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The ICUK Collaboration Fund

The ICUK Collaboration Development Fund was a £3 million fund designed to support staff exchange, feasibility studies, proof of concept and joint commercial research and development projects between the UK and China.

ICUK awarded a total of £2.79m to 39 partnership grants and 33 proof-of-concept projects and these projects have now successfully completed and the fund has now closed.

These projects now form part of ICUK's Technology Portfolio, and we are actively seeking commercial outcomes for them, including: technology licensing or spin-out creation; industrial collaboration and development partnerships. Please feel free to browse our Technology Portfolio for projects seeking partners.

Key Achievements of the ICUK Collaboration Development Fund:

  • Funded 72 projects from a range of technology sectors
  • Engaged over 270 UK/Chinese academics in joint projects
  • Submitted 25 joint research papers for publication
  • Secured £1.95 million Chinese match funding and £1.3 million follow-on funding for joint Proof of Concept projects
  • Filed 14 new patents
  • Signed 2 income-generating licensing agreements
  • Created One spin-out company

The two types of ICUK Collaboration development awards were:

Proof of Concept (up to £90,000):

The purpose of the ICUK Proof-of-concept fund was to support technologies or business ideas from the research community to be further developed to the stage that a commercial company or a private investor will become engaged in the commercialisation of a new product or service. It effectively reduces the risks involved in early-stage technology development. Examples of the use of ICUK Proof-of-Concept (PoC) Funding included:

  • Developing and evaluating commercial prototypes
  • Comparison with competitive products or services
  • Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights
  • Conducting market research on customer preferences
  • Incorporating external skills such as market researchers and design engineers

Partnership Grant (up to £15,000):
The purpose of the Partnership Grant was to support the UK and Chinese Higher Education Institutes in initiating research and development collaboration and facilitating joint innovation and knowledge transfer. Funding was provided to those projects which were most likely to lead to further knowledge transfer collaboration between the two countries. 12 projects that were initially awarded Partnership Grants went on to be awarded Proof of Concept funding. The funding was used to:

  • Carry out feasibility studies on partnerships and markets,
  • Fund staff exchanges in fostering collaboration, as well as
  • †Host events for knowledge exchange in specific technology areas.

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