Blog

Aprovechar a los investigadores españoles en el extranjero para fomentar la innovación en la industria española.

En estos cuatro años de trabajo en Escocia me han impresionado los programas de Innovate UK y Scottish Enterprise y su papel en una industria farmacéutica y biomédica próspera. En este post escribo mis notas y pensamientos sobre cómo aprender de su experiencia, para proponer una nueva estrategia que promovería la innovación en regiones de baja industrialización, como la mayoría en España.

A la ciencia académica española le cuesta mucho conectar con el tejido industrial del país. Creo que España podría utilizar con un objetivo de interfaz entre universidad y empresa a los muchos laboratorios en el extranjero dirigidos por españoles. Me gustaría ver, con financiación nacional y regional española, un programa similar a las Knowledge Transfer Partnerships de Innovate UK que aproveche a los muchos investigadores españoles en el extranjero para fomentar la innovación en la industria española. El programa ayudaría a las empresas a crecer vinculándolas con un académico español en el extranjero y proporcionando fondos al menos para un graduado, que llevaría a cabo un proyecto de transferencia de conocimiento y conexiones personales de un laboratorio en el extranjero a una empresa española.

No puedo evitar comparar el sistema de ciencia del Reino Unido con el español. Son tan diferentes y en teoría con el mismo objetivo. Cada vez que viajo a casa entro en discusiones sobre porqué la ciencia y la innovación españolas se quedan atrás con respecto a otras economías del primer mundo. El problema es complejo y ha sido estudiado a fondo. Las soluciones son conocidas. Se sabe que la financiación pública es demasiado baja para tener impacto real y que la estructura del sistema a muchos niveles va en contra de la innovación. Varias características alimentan negativamente al sistema español: inversión muy limitada en ciencia básica, poca masa crítica de clusters de industria local, deficiencias estructurales en el reclutamiento y promoción del talento académico, recursos financieros limitados para el emprendimiento, programas gubernamentales que son una pesadilla burocrática. Sorprendentemente, los investigadores españoles parecen ser reclutados con entusiasmo en todo el mundo. El número de investigadores españoles en el extranjero ha aumentado rápidamente en la última década, y existen redes establecidas en muchos países, como esta en el Reino Unido.

La deserción de las instituciones públicas.

Es casi imposible mejorar el rendimiento cuando el presupuesto nacional de I + D público de 2018 reserva solo 2.800 millones de euros para la financiación directa del sistema público de investigación, y el presupuesto total de 7.000 millones de euros se infla enormemente con préstamos para I+D industrial que pocas empresas solicitan. Es esclarecedor y triste comparar estos esfuerzos con los de otros países de la UE. Alemania gastó – no presupuestó, sino que realmente gastó – 26.500 millones de euros en I+D financiados con fondos públicos en 2015, y la industria alemana gastó 61.000 millones. El Reino Unido gastó £ 10.900 millones de libras esterlinas en I+D pública en 2016, su industria 22.100 millones. Desde el punto de vista español, el Reino Unido es, en mi opinión, más comparable y merece un análisis más profundo. El Reino Unido ha logrado favorecer con bastante éxito la I+D industrial en la última década, incluso con un presupuesto público de I+D per cápita no muy alto en comparación con otros países con un PIB similar. Además, España y el Reino Unido tienen solo alrededor del 20% de su PIB proveniente de la actividad industrial, mientras que Alemania tiene cerca del 30%. Desde la crisis de 2008, el Reino Unido ha logrado mantener la proporción de su sector manufacturero e industrial, mientras que España lo ha visto disminuir preocupantemente.

Los Kelpies en Falkirk, al noreste de Glasgow. Un monumento en una nueva extensión del Canal Forth y Clyde “destinado a celebrar el papel del caballo en la industria y la agricultura”.

La crisis económica de 2008 golpeó duramente a España, y sin embargo, ya deberíamos tener un presupuesto más alto para I+D. El último Informe de Competitividad Global 2015-2016 califica a España en el lugar 37 en el pilar de la Innovación, mientras que por PIB per cápita estamos en el lugar 30. Me parece que podríamos mejorar el apoyo al desarrollo basado en ciencia e innovación. A veces no puedo evitar pensar que quienes tienen el poder de tomar decisiones no creen que la innovación pueda fomentar el progreso en España, y en realidad están tratando de ‘gastar’ el menor dinero posible. Creo que muchos funcionarios del gobierno entienden el problema, pero han llegado a la conclusión de que no con los mecanismos actuales no habrán un retorno de la inversión de la innovación o no lo verán a tiempo para que valga la pena. Han visto estrategias que, en teoría deberían generar desarrollo regional, no funcionar en las regiones españolas con baja industrialización o tener un impacto escaso en las regiones españolas más competitivas.

