This funding aims to support researchers in the development of their independent research and their affiliation with the industry sector

Scope of Prize

With the launch of our new initiative, Research Innovation Scotland, SULSA are running an Innovation Seed Fund.

  • Researchers can apply for between £5,000 – £20,000, which must be match funded by an industrial partner or show a strong case for commercialisation of your research.
  • This fund is aimed at early lecturers/PIs to support development of their independent research and their affiliation with the industry sector.
  • The project should aim to foster new projects and collaborations across the academic and industry sector and drive novel and exciting research and innovation.
  • Projects should have a significant consideration for sustainability post-award and show demonstrable potential for securing funding leverage.
  • This scheme is not for continued funding of existing projects.

SULSA has aligned this call with three Innovation Centres, IBioIC, SAIC and CENSIS. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to these innovation centres (as relevant) or alternative innovation centres/schemes when developing their application. SULSA’s Innovation Seed Funding Call Launch Webinar will run on November 19th at 3pm to provide more information on how these 3 organisations, in particular, can support. These Innovation Centres will be involved in the review process to explore further funding opportunities for proposed projects.



  • The academic lead applicant should be early stage lecturer/PIs (within 3 years of appointment to their first independent research post).
  • There must be an industrial co-applicant with agreed match funding as cash or in-kind contributions*
  • All academic applicants must be employed within a SULSA member university.
  • All applicants must have at least 12 months remaining on their contract/current funding from the 1st January 2021. If your contract is ending before then, you are still eligible if you can secure a letter from your host institution confirming that your contract will be extended.

* For applications for the commercialisation of research where there is not an industry partner tied in this is not required, however you must show a strong case of support from a business development specialist.



  • Additional co-applicants can be academics, post-graduate students, technologists and technicians, or anyone with a PhD employed as a researcher. Including ECRs, with a defined plan of engagement and CPD, will be looked favourably upon.
  • We would encourage the inclusion of multiple SULSA universities if there are a number of co-applicants.
  • Engagement with an Innovation Centre or similar external organisation.
  • Further funding agreed in principle.
  • Between £5,000 and £20,000 is available per application. For industry-partner applications the amount requested must be match funded by the industry partner. The SULSA award can be used to cover consumables and facilities access only, it is not for staff costs.
  • Match funds from the industry partner can be extended to in-kind contributions, or be a combination of cash and in-kind. In-kind contributions might include consumables, use of lab space or facilities, or industry staff time.
  • Between 2 – 8 projects will be awarded, depending on the amount requested for suitable applications.
  • We expect that funds will be awarded in March 2021.
  • The Innovation Centres listed will be involved in the review process and there is potential for suitable applications to be supported and/or developed by these centres.
  • Connecting with relevant organisations external to your academic institution will be seen as a strength, these do not have to be Innovation Centres.
  • Funds will be awarded to the lead applicant’s institution.
  • Updates on the collaboration will be provided to SULSA as and when requested. SULSA reserves the right to clawback funds not used in accordance with these terms and conditions.
  • A short report (template will be provided) to be submitted to SULSA after the collaboration project has ended summarising the outputs. Industry partners must agree to this prior to the award being funded.
Additional Information

Judging Criteria:

  • The novelty, innovative nature and need for the project
  • The collaborative strength
  • Project feasibility
  • Engagement of external organisations
  • Potential to leverage further funding
  • Sustainable and impactful outcomes
  • Consideration of group member support

Submitting Your Application:

Please submit your application (a single PDF) to at SULSA by 5pm on Monday 1st March 2021 (extended by 2 weeks to accommodate those affected by lockdown measures)

Notification of Outcome:

Successful applications will be notified by email.

Payment of Funds:

If successful, funds will be transferred to your lead Institution. Funds must be spent within 12 months of the date of transfer. Upon request funds can be divided up between applicant’s host institutions.


You must provide the SULSA administration with project updates and outcomes when requested for reporting purposes. If this project leads to a published article, or leverages grant funding, please contact the SULSA administration to make them aware.

How to Apply