Innovation Follow-on Call: Enabling innovation in the UK and developing countries - Announcement of Opportunity

This replaces the Follow-on Fund and Innovation Projects (Open) calls.

Call opens on Je-S: 24 May 2017

Call closes: 16:00 on 12 July 2017

This call funding aims to increase and accelerate the uptake and impact of research council funded research outputs by supporting translational and knowledge exchange activity which delivers direct tangible and demonstrable benefits to end users, particularly businesses. Funds will be used to support projects which focus upon generating user applicable outputs from past and/or current research and which translates them into outcomes that achieve impact within the NERC remit (in the UK and/or in developing countries).

As the name suggests, this call picks up where research grants leave off and enables those research outputs to be further developed into practical application, so their commercial or other potential outcomes can be realised. The practical application may not be commercial, but should benefit third parties and not just the principal investigator's institution. Proposals should have a primary focus on the translation of research and/or knowledge.

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

Whilst projects can be purely UK-focused, NERC also welcomes projects that are aimed at improving economic growth and welfare in developing countries. As part of our Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments, up to £750,000 of the funding available in this call will be used to support projects with this focus.

£1·65 million is available in total for this call, with up to £750,000 of the available funding dedicated to support projects that meet Official Development Assistance criteria.

A maximum of £125,000 (£100,000 NERC contribution at 80% full economic cost) may be requested per project. Project proposals may run for up to 18 months.


The fund is open to current or past research council grant-holders:

  • Proposals for Innovation Follow-on support 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.
  • The call is open to applicants based in UK higher education institutions, NERC research centres and independent research organisations (IROs) approved by NERC. Please see eligibility guidance on the RCUK website - external link.
  • Projects whose aim is to develop products or services based on NERC or other research council-funded research outputs and capabilities ('blue sky' projects and applied research for commercial partners are not eligible).
  • Projects do not have to be based on proprietary, patentable intellectual property.
  • All projects must have potential to deliver some form of societal or environmental benefit.

Further information

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

Announcement of opportunity (PDF, 84KB)

How to apply guidance (PDF, 103KB)


Tessa Edgecombe
Senior Programme Manager (Innovation)
01793 442610

Gemma Truelove
Senior Programme Manager (Innovation)
01793 418004