Obviamente no es una propuesta que funcione sola sin una mayor financiación en I+D, pero tal vez para fomentar el desarrollo industrial España podría intentar aprovechar la ventaja de contar con miles de excelentes científicos españoles en muchas de las mejores instituciones de investigación del mundo.

Open access for grants

I just found out about the Open Grants website, built upon a very interesting idea: to share grant proposals openly with the public, with other researchers; to “open up science so that all stages of the process can benefit from better interaction and communication and to provide examples for early career scientists writing grants.”

Sharing a grant proposal with everyone once is funded or rejected should have several advantages, for the individual researcher and specially for the science system. For an early career researcher writing a first fellowship or a team writing a difficult multi partner proposal, the chance to have examples of previously funded proposals in the same program is certainly very valuable. The Open Grants site has a database with about 150 proposals so far, so not in every program or funder around, but I would be curious to see the growth of this if the site starts to be more known.

Open access for scientific papers is a known publishing model that continues to grow because of critical advantages and few disadvantages. Funders could consider extending the model to open access grants, which I think would help improve the quality of the grants submitted, it would work as another channel to help researchers understand the particular needs of the funders and their programs, and it would help disseminate best practices in all aspects of science.

Leveraging Spanish researchers abroad to foster Spanish industry innovation

Over the years I’ve been quite impressed by Innovate UK and Scottish Enterprise programmes, with their role in a thriving pharma and biomedical industry. In this post I am writing down my thoughts about learning from their experience, to propose a new strategy to promote innovation in low industrialisation regions, like most in Spain are.

Because of several interlinked reasons, Spanish academic science struggles to connect with industrial development, and I believe Spain could use the many labs abroad run by spaniards with this goal. With Spanish national and regional R&D funding, I’d like to see a programme based on Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships that leverages the many Spanish researchers abroad to foster Spanish industry innovation. The programme would help companies to grow by linking them with an Spanish academic abroad and by providing funding for a graduate, to carry out a transfer project that can bring the knowledge and connections of the labs abroad into a Spanish company.

I keep comparing the UK system to the Spanish one. Whenever I travel back home I get into discussions about why Spanish science and innovation lag behind other first world economies. The problem is complex and has been studied thoroughly. Solutions are known. It is known that public funding is too low to make a difference and that structure at many levels goes against, instead of for innovation. Several features feed negatively the Spanish system: very limited investment in basic science, not enough critical mass of local industry clusters, structural shortcomings in the recruitment and promotion of academic talent, limited financial resources for entrepreneurship, government programs that are a red tape nightmare. Surprisingly maybe, Spanish researchers seem to be eagerly recruited all around the world. The number of Spanish researchers abroad has gone up quickly in the last decade, and there are stablished networks in many countries, like this one in the UK.

The desertion of public institutions

It’s nearly impossible to improve performance when the national 2018 public R&D budget saves only €2.8 billion for direct funding of the public research system, and the total €7 billion budget is hugely inflated with loans for industrial R&D that few companies ever apply for. It is enlightening and saddening to compare these efforts with those of other EU countries. Germany actually spent – not budgeted or inflated, but spent – €26,5 billion in public funded R&D in 2015, and German industry spent €61 billion. The United Kingdom spent £10,9 billion in public R&D in 2016, their industry £22,1 billion. From the Spanish point of view the UK is I believe more comparable and worth a closer look. The UK has managed to quite successfully leverage industrial R&D in the last decade, even if their public R&D budget per capita is not high compared to other countries with similar GDP. Also, Spain and the UK have both only about 20% of their GDP coming from industrial activity, while Germany has closer to 30%. Since the 2008 crisis the UK has managed to maintain the share of their manufacturing/industrial sector, while Spain has seen it decrease worryingly.

The Kelpies in Falkirk, north-east of Glasgow. A monument in a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal “intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture.”

The 2008 economic crisis hit Spain hard, but we should have a higher budget for R&D nevertheless. The latest Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 rates Spain in the 37th place in the pillar of Innovation, while by GDP per capita we are around 30th. It seems to me that we could do better in supporting science and innovation based development. Sometimes I can’t help but think that those with the power to make decisions don’t believe innovation can foster progress in Spain, and are actually trying to spend as little money as possible. I believe many government officials understand the problem but have concluded that we won’t get enough back from innovation to make it worth anyway. They have seen strategies widely believed to generate regional development failing to work in Spanish regions with low industrialisation and barely making it even in the two or three more competitive regions.

