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Research Strategy Office

 
About

The University of Cambridge holds multiple UKRI Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs). IAAs are strategic awards provided to institutions to support knowledge exchange (KE) and impact. IAAs allow the University to respond to opportunities in flexible, responsive and creative ways. The AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC were awarded under the 2022 Harmonised IAA Scheme. Through the Harmonised IAA the University aims to develop:  

Entrepreneurship, technology transfer and commercialisation ​ 
Focusing on commercialising University knowledge and technology: bringing ideas to market, assisting with the formation of new companies and developing licensing opportunities; supporting researchers in providing consultancy services to organisations; business creation and investment into new ventures.​ 

Long-term business engagement and partnerships​ 
To increase the regional, national and international effectiveness of the University’s engagement with industry; support existing and create and develop new multi-disciplinary research and training partnerships; build an environment to encourage collaboration between commercial organisations and university researchers; provide access to facilities and deliver professional and executive development programmes. ​ 

Policy impact ​ 
Developing and promoting relationships between policy professionals and academics to generate and contribute evidence to key policy debates; linking research in technology and science with the economic and political dimensions of policy-making; improving evidence base and the use of evidence-based policy in healthcare; providing professional development and contributing to national discussions. ​ 

Social and cultural impact​ 
Public engagement with research*; large-scale public and community engagement and collaborations with schools; research-museum collaborations and engagement with communities; wider impact of the University on the interplay between science and society, delivered by researchers and professional staff from many University departments.​ 

Raising awareness and providing impact and KE training and mentoring for researchers in all areas of impact​.

The University is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial culture, innovating and experimenting with new ways of delivering impact and reviewing and improving processes by which the academics and our external partners engage. ​ 

*Public Engagement with Research describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is at its core a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit. Public Engagement with Research is multifaceted and may entail dissemination, collaboration, consultation and inspiration of and with audiences through various means. Proposed projects can take a variety of formats, provided a clear rationale is given regarding the appropriateness of the intended community or stakeholder group, the method of engagement adopted, and how the necessary resources and expertise will be secured. This variety of formats includes (but is not limited to): 

  • Live events e.g. festivals, discussions, workshops, science cafes. 
  • Collaborative projects e.g. with publics/organisations as partners in research. 

  • Public involvement e.g. patient and public, citizen science. 

  • Media e.g. social media, discussions via blogs, broadcasting-led activities 

  • Exhibitions and installations e.g. museums and galleries. 

  • Education resources and programmes that connect pupils, teachers and/or education providers directly with research. 

Governance, structure and leadership

Council 

Award 2022-2025 

Discipline Lead

AHRC 

£450,000 

Prof. Chris Young  

BBSRC 

£300,000 

Prof. Anna Philpott 

EPSRC 

£2,181,254.31 

Prof. Nigel Peake  

ESRC 

Application period currently open for awards 2023-2028 

Prof. Bhaskar Vira 

MRC 

£1,490,400 

Regius Professor Patrick Maxwell 

TOTAL 

£4,421,654.31 

 

 

Impact Acceleration Account Funding Opportunities

Please click on a Funding Council for more information:

Application process

You can find guidance on planning your project on the Research Operations Office website 

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact their departmental Knowledge Transfer Facilitator (KTFs) or equivalent member of staff for advice. If your department or School does not have a Knowledge Transfer Facilitator, please contact iaa@admin.cam.ac.uk with any queries. 

The application process may vary slightly between Research Councils and calls. Please see the call guidance under the relevant call.  

Applications must be submitted through the IAA Application System. This will include completing: 

  1. Outline details of the project in the IAA Application System.   

  1. An application form to present project justifications, outline of activities, details of potential collaborations and timelines. This form will require the signature of the Head of the Department which would take the operational lead on the project, normally the applicant's department. Where operational lead will be shared across departments, the signature of all relevant Heads of Departments are required.

