How is the UCL Technology Fund different to other sources of funding?

The UCL Technology Fund provides funding and commercial support for UCL’s most transformative innovations, focusing predominantly on the physical and life sciences. The Fund is unique among venture capital providers in that, in addition to traditional spinout funding, it can directly support academic labs to progress their projects to improved licensing outcomes with industry partners. It also provides very early stage proof-of-concept funding as a first step towards attracting more significant spinout or ‘licensing’ funding later on. Applications can be made year-round – there are no specific calls – and the decision-making process is transparent and independent, including scientific/peer review and commercial assessment.

How does the Fund work?

The Fund is managed by Albion Capital, one of the largest independent venture investors in the UK, in close collaboration with UCL Business, the College’s technology transfer group, building on their 15-year relationship. Where a project has the potential to be funded, UCLB and Albion will work actively with the relevant academic team to support the application process.

Am I eligible to receive funding from the UCLTF?

Applications are welcome from all Faculties, Departments and Institutes of UCL. Funding can also be provided where a clear link to UCL can be shown, such as collaborations with a UCL researcher. To apply, simply contact your relevant Business Manager at UCLB via their website (www.uclb.com). Projects need to fulfil – or have the potential to fulfil – a set of investment criteria for consideration by the Fund  – www.ucltf.co.uk/criteria-for-funding

What kinds of funding are available?

The Fund supports projects throughout UCL, and has a flexible funding model that can cater for projects at any stage of development, from very early stage proof of concept through to significant funding for spinout companies.

What sort of Proof of Concept funding does the UCL Technology Fund provide?

The Fund can provide up to £100,000 for very early stage pre-commercial evaluation and development of a technology for the purpose of qualifying its potential for commercialisation, normally over a period of up to 12 months. Success of the project can lead to direct follow-on funding from UCLTF to develop the project to the point it can be licensed to a third party, or spun out into a new company.

What is Funding for Licensing?

Many innovative projects can achieve the greatest impact and value through a successful license directly from an academic team to a third party or an industrial partner. Funding for Licensing can help teams gain lower-risk and higher-value licensing outcomes by providing significant financial support (up to £1m) to take a project within the College to a much later stage of development than it might otherwise be able to efficiently achieve. Funds are provided directly to an academic lab or institute, without the need for setting up a company or hiring a management team.

I’d like to set up a spinout company to commercialise my technology. Can the UCL Technology Fund help?

In certain circumstances, it may be better to commercialise a technological innovation by setting up a spinout company rather than by licensing the technology directly to an industrial partner. Typically this would be where there is a capital efficient route to market which takes a strongly differentiated innovation to solve a significant market problem. The UCL Technology Fund can provide seed funding to these spin outs, as well as help provider broader commercial support during the early stages of company formation.

How and when do I apply for funding?

If you think you have a project that fulfils the Fund’s investment criteria (www.ucltf.co.uk/criteria-for-funding), contact your UCLB Business Manager via their website www.uclb.com. There are no specific calls for applications – the process can be initiated at any point in time.

Can I still apply if charitable funding/grant money was used to develop my idea/technology?

Yes. However, it is worth checking the terms and conditions of the existing funder to see if it can be used in conjunction with UCLTF’s investment. A framework agreement can be agreed between the UCLTF and existing funder if needed.

Where does the funding come from?

European Investment Fund, Imperial Innovations, UCLB and Albion Capital.