It’s obviously not an idea that would work alone without increased funding in R&D, but maybe to foster industrial development Spain could try to use the advantage of having thousands of excellent Spanish scientists in many of the best research institutions in the world.

Keeping up with new scientific literature

Researchers struggle to read everything that comes out in their field. Not surprising, knowing that almost 2.3 million scientific papers were published in 2016. That is around 6,300 a day!

Researchers often have their own routines to keep up with the most relevant literature, usually checking a few critical journals when new issues are published, following known authors in the field, and using online tools like Google Scholar, ResearchGate or Academia.edu. This post is a quick review of a few easy tricks to set up alerts with Scholar, that can make a reading routine much more efficient. Google Scholar is by now the best known and used search engine for scientific literature.

First thing to do is to set up your Google Scholar profile. Visit the Google Scholar site and log in to your Gmail or Google account. Click in the three parallel lines on the top left to open the menu. Follow the instructions of the account setup. Add your articles, areas of interest and verify your email. Add co-authors as this is helpful later to set up alerts.

Once logged in (to Gmail or your Google account) visit the Google Scholar site, and click in the three parallel lines to open the menu.

Scholar allows to set up citation alerts for your own papers, alerts for your entire body of work in just one click. Whenever one of your articles is cited Scholar will send you an email. Usually a paper that cites one of yours has a high likelihood of being relevant to your research interests. To set up this alert, click on “My  profile” on the left side menu and then click on the “Follow” blue button. Select “New citations to my articles”. Done! In this same window select “Recommended articles” too, and that will set up an alert for Scholar’s own assessment of publications that might be of interest to you. These are based on your own papers and the papers that you have saved in your Scholar library. Build  up these two sources to get more relevant alerts.

Researchers usually know several other researchers that work in the same field and they like to follow, read their papers and listen to their talks in conferences. In Scholar is also possible to set up new article alerts for academics in your field. Just search for their Scholar profile and click on the “follow” button. You can choose to follow their “new articles” and their “new citations”, but for highly cited authors be aware the latter might well flood your inbox.

Finally, particular topics and keywords can also be tracked just running a search in Scholar and clicking on the “create alert” link in the menu. This will send you alerts whenever there is a new result for these particular search terms. Choose your keywords wisely!

Recruiting talent in academia

There seems to be a growing consensus in business management discussions that human capital is now the determiner for success, more than strategic planning or even finance/funds available. This looks to apply very well to scientific research organisations where positions seem to be increasingly difficult to fill in. In this post I explore a few ideas around recruitment of talent in academia.

The reasons for the rising importance of talent in organisations may be worth studying separately, to understand what applies to us, but they are a bit complex to deal with just in a few lines. Summarised: the speed of change in our society has increased, with accelerating scientific discovery, technological innovation, social changes, and other changes that apply only to some sectors or regions. Because of this, successful organisations now appear to be the ones that can make quick decisions and adapt to these unplanned changes, as strategic planning is usually not able by itself to prepare the organisations to keep everything under control and be competitive.

Once we realise how important it is to recruit talented people into our organisations, questions arise about the kind of talent that we need or how we find and attract it.

Imagine a new position is going to be offered in your organisation and the first thing you do is probably to prepare a job description for it. When doing it, reflect on what technical skills are actually critical and which ones can be (quickly) learned on the job. A way to do this is to go over extended lists of questions that can be asked in an academic interview, adapt them to our field and open position, and realise which are the few ones, both technical and non-technical, that we want good answers to. Is a good understanding of our niche field, or the handling of a complex equipment a critical skill? Very probably yes, but exactly why? Thinking about the why may allow us to understand better what is that we more importantly ask from a successful candidate.

Not only technical skills are important. The interview and any other interactions with the candidate is a good chance to screen for the right attitude, values and behavioural skills. These are not the same in all organisations or labs and some positions may require good relationship building skills while others more abilities to work independently for instance. It’s a good idea to use the curriculum of the candidate to learn about character. Use the education and work history to ask about the person as a whole, not only about skills but also about what’s important in their life and how they made decisions. Ask question like “Let’s walk through your time at X”, “let’s talk about your role in project/paper Y”, to find out about accomplishments, transition to one role to another, low points, and what the candidate considers more important in an authentic way (this is called chronological interview).

