Supplementary evidence from the Engineering
and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The amount of funding EPSRC provides to the Energy
Technologies Institute (ETI)
1. In the published delivery plan, EPSRC
has assigned £60 million of new commitment for the Energy
Technologies Institute for the three year period April 2008 to
March 2011. EPSRC has anticipated spend during this period of
2. The allocation letter for the science
budget 2008-11 asked EPSRC to fund, "The Energy Technology
Institute at the agreed level of 60% of the DIUS contribution
(with the remaining 40% being provided by TSB)". The level
of the contribution required will depend on whether ETI recruits
additional industry partners and the speed at which the ETI spend
EPSRC's funding for the ETI is currently over
and above the funding budget allocated to the Research Councils'
Energy Programme. How long is this arrangement guaranteed? Is
there a possibility funding will come from the Energy Programme
budget in the future?
3. EPSRC Council has agreed the figures
for the EPSRC Energy programme and for ETI for the three years
of the spending review period and these are published in the delivery
plan. The commitment for the Secretary of State for Innovation,
Universities and Skills to fund the public sector contribution
to ETI continues for 10 years from the 12 December 2007.
Would the Energy Programme have benefited from
the extra funds should they not have been allocated to the ETI?
4. Funding for ETI was included in the overall
allocation discussions within EPSRC. There would have been other
priority areas to consider for further funding as well as energy
if EPSRC had not been asked to fund ETI.
Lines of communication between the ETI and EPSRC
5. Professor David Delpy is a member of
the ETI Board.
Dr Alison Wall is a member of the ETI Technical Committee.
EPSRC has the opportunity to participate in ETI technical
working groups, the Communications Group and the Finance Group.
Professor David Delpy and Dr David Clarke met recently
for an informal discussion and they are likely to continue to
ETI and EPSRC are both members of the Energy Research
EPSRC SUPPORT AND
6. EPSRC strongly encourages the exploitation
of the results of research. The grant conditions relating to the
commercial exploitation of research are set out in the following
7. Unless stated otherwise, the ownership
of intellectual property, and responsibility for its exploitation,
rests with the Research Organisation. The Research Council may,
in individual cases, reserve the right to retain ownership of
intellectual property and to arrange for it to be exploited for
the national benefit and that of the Research Organisation involved.
This right, if exercised, will be set out in an additional condition.
8. It is the responsibility of the Research
Organisation, and all engaged in the research, to make every effort
to ensure that any potentially valuable results obtained in the
course of the research are exploited, and that there is a suitable
return to the Research Organisation and the researchers from any
such exploitation. The Research Organisation must ensure that
all those associated with the research are aware of, and accept,
the arrangements for exploitation.
9. Collaborative arrangements are expected
to be put on a formal basis through an agreement covering the
contributions and rights of the organisations and individuals
concerning exploitation. Such agreements must be in place before
the research begins. The terms of collaboration agreements must
not conflict with the Research Councils' terms and conditions
of research grants.
Information and advice
10. We are happy to offer advice on best
practice but do not get involved in detailed IP negotiations.
We signpost to other sources of helpful support and advice such
as Business Link, Regional Development Agencies and model collaboration
agreements through our website. We also make the academic community
aware of opportunities available through the Technology Strategy
Board and Energy Technologies Institute by publishing information
and calls on our website and in our monthly newsletter.
11. The Research Council Follow-on Fund
aims to help researchers bridge the funding gap between traditional
research grants and commercial funding, by providing support for
the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial
proposition and should place prospective business ideas in a much
stronger position to secure further support from venture capital
or seed funds.
12. Since the pilot call in 2004, EPSRC
has supported 64 projects (with a combined value of almost £4
million) that have allowed researchers to explore the commercial
potential of ideas produced from EPSRC-funded grants. EPSRC currently
issues a call for follow-on proposals each autumn and individual
awards are limited to a maximum duration of 12 months.
Research Council Business Plan Competition
13. The RCUK Business Plan Competition provides
researchers who have ideas with commercial potential the skills,
knowledge and support needed to develop a first-rate business
plan. This is provided through expert trainers, coaches and mentors.
14. The competition is open to researchers
based in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) or Public Sector
Research Establishments (PSRE) that are eligible to hold Research
Council grants from across the whole spectrum of academic research
within the remit of the seven Research Councilsfrom the
arts and biosciences, to environmental physical and social sciences
15. Postgraduates, post-doctoral researchers
and academic staff who have a business idea arising from research
and want to develop this further are encouraged to participate.
Prizes of up to £25,000 are awarded to the business plans
judged to have the best potential to help turn business ideas