  1. A PDF copy of the draft project costing from X5

  1. Draft agreements/letters of support from external partner (if applicable). 

  1. Any additional documents, such as a Gantt chart showing the intended project timeline, as appropriate. 

Please note that the submission system only accepts PDF documents 

  1. The online form asks standard questions designed for application processing and IAA reporting.  This will allow us to better manage your application from submission through to review, award, post-award and reporting. 

  2. The application form is available either from the relevant IAA Call webpage or through the KE and Impact Team (iaa@admin.cam.ac.uk). 

  1. Applications will require accurate costing using the online tool X5, under the Funding Scheme ‘UKRI (Research and Innovation); IAA – internal calls’, with items fully justified in the application.  IAA proposals should not be submitted in X5 and should remain in draft form only. This is because IAA funds have already been awarded to the University and submission for approval would result in double-counting of funds.  Submitting your proposal into the ROO workstream could additionally delay the review of your application by the panel. The draft report downloaded from X5 should be submitted with your application and will be scrutinised by the panel as part of the assessment process.  Any changes to an approved project budget will need to be cleared with the Impact and KE team.   

  1. If you intend to include an external party/ies in your proposal, please see Working with Third Parties below 

Working with Third Parties
  1. If you intend to discuss non public domain information with a third party to prepare the application, you will need a confidentiality agreement in place with the proposed third party/ies before these discussions take place. A standard University template is available for these purposes. The Research Operations Office Contracts team will support you to put this in place, but in the first instance please contact iaa@admin.cam.ac.uk for further support and advice. 
     
  2. A sample cover letter and basic collaboration agreement terms are available for information to help you in your pre-application submission discussions with third parties with respect to the general contract expectations/considerations for these awards. If you need any further guidance, in the first instance please contact iaa@admin.cam.ac.uk
     
  3. If your project is going to include exchange/transfer of materials/data between the University and an external party/ies this should be flagged in the application by checking the submission system checkbox "Is a contract required?". And brief details should be provided in the application form on the types of materials/data involved and which parties will be providers/recipients. 

If the University has not worked with your intended collaborating partner before additional due diligence checks may be required. Further guidance is available here.

Assessment process

All applications will be peer assessed by a panel appointed by the IAA Discipline Lead. 

The individual call guidance sets out the timelines and assessment process for each call, along with any specific assessment criteria. All applications will be assessed using the following criteria: 

Criteria 

Guidance 

Clarity of impact objectives 

Clarity of the impact (not research) objectives and proposed impact activities, including how impact will be measured/evidenced. 

Clarity of plan 

Clarity and coherence of the plan to achieve impact objectives, including, management and timeframe and milestone.   

Where applicable, the suitability, level of engagement, and degree of support offered by the partner organisation. 

Articulation of need 

Clarity of description of the research base on which the project builds, the need being addressed and/or justification of why impact objectives have been identified.  

Value for money  

The extent to which the proposal makes the best use of resources.  

Sustainability planning 

The extent to which the project outlines plans for potential next stages (including further sources of funding) and/or explains how the project fits within a larger programme of work.  

Timeline

Individual call guidance sets out when funding will be received, and any funding conditions which are additional to those set out in the standard IAA Terms and Conditions.   

Monitoring and Reporting

All project holders will be required to complete an online survey at the end of their funded period. Details of this reporting will be provided at the time of project award. 

Given the timescales over which impact occurs, we also welcome key updates via email on funded projects beyond the final report. This enables us to sign-post you to any relevant support as well as to support our future applications for institutional IAA funding.   

PIs will be asked to work with departmental grants/finance officers to ensure that all expenditure is posted against projects within 2 weeks of the end of the project. Further financial reporting will be requested at project close.  

The Harmonised IAA funding end date is 31 March 2025 and all projects without exception must be completed before this date.  

IAA Terms and Conditions

A summary of the IAA Terms and Conditions should be consulted before making an application to an IAA fund

Full terms and conditions for the Harmonised UKRI Impact Acceleration Accounts can be found here.

For further information please contact: iaa@admin.cam.ac.uk