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Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA)

Copyright: Zoonar. Thinkstock.

Call status: Open
Application deadline: 21 September 2016, 4pm

Funded through our responsive mode grants.

Industrial Partnership Awards (IPAs) encourage and support collaboration between academic research groups and industry.

IPAs are academic - led, responsive mode grants that have significant industrial involvement and industry partner(s) contributes in cash at least equivalent to 10% of the full project costs. Additional in-kind contributions from industry are welcome but do not count against the industry contribution. Funding is only available for organisations eligible for BBSRC support.

Applications are assessed by our Research Committees, alongside standard applications, using the same criteria. IPA projects are normally funded in preference to standard grants of equivalent scientific merit.

Before applying

The company partner should be registered in the UK or have a UK R&D or manufacturing site. Where a suitable company cannot be found in the UK, an overseas company may be used. However, such collaborations are judged on a case by case basis, and clear justification must be provided. We strongly encourage you to contact us (contact details below) prior to submission if you wish an overseas company to be an industrial partner under this scheme.

In order for an application to be eligible under the IPA scheme, industry partners must make a cash contribution that is at least equivalent to 10% of the balance of the project costs minus the industry contribution. 

Example figures

Total cost of the whole project Industry contribution (cash) Outstanding balance of Research Council eligible costs (a-b) – This is the amount used on the Je-S form in the fEC IPA – Yes or No If successful, amount awarded by BBSRC (80% of that requested) If successful, amount expected from institutional core funds (20% of that requested)
£550,000 £50,000 £500,000 Yes – Cash contribution is 10% of the balance 400,000 100,000
£550,000 £40,000 £510,000 No – Cash contribution is less than 10% of the balance £408,000 £102,000
£550,000 £70,000 £480,000 Yes – Cash contribution is 10% of the balance £384,000 £96,000

Applicants should describe the value of the partnership and its mutual benefits within the case for support.

Applicants should also include:

  • A letter from their institutions Technology Transfer Office outlining the management of outputs from the proposed research including:
    • Objectives of the collaboration
    • Key tasks, contributions and responsibilities of the different partners
    • Agreed routes for dissemination of emerging results and management of intellectual assets and/or intellectual property
    • Any direct or indirect interest from the academic partner in the commercialization of the project
  • A letter of support from each industry partner signed off by the budget holder (or equivalent)which outlines their involvement in the project including:
    • The companies interest in the proposed project
    • The companies contribution to the collaboration including justification of the value of in-kind contributions where included
    • Agreed routes for dissemination of emerging results and management of intellectual assets and/or intellectual property
    • And confirming that if the application is successful, a collaboration agreement will be put in place between all partners before research commences in line with Cross-Research Council Research Grant Terms and Conditions

The preliminary terms of the agreement outlined in the letters will be reviewed and changes may be requested.

The plans set out in the letter will not be legally binding but should form a strong basis for collaboration agreement if the grant is awarded funding.

How to apply

Visit our 'How to apply' page to submit your application through our electronic submission system.

For more specific guidance about applying to this scheme, please consult the FAQs (see downloads).

The schemes are dictated when selecting classification as follows:

  • Select Council: 'BBSRC'
  • Select Document Type: 'Standard Proposal'
  • Select Scheme: 'Responsive Mode'
  • Select Call/Type Mode: 'Responsive Mode [deadline]'
  • In the Document Menu select 'Classifications' and then 'Grant Type'
  • Select the appropriate classification (Industrial Partnership Award)

Industry partners should be listed within the project partner section.

Applications are processed alongside other responsive mode applications. Application deadlines are therefore the same as responsive mode applications. Responsive mode deadlines can be found on our application deadlines page (see related links).

Case studies

Extending the shelf life of packaged salad

Measuring photosynthesis of spinach in a drought trial. Image: Hazel Smith, University of Southampton
Measuring photosynthesis of spinach in a drought trial.
Image: Hazel Smith, University of Southampton

Researchers at the University of Southampton used their Industrial Partnership Award to work together with Vitacress, one of the biggest producers of packaged salads, to understand what keeps salad leaves fresh. Their results are now being used in plant breeding programmes and within Vitacress' own practices to produce salads with a longer shelf life.

"Developing high quality, nutritious, sustainable salad leaves is really important for Vitacress; it's a key part of their business," says Professor Gail Taylor from the University of Southampton, the lead researcher on the project. "They need science to achieve that, and the science we've done has plugged directly into the business."

Read the full case study at our IPA and ‘stand-alone’ LINK schemes cultivate academic-industry partnerships page.

Research into the body clock leads to drug discovery programme

Using their Industrial Partnership Award, researchers at The University of Manchester and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) discovered the mechanism by which the body's internal clock controls inflammation in the lungs. As a result of this project and its success, the researchers have formed a pioneering three-way collaboration between academics, the NHS and industry to find new treatments for inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

The human macrophage has an internal biological clock. Image: GSK
The human macrophage has an internal biological clock.
Image: GSK

"The IPA enabled the University and GSK to explore a novel and rapidly developing area of biology in the best environment for the experimental work needed, but with the industry link bringing insight into potential therapeutic outputs," says Professor Stuart Farrow, Director of the Respiratory Therapy Area at GSK, who is currently on secondment to The University of Manchester.

Read the full case study at our IPA and ‘stand-alone’ LINK schemes cultivate academic-industry partnerships page.


Related calls: collaboration industry innovation partnerships responsive mode