HEFCE UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards in partnership with UCL

About the programme

HE Support is a joint initiative from UnLtd and HEFCE to help establish an effective eco-system for the development and growth of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise activity within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England. UCL is one of 56 HEIs to partner with UnLtd and HEFCE on this initiative.

Who we are

At UCL, the initiative will see UCLB, UCL Advances and the Volunteering Services Unit work together with the UCL Knowledge Transfer Champion for Social Enterprise under the umbrella of UCL Enterprise to strengthen the social enterprise culture that is evolving in the institution and provide proof of concept funding and support to both academics and students looking to set up social enterprises.

Award Criteria

Awardees must be:

  • UCL students, academic staff or recent graduates (graduated within 1 year)
  • living in the UK for the duration of the project
  • who are individuals or part of an informal group
  • willing to share lessons with other students/staff at UCL
  • motivated to take this forward in the future

Projects must:

  • be an entrepreneurial solution to a social problem
  • have an understanding of the social need and customer demand for proposed product/service
  • have a plan to become financially sustainable
  • be a new initiative – not an established organisation
  • benefit the public or a community in the UK in part or whole
  • have a clear plan for milestones and deliverables
  • not be for activities outside the law, against UCL’s policies or anything that fosters ethnic, religious or commercial disharmony

Click here for further information about this fund.

Proof of Concept Funds

Proof of concept (PoC) funds can be used to support the pre-commercialisation development of promising technologies emerging from UCL. Every technology requires different strategies to take them to market and the different funds available can be used to generate data to support commercialisation, produce prototype devices or even to undertake pre-clinical activities.

UCL Business PLC (UCLB) has access to a number of funds, each with their own application and approval procedure:

• CBRC (Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre)

A maximum of £50,000 per award can be applied for using the standard UCLB application form. Applications for CBRC funded awards require approval by the CBRC Advisory Board. Not to be used for animal studies.

• HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund)

Applications under £25,000 per award can be applied for using the standard UCLB application form and will be approved internally by UCLB.

Applications exceeding £25,000 will be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Enterprise for approval.

• J&J (Johnson & Johnson)

Awards of up to £75,000 are available on a call by call basis. Preliminary abstracts can be submitted to UCLB and forwarded to J&J. If the abstract is approved the PI will be invited to submit a full application to the UCLB/J&J committee.

• MIMIT (Manchester Integrating Medicine & Innovative Technology)

Open to applications on a case by case call only. Applications can be made to MIMIT using MIMIT application form.

• Moorfields Fund

The Moorfields Fund is open to applications of up to £50,000 for projects relating to ophthalmology.

Applications over £25,000 require external independent approval and signature by Professor Peng Khaw.

• UCLB Fund

A UCLB controlled fund of up to £100,000 per annum. This award is approved and managed internally.

Approval Process

Application forms should be completed by the principal investigator (PI) and UCLB Business Manager (BM) – to find out which BM looks after your department, please check our people page. When the form has been completed the BM will present the application internally.

If it is agreed internally that the application should be progressed, the application will be forwarded for external review if applicable. External review is required for HEIF applications in excess of £100,000, CBRC, J&J, MIMIT and Moorfields funds.

After Approval

Once the application has been approved and signed the PI will receive an award letter outlining the terms of the awards including award value and the milestones on which the award will be funded.

Upon signature of the award letter by the PI, an account will be requested through UCL Finance and the Departmental Administrator for use by the PI for the duration of the project. This account will hold milestone payments and be used for paying costs related to the award.

When milestones are completed the PI is expected to submit a progress report to UCLB in order to review progress and release further tranches of money. This report should also be submitted with more detail upon completion of a project with a balance and transaction report of the PoC account.

Each PoC should be planned against a Fund Return Date, whereby the remaining balance on a PoC account should be returned to the fund if the project remains uncompleted, expired or abandoned – projects which are unlikely to be completed by the original fund return date can be extended by issuing a further PoC award letter.