Tips for working with an academic partner

Research and development grants are available to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who have cutting-edge or disruptive ideas aligned with commercial ambition. Working with an academic partner on your application can maximise your chances of success, but what do you need to know before securing your partnership?

Universities are charities and are therefore not out to make a profit. They are judged on three main criteria research income, publications and impact. All of these factors affect the income they receive from the government assessed by the Research Excellence Framework.

When approaching to work with an academic is it important to have an established budget. Universities are not suppliers and having a defined budget will enable them to determine what can be delivered. Clearly defined deliverables allow expectations to be managed to build a strong working relationship.

Identifying the right group for your project is imperative to making sure you have the right expertise. This may not always be the ones closest to your project. Once selected, leaving plenty of time for discussion is essential, as for example setting up NDA can be a long process.

Regular communication between your company and the university is essential. Regular calls or face to face meetings to highlight early issue will ensure that your project doesn’t drift off course.

Before submission, you need to be prepared for the numerous approval processes (ethics, financial, legal) the University will have to go through, so managing timeframes needs to be a high priority to make sure your application is finalized in time for the funding deadline.

One thing that you should be aware of is academic assessments clashing with major deliverables. In January or late May most professors will be 100% dedicated to their teaching responsibilities, so, therefore, it is important to keep this in mind if the fund deadline clashes with these months and you wish to work with an academic partner.

Taking advantage of the experience of a grant writer to drive and coordinate the application process will be extremely beneficial to the chance of your success. Granted has the experience of working with multiple academic partners and understands what information is needed from them to create a robust application.

Grant Funding Success: Knowledge & Network

There is no substitute for talking to the funders, understanding their drivers and getting a definition of the kind of projects & companies they are looking to award grant funding to. The grant funding landscape is ever-shifting with subtle changes in focus and preferences influenced by macro and micro factors. We will continue to bring insights in an attempt to maximise the chance of securing grant funding for our clients.

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