University of Glasgow: £5M Funding Boost For Impact Acceleration Across UofG’s Four Colleges

The University of Glasgow is set to benefit from more than £5m in new funding to support creative, impactful research and collaboration activities across all four Colleges.

The £5.2m award, which reflects the quality of University of Glasgow’s research, is the fifth-largest in the latest round of funding from UKRI’s Impact Acceleration Account (IAA). The funding totals £118m and is shared between 64 universities and research organisations.

The University now holds the full portfolio of available IAA awards, reflecting the breadth of its research and collaboration across every sector.

The Impact Acceleration Account supports critical early-stage translation of UK research to real impacts, transforming public services, creating new jobs, attracting private investment and forging new partnerships with business and charities.

Funding allows UK teams to unlock the value of their work, including early-stage commercialisation of new technologies and advancing changes to public policy and services such as NHS clinical practice.

Glasgow’s success in receiving funding across the entire institution will allow it to unleash an unprecedented level of collaborative activity, with a breadth of opportunity previously impossible.

The University’s new funding, which will run for three years, is awarded by five of the UKRI’s research councils:

£3.2m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
£1.1m from the Medical Research Council (MRC)
£450,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
£300,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
£150,000 from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

A previous Impact Acceleration Account award of £1.15m from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), made in 2019 is still ongoing.

The EPSRC IAA funding award doubles the £1.69m supplied by to the University by UKRI during the previous round of funding in 2017. The AHRC IAA award also marks the first time that the Arts and Humanities Research Council has provided this type of funding, and the University of Glasgow is the first Scottish university to hold the award.

The new IAA funding will support activities across four themes:

New projects focused on capacity-building, culture change and engagement will help researchers and support staff build new skills in in key aspects of knowledge exchange, engagement and research impact.
Partnership development activities will aim to build new links with industry, government and the third sector, and to improve the quality of existing relationships.
Renewed efforts in commercialisation & entrepreneurship will increasing the economic impact of UKRI-funded research through licensing existing research and finding new avenues for commercial and social ventures.
Increasing mobility between academia and the University’s external partners and supporting a two-way flow of people and expertise for mutual benefit.

Previous IAA funding has supported a wide range of knowledge exchange, engagement and impact generation activity at the University of Glasgow, including:

Nebu~Flow, a spinout established in 2019. Nebu~Flow is transforming respiratory drug delivery by developing the next generation of nebulisers to enable efficient inhalation of a wider range of drugs to the lungs. Nebu~Flow benefitted from MRC and EPSRC IAA funding to progress their technology to the next stage of commercialisation, engage with leading companies in the field, present their findings at conferences and exhibitions, and demonstrate real-world validation of their technology. The company won numerous awards, including the The Higgs Prize from the Scottish Edge Competition and the Institute of Physics’ Lee Lucas Business Start-Up Award, and recently secured £1.75m in new investment funding.
Vector Photonics, a spinout founded in 2020, has developed a ground-breaking photonic crystal surface emitting laser (PCSEL) technology – the most significant innovation in laser design and manufacture for 30 years. PCSELs have the key characteristics of low cost; robust manufacture; broad wavelength range; and high power, giving them a huge advantage over all other semiconductor laser technologies used today. IAA funding support enabled the development of a prototype PCSEL device and the secondment of a research associate – both key milestones in the growth of the company. Vector Photonics has now received a £1.6m equity investment and government grants which take its total seed funding to over £4m.Vector Photonics’ founders received the prestigious RAE Colin Campbell Mitchell Medal in 2021 for their outstanding contribution to any field of UK engineering.
Professor Chris Pearce, Vice Principal for Research & Knowledge Exchange, said: “We’re proud that UKRI has chosen to make this significant investment across all four of our Colleges, reflecting our continued success in creating real impact through our broad-based, world-changing research. The high quality of our research, and the impact that it has, was recently recognised in the latest Research Excellence Framework.

“Our Research Strategy 2020-2025 is built on the key pillars of collaboration, creativity and careers, which matches well with UKRI’s aims for the Impact Acceleration Accounts.

“This new funding will help us continue our ongoing efforts to build a supportive culture where research quality and career development are of central importance. It will create opportunities to support cross-disciplinary research, and help us build partnerships locally, nationally and internationally.”

Tony Soterio, UKRI’s Director of Commercialisation, said: “The UK is home to some of the brightest, most innovative and creative research teams in the world. They have the ideas and they have the entrepreneurial energy to create businesses and services that could turn sectors on their head.

“What they need, what every great commercial idea needs, is support in the critical early stages. The Impact Acceleration Account is the catalyst that allows projects to grow to the next level, attracting investment, forging partnerships and creating jobs.
“The breadth of UKRI allows us to work right across the UK’s world-class research and innovation system to ensure it builds a green future, secures better health, ageing and wellbeing, tackles infections, and builds a secure and resilient world.”

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI’s Chief Executive, said: “Research and innovation has the potential to improve people’s lives and livelihoods, rejuvenating communities across the UK and tackling global challenges. It is imperative that we harness that potential.

“The path between discovery and impact is not simple and so it is vital that we provide flexible support that allows talented people and teams, and world-class institutions to connect discovery to prosperity and public good.

“Our impact acceleration funding has a fantastic track-record in providing support that helps brilliant ideas become realities that make a real difference.”

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