Fourth EBNet Business Interaction Vouchers Call Now Open

Funding available to encourage and support collaboration between academic and industrial partners.

The Environmental Biotechnology Network (EBNet) provides Business Interaction Vouchers (BIV) to encourage and support collaboration between businesses and academic organisations. BIVs enable industry partners to ‘buy’ an academic’s time and expertise to look at a clearly defined and specific industry problem, with the intention that the academic partner will be able to provide novel expertise, solutions and resources which would otherwise be unavailable to the industry.

Projects support by BIVs are intended to foster new academic/industry partnerships and result in outcomes such as:

  • A longer-term relationship.
  • Improved interaction.
  • New research technology transfer projects.

Priority will be given to proposals that foster industry/academic links by supporting the implementation of new technology through troubleshooting and problem-solving research. Progression through TRL levels 1-4 and projects with the potential for further development and impact will be prioritized.

BIVs are not intended to support new research but rather to support the industry partner to access academic expertise and resources to examine a specific industry issue. The grants should fund new collaborations as a priority, but can be used to fund continued collaborations.

All applicants must be members of EBNet. Applicants who are not members are able to register on the EBNet website. The academic partner must be employed (at lecturer level or above) at an institution eligible for BBSRC funding, which generally includes Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), Research Council Institutes (RCIs) and approved Independent Research Organisations (IROs). The industry partner must be based in the UK.

PhD students may work on the project, but are subject to the 6 hour rule governing the maximum amount of additional work they can undertake during one week. Any work conducted by PhDs may not form part of their thesis.

There is a total fund of £100,000 to fund the BIV scheme during Phase II of the EBNet/NIBB programme, which ends in 2024. Vouchers are funded at 80% of full economic costs (fEC) on projects with a total cost of between £5,000 and £20,000 (ie a maximum award value of between £4,000 and £16,000). The voucher is paid to the academic partner. The industrial partner must match-fund the value of the award, of which 50% must be in cash.

The maximum project duration is six months.

Applications can be submitted until 27 October 2022.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)