Innovation Follow-on Fund

Note: With the advent of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and new significant funding opportunities, the context for the NERC-funded Innovation Follow-on Fund scheme has altered. This shifting landscape has led to a need to review NERC's innovation open calls.

To this end, the annual call for financial year 2019-20 is paused whilst we review NERC's offer in the round. Future call opportunities will be listed on the NERC funding news and calls page and you can sign up to the NERC email alert service to ensure you receive the most up-to-date news on NERC and UKRI funding.

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Call opens on Je-S: 4 July 2018
Call closes: 16:00 on 19 September 2018

NERC is inviting proposals to the Innovation Follow-on Fund call, a 'proof of concept' fund to support the commercialisation of ideas arising from NERC or other research council funded research.

The Follow-on Fund call reflects NERC's vision and emphasis on delivering impact. This call picks up where research grants leave off, enabling research outputs from research council funded research to be further developed so their commercial potential can be realised.

Funds will be used to support projects which focus upon generating user applicable outputs from past and/or current research council funded research and which translates them into commercial outcomes within the NERC remit. Proposals should have a primary focus on the commercialisation of research and/or knowledge. Whilst projects can be purely UK-focused, NERC also welcomes projects that are aimed at improving economic growth and welfare in developing countries.

Examples of activities funded include technology licensing, launching technology based products or services, selling know-how-based consultancy services, and the commercialisation of NERC-funded datasets. Proposals are invited for projects pursuing any of these approaches or, indeed others.

In order to recommend you for a Follow-on Fund award, the assessment panel will need to be confident that you have a good understanding of the market environment for your technology, a clear idea of who you believe will be interested in it and why, and that you have a credible plan for driving your project towards an appropriate commercial outcome.

If you are uncertain on any of these issues, you are strongly advised to apply for a Pathfinder grant before making an application to the Follow-on Fund.

Proposals may apply for up to a maximum of £155,000 at 100% full economic cost (FEC) and a duration of up to 18 months, per project. NERC would pay 80% FEC for UK research organisation costs and 100% of any agreed direct costs to international partners.


Proposals to this funding call must involve non-academic end users as project partners. Private, public or third-sector organisations or institutions with an interest that falls within NERC's remit are eligible to be considered as end users in the context of this call.

Since the strength of the relationship between end users and researchers is often what underpins the likelihood of success of any translational and knowledge exchange activity, it is essential that end users are involved in both the development and delivery of proposals.


This call is open to current or past research council grant-holders meeting NERC eligibility rules, as set out in the NERC research grants handbook and the UK Research & Innovation eligibility for funding - external link.

Applications must build on the outputs of recent or previous NERC-funded research activity, or build on a research council funded research activity which falls within NERC remit.

Further information

Further information about this call and details on how to submit a proposal, can be found in the Announcement of Opportunity document below.

Announcement of Opportunity (PDF, 218KB)

Please note that this funding call supports commercialisation of research outcomes. Applicants interested in applying for funding to realise non-commercial potential (such as policy, social or welfare outcomes) from research council funded research are encouraged to seek further information about support available via NERC's Innovation Projects open call.


Tessa Edgecombe
Senior Programme Manager (Innovation)
07788 190531