The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF)

The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) supports university collaboration in research commercialisation through allocation of £100 million for competitive projects and formula funds. It aims to share good practice and capacity internally across the higher education sector, forge external technological, industrial and regional partnerships, and deliver the Government’s industrial strategy priorities.

Objectives of the fund

To strengthen the contribution of English HEIs to productivity and economic growth and to delivery of the objectives of the Government’s Industrial Strategy,
enhancing effectiveness in use of the university knowledge base to deliver commercial and business applications and wider applications for the economy and society,
stimulating strategic collaboration between HEIs across England which:

  • delivers pooling of KE expertise and capabilities so that businesses and other users can access a range of KE offers or critical mass of knowledge
  • builds capacity to provide cross-university responses to technological or industrial sectoral or inter-disciplinary challenges, or to regional alignments and challenges
  • incentivises sharing of expertise in KE and commercialisation and dissemination of good practice across the HE sector.

Background information

In its 2016 autumn statement, the Government allocated additional funding for science and research of £100 million over 2017-18 to 2020-21 to incentivise universities to collaborate in commercialisation. This funding – the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) – was allocated to complement and build on established Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) mechanisms.

£15 million of the CCF was allocated by formula in 2017-18, through a 10 per cent addition to main HEIF institutional allocations.

The CCF funding for 2018-19 to 2020-21 has been allocated through competitive project funding, with supported projects beginning from April 2018.

To read the original CCF call publications, please see HEFCE 2017/03 and the circular published for round 2 of the competition: HEFCE circular letter 34/2017

Read the April 2018 press release on the awarded CCF projects.

For further information, please contact

Funded projects are listed below. For further information, please contact

Lead institution

Partner institutions

Project name

Amount of funding

University of Bath

University of Bristol; University of Exeter; University of Southampton; University of Surrey

SETsquared scale-up programme


University of Birmingham

Aston University, Cranfield University, Keele University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and University of Warwick

Midlands Innovation Commercialisation of Research Accelerator (MICRA)


University of Brighton

University of Portsmouth; Liverpool John Moores University

Clean Growth UK


University of Cambridge

University of East Anglia; University of Hertfordshire; University of Lincoln; University of Reading

The Ceres Agritech Knowledge Exchange Partnership


De Montfort University

Brunel University London; Nottingham Trent University

Impacting Business by Design


Durham University

Newcastle University, Northumbria University, University of Sunderland

The Northern Accelerator – Integrating Capabilities in the North East


University of Essex

University of East Anglia; University of Kent

Eastern ARC 'Enabling Innovation: Research to Application' (EIRA)


Imperial College London

Buckinghamshire New University; Institute of Cancer Research; Queen Mary University of London; Royal College of Art; Royal College of Music; Royal Veterinary College

MedTech SuperConnector


King’s College London

University College London; Imperial College London

London Advanced Therapies


University of Leeds

University of Bradford; Leeds Beckett University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Huddersfield; University of York

Grow Med-Tech: Collaborating for a Competitive Future


University of Leicester

Open University; University of Surrey; University of Edinburgh; University of Southampton

SPRINT (Space Research & Innovation Network for Technology)


London School of Economics and Political Science

University of Manchester; University of Sussex

ASPECT (A Social sciences Platform for Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Transformation)


University of Manchester

University of Leeds; University of Sheffield

Transforming UK IP Commercialisation Through Collaboration in The North of England: The Northern Triangle Initiative – NTI


University of Oxford

University of Birmingham; University of Dundee

UK SPINE KE: free flow of knowledge to accelerate innovations in ageing


Royal Veterinary College

London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, School of Oriental and African Studies University of London.

The Bloomsbury SET: Connecting Capability to Combat the Threat from Infectious Disease and Antimicrobial Resistance


University of Sheffield

Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and Newcastle University

Promoting the Internet of Things via Collaborations between HEIs & Industry (Pitch-In)


University of the West of England

Bath Spa University; Falmouth University; University of Plymouth

South West Creative Technology Network


University of York

University of Hull; Teesside University

THYME Project (Teesside, Hull and York - Mobilising Bioeconomy Knowledge Exchange)