We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Call for Cross-Cluster Proof of Concept proposals

Industry/Harwell Cluster Collaboration

Proposals are invited for collaborative projects that develop and expand links between Industry and organisations within the Harwell Campus Clusters, together with Universities where appropriate. The call is for project definition and proof of concept activities that would significantly benefit from collaboration with the Harwell clusters, especially between different sectors and disciplines. The aim is to position the project teams in a place where they can bid for larger funding opportunities within other programmes in Health, Energy and Space, and thereby accelerate the pace of innovation in these areas. Up to £20k funding is available per project, match funded, which could be partly used to purchase equipment, if it is essential to the project. Proposals should be written in consultation with the associated Harwell Cluster partners who should be co-applicants.

Cross Cluster PoC (Word, 76 KB)

Cross Cluster Application Form (Word, 52 KB)

Aims of the call:

  • To stimulate industrial engagement with organisations across the Harwell Campus Clusters – collaborations could be between industries, between industry and research organisations, and between industry and academia.
  • To kick-start and accelerate innovative cross-disciplinary collaborations across the three clusters: EnergyTec, HealthTec, and Space.
  • To help establish, support and grow new and existing companies.
  • To develop new ideas on the innovative use of technologies, applications and processes.
  • To allow the Harwell Campus to act as a test bed for developing and validating technologies and services.

Proposals to work with more than one Cluster organisation are particularly welcome, as are those which support the emerging high-tech Living Labs initiative – which seeks to establish the Harwell Campus as a real world implementation, testing, and validation platform for new technologies and solutions for sustainable and healthy living.

Benefits of Collaborating with the Harwell Clusters:

The Harwell Campus Clusters - Space, HealthTec, and EnergyTec – encompass a broad range of public, private and academic organisations located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. The Campus is home to large multidisciplinary national facilities located on the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus, working in association with wider networks like European Space Agency, the Energy Systems Catapult, MedCity, DIT, OxLEP, OBN and AHSN. At Harwell these include long-established centres such as MRC Harwell Institute and Public Health England, and large multidisciplinary national facilities such as the Diamond Light Source, the ISIS neutron source and the Central Laser Facility, as well as the newly established Faraday Institution and Rosalind Franklin Institute.

The opportunity to work across the broad capabilities of the site through a well-established collaborative cluster network, and potentially to employ multiple facilities simultaneously, opens up extensive and exciting multi-disciplinary opportunities.

This call is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and closes on January 18, 2019.

Information on the Call

Up to £20k funding will be awarded per successful proposal, match funded by the proposing organisation/s to a level that is compliant with State Aid regulations (depending on company size).

Companies of all sizes are welcome to apply. Small capital items may be bid for as part of the project if they are essential to its success. Funded work must be completed by the end of March 2019 and any capital items procured and delivered by the same deadline. Procurement of approved capital items will be the responsibility of the successful organisations. A final report on the project will be required at the end of March to enable the draw-down of funds. If appropriate, the project might continue after March for a period to be agreed with STFC at KO; this part of the work would have to draw solely on the match funding provided by the project team and not STFC’s funding.

Individual Cluster partners may choose to contribute additional in-kind effort and facility access to proposals as appropriate. Proposals should be jointly written with the collaborating Harwell Cluster organisation(s) in advance of submission (please see URL links and points of contact below), it should be clearly stated how the Harwell Cluster organisation will contribute to the project.

If you have any queries, would like advice on the most appropriate cluster organisation to work with, would like to be connected to a cluster organisation that is not listed, or would like to visit Harwell and learn more about our facilities and collaborative opportunities before submitting your application, please contact Natasha Nicholson.

Applications should be submitted in collaboration with the organisation you plan to partner with, and submitted to Natasha Nicholson by midday on January 18, 2019.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Innovative nature of the work and future application benefit/impact.
  • Plans for further development of the concept/initiative, identifying likely funding programmes or sources where relevant.
  • A clear description of the nature of the collaboration with the cluster partner.
  • A collaboration approach between the HealthTec, Space, and EnergyTec clusters that encompasses a range of disciplines.
  • A realistic project plan which completes funded work by end of March 2019 – and may include details of further work beyond March covered by the matched-funding.
  • A clear description of the match fund provisions and the state aid compliance.
  • Where Capital equipment is needed, a realistic procurement plan which delivers before the end of March 2019.

Examples of Previous PoC Studies:

Two previous Proof of Concept calls have gone out, focused on Health Technologies. Examples of outcomes from the previous calls include:

Examples of outcomes from the previous calls include:

  • The development of a functional prototype of a smart-device that can attach to existing insulin pens, remind users to take insulin, and log information on usage.
  • The validation and streamlining of a technology that accelerates the interpretation of gene editing outcomes.
  • The automation of three stages of the 3D tissue printing process; preparation, husbandry, and characterisation.
  • The incorporation of ground network pollution data with EO satellite-based technology and public health models to develop an app providing targeted health advice.
  • The isolation and characterised a potential MERS vaccine.
  • The development of an interface for digitally immature users to interact with an autonomous healthcare monitoring system.
  • The combination of two existing technologies to create a garment with integrated sensors for providing measurement and instant feedback of upper limb movement and muscle activity.

Companies who have participated in PoC projects with the Harwell Cluster have the added benefit of continued promotion through case studies, and are given priority to attend and show case at events.

Summary of important dates:

Closing date of application 18 January 2019
Notification of award 22 January 2019
Work to begin 23 January 2019
Final report due 27 March 2019

Last updated: 13 December 2018


Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000