Build a talent pipeline. It can make a great difference to plan a bit in advance and have our network of contacts active for recruitment. We also should be open to adapt to the conditions of the talent we want to recruit. In academia it happens frequently that the time window to hire is quite narrow and the candidates available not as good as we had imagined. Usually when awards are granted new positions need to be filled quickly.

Recruitment of talent can start early.

But then the postdoc we want in our team is not yet available, or we didn’t have the time to receive enough competitive submissions to the job offer. Maybe it’s worth delaying the hiring process a few months and attract the right people even if it means losing a bit of the award budget. Ideally when a position is opened in our lab we would have already two or three names in our head that we would be happy to recruit.

Marketing for scientists – adapting marketing and sales strategies to the management of science

A young researcher experimenting with basic social media tools

I recently was told to read Leveraging the psychology of the salesperson, what seems to be an important insight into sales strategies widespread today. There it is argued that salespersons are more successful if companies manage them as addicted gamblers that are after the thrill of the sale. This is an ‘archetype’ or type of personality called ‘happy loser’ that finds fails rewarding too, as a reminder of the chance to succeed. It seems that this strategy has been adopted thoroughly and intensely by most corporations in the last decade. It was published by Harvard business review in 2006. I dislike this strategy for several reasons, although I can see how it can work in some scenarios.

Anyway, reading that paper had me thinking if this had any use or could be adapted to the marketing of science, the marketing activity of research groups and companies. This idea or ‘archetypes’, new to me, is interesting. What should be the best way to present ourselves to a new research partner? or to a funding body? Surely others have already thought about it. Exactly, there’s a lot of knowledge out there about adapting marketing and sales strategies that work in classical business management situations to the management of science and innovation, an also based around archetypes. For innovative companies there are plenty of documented models and strategies to choose from but it’s more difficult to say what applies to research teams in academia. The starting point or need is that researchers have to explain their ideas and results to colleagues, partners, and funding bodies, actually spending quite a lot of effort on it over the years, so it makes sense to have at least a basic understanding of what drives this activity and how to improve it.

These below are my ongoing notes and links about sales and marketing concepts applied to science, about relationship building, branding, visibility, storytelling, use of general and social media, and so on:

  • Archetypes and diffentiation. Archetypes help create differentiation in the minds of the audience. Differentiation is very valuable in a crowded situation, like most scientific research fields. This video and this post in Nature by March Kuchner about archetypes and common archetypes in the academic workplace. More about archetypes and their use in the life sciences industry by David Chapin here in  this blog post.
  • Design of figures for papers. Scientist also make decisions driven by emotion. The use of particular types of figures in proposals can impact the chance of success. There are three types of figures that appeal to the right parts of your colleagues’ emotional brains.
  • Structure and storytelling in case studies. Case studies are usually used in teaching and also used as a powerful marketing tool. In this latter case they have to be designed for engagement. If used to promote our lab or company, they can’t have the same structures of peer-reviewed papers that are designed for completeness and accuracy. A good structure for a case study with this goal has seven components. More on the topic by same author here.
  • Social media and digital advertising. A innovative biomedical company and even an academic lab, can and should have a social media strategy, even if simple.  Digital advertising can be paid for maximum impact, but organic (free) activity can also bring results. There are three main types of digital advertising tools: (1) search advertising, which is focused around matching ads to user search queries on search engines like Google, (2) display advertising, which is focused around serving ads on websites, and (3) social advertising (paid and organic), which is advertising on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and others. (1) and (2) are not very important for academic labs, but (3) can be useful. Having curated social media profiles can be useful to reach new audiences, create new opportunities, target specific types of partners, and in general build relationships and networks. This can increase citations for our papers, invitations to join multi-partner proposals, and build a stronger standing in our communities of interest.

What happens after the enterprise fellowship – RSE Enterprise Fellowship

Of the many ways to launch an innovative new company I think an enterprise fellowship is the best suited to new entrepreneurs with little business experience, like often those arising from universities. These fellowships offer a few months of training, good networking action, and fellows are prompted to assess with new eyes the potential of their company even before is totally formed. They are also very good for the local/national economy, as it seems a good fraction of the fellows stay around to grow their companies or bring their new skills to other local companies.

In Scotland there are a at least two programmes of this kind that I know of: the RSE Enterprise Fellowship and the Saltire Fellowship.

How the fellows fare after the fellowship?

