by the Enterprise Lab provide key skills development alongside rigorous feedback and exposure to industry insights and expertise for ideas to be honed, ready to become investable propositions.

The above list is an extensive but not exhaustive overview of the different routes to obtain funding for projects or programmes available for Imperial’s research staff. For more insights and to find out about other opportunities, be sure to contact your relevant IPC Faculty staff member, or contact us via our web form so that we can pass on your request to the best-suited person in our Enterprise team.