UCLB, part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise, launches its search for early-stage social ventures to benefit from Proof of Concept funding.
The initiative will aim to support the development and growth of emerging social ventures arising from UCL research. It will provide an opportunity for them to benefit from up to £20,000 in funding, together with access to business planning support, and intellectual property (IP) advice.
As the first technology transfer organisation in the UK to introduce a dedicated business manager for social venture projects, UCLB has an established support system to guide aspiring social entrepreneurs. The introduction of this social venture fund is the next step in growing the services available for researchers who are seeking to commercialise their research for societal benefit.
Applying projects should display potential in delivering tangible and significant benefits to the public and intend to generate income by selling a product and/or a service. For example, UCLB worked alongside Help Digital a UCL spinout arising from research by academics and clinicians led by Professor Elizabeth Murray. The spinout offered structured education and self-management services for people with type 2 diabetes.
Potential project areas of focus for the funding include new learning approaches utilising technology, resources to improve wellbeing, management of long-term conditions, social issues that can be addressed by artificial intelligence and data, security and crime science, and online access to services for underserved populations.
Analia Lemmo Charnalia, Senior Business Manager, UCLB said: “Offering social ventures support to UCL academics has provided an opportunity to make a difference in society with UCL’s world leading research. The introduction of this early-stage funding will allow us to support even more social venture projects in their journeys toward societal impact.”
Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Enterprise) said: “We’re seeing an increasing number of UCL academics from a diverse range of specialities exploring the wider potential of their research and the benefit it can bring to society. At UCL Innovation & Enterprise, we want to provide them with the support they need. This new social venture fund from UCLB will be an important tool in enabling transformative projects alongside UCLB’s established support system for social entrepreneurs.”
Professor Elizabeth Murray, Co-Director of the UCL eHealth Unit and Director of HeLP Digital CIC, said: “UCLB’s input and support was invaluable in the formation of Help Digital. We are delighted to hear that this fund is available and that more people can access social ventures guidance from UCLB.”