In conversations about fellowships, challenges and prizes to support the creation of new innovative companies the question often comes about the past fellows and winners – where are they now?

The RSE programme was established in 1997 and has supported about 240 graduates so far. It has enough history to study how these kind of entrepreneurs continue their careers. I had a quick look at the bits of online information about past fellows that the programme has, and these are the results:

Figure 1: Fellows with vs without company already set up – 77% historical average, higher in the last few years.
Most of the fellows go into the programme with a company already set up (Figure 1). There’s no information available about the stage of development of the companies although it is assumed that most are at very early stages and some are counted even as pre-seed or concept stage companies.

Figure 2: Fellows with company set up before or during the fellowship, by origin of fellowship (Scottish Enterprise, BBSRC and SFTC
There are small differences in the percentage of fellows with a company already set up depending on the origin of their fellowship. BBSRC fellows seem to have a higher historical average than Scottish Enterprise fellows (Figure 2), although in any case a very clear majority of fellows have a company set up. This in theory may help personalise and enhance the learning experience, but obviously there is no information on the base data to conclude this.

Figure 3: Current employment situation of the fellows by year of fellowship.
After the fellowship, there is a slow transfer of fellows from their own start up companies to other companies in the field or to academia and other government related institutions (Figure 3). It is quite remarkable I think, compared to the experience of other entrepreneurs, how many RSE fellows continue to work in their companies after several years, meaning that they remain engaged with the local economy and also that the companies still exist. There is around a 35% chance after as long as 7-8 years that a fellow that had the fellowship with a company set up remains with that company, which is a good rate I think.

Figure 4: Current employment situation of the fellows by origin of fellowship.
Looking at the origin of their fellowship, there are some noticeable differences on the current place of work of the fellows (Figure 4), as the BBSRC fellows seem to transfer noticeably more than the rest into universities and government institutions.

This first glimpse at life after the RSE fellowship it’s quite encouraging for the strength of the programme. There are other complex questions to answer however, that would need maybe to conduct a survey of fellows, of challenges they have encountered and solved, and so on. Every story is certainly different and a learning source on its own, that requires more than a few numbers and graphs to conclude anything more specific about the virtues of the programme and how to make the most of it.

Paper citations in patents as a business development tool

Last March this year Redtransfer organised a meeting for Spanish tech transfer managers in Madrid  where colleagues presented their views and experiences on several topics. Pedro Fernandez‘s talk caught my attention. A new, at least for me, use of patent databases as a tool to get leads for networking and commercialisation strategies.
The idea is to use the capability of some patent search engines to search papers for citations of patents, to check out our own papers, or the papers of a person of interest. When someone cites your paper in a patent you have a good argument to contact them and explore a partnering interest.
I have gone over the papers of the researchers I work with and indeed the tool has brought up a few surprises that are worth checking. The main drawback is that citation of papers in patents is not widespread and many times you will find none or very few leads even for papers that have good scientific impact.
All in all the tool can uncover interesting pieces of information of your research, and albeit with limited success in general, it can be a useful tool for business development and networking of an established research profile.
How to do it

Go to lens.org and choose the “Scholar” search option in the search field. Run a search and find the paper or papers that you would like to check. A search with author names is usually a good way to get several relevant papers in the same search. Then check their linked patent citations for leads!

Talking to investors

Technologies developed in Academia usually follow two paths towards commercialisation: (i) they get licenced to an established company or (ii) they are the basis of a spinout company. In the second case the spinout is usually initially led by the academic researchers, and it becomes critical quickly to recruit management expertise, funding and market knowledge.

We have been figuring out the opportunity to spinout the bone regeneration technologies developed in our labs in Glasgow. We’ve had interactions with a few different professionals working in one way or another in the biomedical market, and we have seen an interesting and valuable side of the conversation when talking with potential investors.

The interaction of investors and the spinout team can be not only about presenting a novel technology and the plans to make it to market. It’s also a chance to learn from them, learn what they know about the target market of the spinout. Most investors are specialised and know well the market they operate. We can then use the information gathered to better adapt ongoing or future R&D plans towards applications with more chances of success.

For instance, in the lab in Glasgow we have discussed with investors our planned bone grafting applications and pre-clinical models and have as a consequence looked into clinical indications where our technologies can make a more significant improvement, compared to current available treatments. Our techs work very well in the animal models that we have carried out so far, but approved clinical products also work well in those models. The comparable clinical outcomes, even with a somewhat cheaper price, may make it difficult for the clinician and health provider to risk a change. In conclusion, we are planning development for indications and relevant pre-clinical models that address bigger challenges in terms of clinical outcomes, indications with available products in the market providing a less satisfactory solution.

