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.

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 are benefitting.

In line with government guidance, we are currently developing proposals for the programme long-term, with allocations to new projects dependent on future public funding decisions.

    Research England has allocated an additional £25 million won competitively to 11 CCF projects to expand innovative commercialisation activities across the collaborating universities and partners. This follow on funding is for one or two year awards and builds on £86.4 million allocated as the initial investment in the 18 projects over 2018-2021.

    Aim: The follow on funding aims to expand upon the original project scope - extending activity toward more ambitious outcomes, deepening existing collaborations and developing new ones, and adding activities which realise further benefits from the current projects.

    A list of the eleven projects receiving follow on funding can be found in the table below.

    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

    Follow-on 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

    Northern Gritstone University Partnership



    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:

    Supporting documents