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LSSI Early-Stage Enterprise and Commercialisation Funding


Would you like to harness your ideas to make your research more impactful and self-sustaining by generating an income stream?  Considering enterprise and commercialisation activities from your research can have great value for social impact.  Having a beneficial social impact is often a core value for social scientists, but did you know that it can also benefit your research career whilst also enabling key outputs from your research to become self-sustaining?  

Social impact can demonstrate the significance of University of Leeds’ teaching and research outcomes, contribute to local economic growth and social wellbeing, and cultivate a healthy innovation ecosystem: Research and Innovation strategy ( Building on the Leeds Social Sciences Institute’s (LSSI’s) Commercialisation of Research out of Social Sciences (CRoSS) and funded through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), we are pleased to offer an opportunity to apply for early-stage enterprise and commercialisation funding.   

The funding is intended to support proof of concept/market research to validate the concept and establish the best enterprise pathway and business model for you.  

  • Each award will be for a maximum of £3k and last 6-12 months. The CRoSS fund assessment panel will meet three times a year, but applications can be made at any time, and will be submitted to the next available panel. Deadlines for upcoming panels are 10th July 2024, 23rd October 2024 and 22nd January 2025. 
  • All applicants must contact the LSSI IAA Manager (,  as early as possible (and no later than 3 weeks before the relevant panel deadline) before applying to this fund. 

To be eligible for the scheme: 

  • Applicants must be a researcher or academic at the University who uses social sciences methods, holding a current contract of employment at the University of Leeds that will last the duration of the proposed activity. 
  • Applications must be signed off by the applicant’s Faculty Research and Innovation Office. 
  • Applications should focus on the development of the research output impact activities that consider early enterprise or commercialisation opportunities as a route to greater impact and societal benefit. The award is not for the continuation of existing research, bridge funding or other forms of impact generation. 
  • Any form of enterprise can be considered, but should show potential to deliver economic, cultural and/or societal benefit to organisations and/or citizens outside academia and to have a pathway towards being self-financing. 
  • If the intended impact is to be achieved through commercialisation the intellectual property being commercialised must be 100% University of Leeds owned or to be covered by an agreement that UoL has rights to develop, exploit and share revenues from the IP (if you have any queries regarding IP please contact LSSI,    

All IAA awards can only cover directly incurred costs associated with the award (i.e., awards do not cover Full Economic Costs), which may include the following:   

  • Reasonable travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs (in accordance with the University expenses policy).   
  • Other reasonable costs such as registration costs at events (not including academic conferences), production of professional materials, room bookings, catering, etc.    
  • Applicants should provide costings in their application (in consultation with Faculty Research offices) and justification for the budget.    

Please ask LSSI if you are not sure whether the items you are asking for are eligible.  The following costs are not eligible:    

  • Academic staff time (however, these costs should be included in applications as UoL internal co-funding).   
  • International travel. 
  • Estates and indirect costs.    
  • Building and refurbishment costs.    
  • Patent filing or similar costs associated directly to registering intellectual property rights.   
  • Costings for students, student costs are only eligible within the PGR Placement Scheme.    
  • If funded through IAA, any cost of activities that fall beyond 31st March 2028.  

Funds may only be used to support the activities detailed in the application and must not duplicate projects already supported by other schemes. At the end of the project, you must complete a short final report detailing your achievements and next steps no later than one month after the end date.  LSSI will follow up on further progress 6 – 8 months after the end of your project. 

Deadline for second round applications: Applications submitted before 17.00 (GMT) on Wednesday 10th July 2024 will be considered by the summer Panel meeting. Applications received after this deadline will be considered at the next panel meeting. 

Where to send your application: Please send your completed form to, with the subject line: CRoSS – Early-Stage Commercialisation Funding.   

Application format:  Submit one-side of A4 (size 11 font, normal or moderate margins), using the LSSI CRoSS Early-Stage Commercialisation Funding Application Form, plus a second page for your financial table (costs requested) and a third page with one of the business model canvases completed from the LSSI CRoSS Guidance. 

Process for selecting projects: All applications will be evaluated by a Panel (including academics and staff from Research and Innovation Service) for the quality of the research commercialisation idea (assessment criteria: maturity of the research input, feasibility, and societal benefit).  A short online interview with the panel may be required, LSSI will be in contact after the deadline with the applicant to arrange. Decisions will be communicated within 10 working days of the deadline.