As a way to start this kind of conversation the spinout team can ask about the type of products and techs that are getting investment in the field. Companies to look at that we can study to learn what they are doing right? What are the segments in the market, the end-users, that are drawing attention. For instance, in the biomedical field, we can ask about the indications that are of their interest. Our technologies in Glasgow are primarily focused on bone regeneration so we want to learn about the orthopaedic applications that could use our technologies.

We can also ask investors about feedback on our commercialisation strategy, check with them if the business model we have devised is the one that makes more sense in the current market, and discuss the timing of spinout regarding ongoing R&D, especially if there is a big gap and risks between where the technology is at the moment and where it needs to be before it is commercialised. This is particularly relevant in the biomedical field, where regulatory issues are very important and can take a long time and large investments and be unsuccessful nevertheless.

Creativity in programs to foster innovation from Academia

In the past I have been involved in a few small or medium-sized initiatives to fund research or innovation. Policy makers that design these programmes have to balance the urge to guide the activity towards what they think it’s the right way to spend the money while allowing for the freedom and incentives needed to engage a sufficient number of academics. Actions that fund Academia and Industry collaborations struggle the most with this. One can find from very flexible frameworks of collaboration to specific, and creative, actions that fund interactions between university researchers and companies.

Below there’s a list of a few calls and programmes from UK Research Councils or internal university funds that support actions in direct collaboration with industry or towards spinning out and commercialising technology.

Centres for Doctoral Training (EPSRC)
CDTs are one of the three main ways by which the EPSRC provides support for doctoral training. The other routes are the Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) and Industrial CASE Studentships (ICASE) and basically allow more or less industry involvement and discretion in choosing the strategic focus of the PhD. In CDTs one or several universities together with industrial sponsors supervise students (at least 10 per year for 5 years) all focused in one of a number of priority areas of national strategic interest. Industry needs to finance about 20% to 40% of the total cost of the studentships. The EPSRC defines what are the priority areas of research but gives flexibility on the models of collaboration between industry and academia.

Flexible Talent Mobility Account (BBSRC)
The FTMA supports Academic/Industry secondments and collaboration, as a two way people exchange. It covers the expenses of a secondment (not research) and it’s open to research students and postdocs. Awards of £5k-10k expected, with a duration of 1 week to 3 months.

Industrial Partnership PhDs (UofG, College of MVLS)
Short Term Industrial Projects, to develop solutions to grow business. 3 month placement, for a laboratory or desk-based project to support business needs.

PhD in Precision Medicine (Medical Research Council)
A 3.5 – 4 year PhD with industry, to increase collaboration with industry and gain skills in two distinct research cultures. Includes a 3 month placement with industry.

Proximity to Discovery (Medical Research Council)
Funding for engagement with industry (secondments or networking). Awards of £2k-£6k. Does not support industry or research costs.

Confidence in Concept (Medical Research Council)
Translation of fundamental science. Preliminary translational work. Diagnostics and therapeutic projects. Advancement of the path to commercialisation. Awards of £50-100K. Requires match funding (monetary or in-kind). Project expected to last 6-12 months. Reported research outcomes upon completion. Not for bridging funds or IP costs.

Excellence with Impact (BBSRC)
Stakeholder engagement. Projects in line with BBSRC strategic plan and can include: Product design, engagement with stakeholders, market intelligence. Awards of up to £5k assessed on case by case. Awards >£5k are panel assessed. Not for public engagement, staff or industry costs.

RSE Enterprise Fellowship overview (Royal Society of Engineering)
RSE Enterprise Fellowships enable promising science and technology researchers to develop into successful entrepreneurs. Awardees get to focus solely on refining their business ideas, whilst receiving one year’s salary, expert training in entrepreneurship and access to mentorship from business Fellows of the RSE and other successful entrepreneurs in the business community.

Impact Acceleration Accounts (several Research Councils)
UK Universities usually hold Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA) from the BBSRC, EPSRC and ESRC, that aim to increase, advance and accelerate the achievement of impact from research council’s funded projects. The IAAs supports a range of Knowledge Exchange (KE) interventions with a focus on small-scale investments that pump-prime wider KE activities and impact generation. The IAAs typically provides two core funding streams to build on previous research council funded projects, proof-of-concept, and collaborative development.