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Pre-incorporation Funds

Could your research create commercial impact as a spin-out company?

Do you want to be part of the next university spin-out success story? If you think the outcome of your research could lead to a commercial opportunity our pre-incorporation funding can help you make that a reality.

Funding is available in two forms – feasibility awards and proof of concept awards.

We’ve already funded 110 opportunities, investing over £4.2m to progress the commercial potential of promising research.

Our current funding call is open to academics at Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. Please read the guidance below and apply by 1 December 2023.

Through this funding we will be able to develop and optimise the scaling-up process from bench to larger scale. Our ultimate plan is commercialising our technology to spin out an aerogel company with Newcastle University.

Frequently asked questions

Please read the application guidance and discuss with your technology transfer team before applying.

Please note that applications will only be accepted when they’re submitted by your technology transfer representative. This ensures the development of applications has been supported by your technology transfer contact and they have reviewed the final submission.

Costs should be developed with the support of your technology transfer team. The precise process is likely to vary at different partner universities but may involve your pre-awards team and the use of a standard system e.g. pFACT. Your technology transfer contact will be able to advise. You should note the guidance on overheads/Full Economic Costing in preparing your costs for submission.

The overriding principle is that the funding should be used for the purpose it is awarded i.e. to advance the commercialisation of university research.

You should make sure that it is clear in your application how the costs submitted relate to the commercialisation objective. The Guidance for Applicants provides a little more detail and your technology transfer contact should be able to advise.

Once you have read through the guidance, please contact your Technology Transfer / Research Commercialisation team to discuss your application and get a copy of the application form. 

Once a call has closed the applications will be checked for compliance and distributed to a review panel, comprising external experts with knowledge of innovation and technology transfer and representatives from partner universities, to score in accordance with the guidance. A meeting of the review panel will then be held for moderation of the scoring and this will be followed by a funding decision panel at which those projects that will receive funding will be confirmed.

There are two possible outcomes for each application. These are: award approved or award not approved. If your application is not approved this time it can be resubmitted to one of the future rounds.

A decision letter will be issued by the project team. This will be sent to you, your technology transfer contact, and your university Northern Accelerator lead. In the event that an award is being made the letter will also be copied to relevant contacts in your research office and department.
Please see the application guidance for information on timescales.

It may be necessary for the project team to receive a formal acceptance of the offer of award. This will be made clear in the letter you receive. Northern Accelerator funding will be made available in line with your university’s standard processes. Likewise any procurement or recruitment that arises from this funding award should follow your university’s standard processes.

Funding must only be used for the purposes outlined in your application (which will be replicated in the award letter). The transfer of funding will be against invoices raised following actual spend within the terms of the award (again via your university’s standard processes) and approved by the project team.

You should discuss your alternative options with your technology transfer contact.

The application panel is particularly looking for projects that have potential to spin-out as new companies and those applications will be given priority. Large licensing opportunities will still be considered.


To Date We Have


Awarded to pre-incorporation projects


Pre-incorporation projects funded


Spin-out businesses created