Connecting Capability Fund (CCF)

The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) complements Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) by supporting HEP collaboration in commercialisation through competitive projects and formula funds.


The CCF 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.

Current CCF funded projects

There are currently 18 projects funded by the CCF. Overall these projects involve 60 HEPs collaborating with each other and more than 128 individual businesses and investors, as well as wider business investor networks. More than 13 different local enterprise partnerships will benefit.

Subject to 2020 Spending Review outcomes, we expect to fund both new awards and follow-on funding for selected wave 1 projects in wave 2 CCF. We have prioritised setting in train the process for the follow-on funding competition in advance of knowing the budget to ensure that any follow-on funding awarded can dovetail into the end of currently confirmed wave 1 budgets. We have invited applications from lead universities for existing Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) wave 1 projects for follow-on funding as part of a competitive application process.

Supporting documents

Additional investment

The projects are attracting over £375 million of additional investment from universities, business investors and other partners.

With six Catapults (the Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth) and other UKRI  councils involved, the projects also build on partnership working across many of the organisations that make up UKRI. 

Interim Programme Evaluation

In Summer 2019 consultants IP Pragmatics were commissioned to carry out an interim review of the CCF programme. The review aimed to provide evidence about the potential impact of the programme (recognising it is too early to get individual project results) to inform decisions about future need and improvements in delivery should the programme be continued. The evaluation report can be viewed here. Director of Knowledge Exchange Alice Frost discusses the findings of the review in a blog here.

Update to Interim Programme Evaluation

This report (PDF, 754KB) updates the interim evaluation (PDF, 1.4MB) of the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) programme. The CCF is a distinctive programme focused on generating collaborations between Universities to achieve more effective commercialization with external business partners. A total of £85 million was provided to 18 projects involving 54 collaborating universities together with external economic partners running for 3 years.

The report gives up to date evidence on activities since the last publication. The report highlights good progress being made toward the challenging targets of the programme.

Which projects currently receive CCF funding?

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)



What's the background to the Connecting Capability Fund?

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 was allocated to complement and build on established 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.

Case studies

Read more about the work of some of these projects below: