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Royal Society Innovation Award

This scheme is for scientists who wish to develop a proven novel concept through to a near-market product ready for commercial exploitation.

If the idea or concept is at an earlier stage of development, you should apply for the Royal Society Translation Award, which provides initial support to test the feasibility of a project.

Dr. Natalie Wheeler and Reza Sandoghchi, Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton

This award and the Royal Society Translation Award are designed to promote innovation and fill the funding gap between scientific research and the exploitation of an idea through venture capital investment, they are replacing the Brian Mercer Award for Innovation and the Brian Mercer Feasibility Award.

The principal differences between the Royal Society Innovation Award and the Brian Mercer Award for Innovation are:

  • Two Royal Society Innovation Awards will be available each year of up to £250,000: one for research in the Physical sciences and one for research in the Biological sciences.
  • The selection process will include an interview for shortlisted candidates to pitch their proposal to the Innovation and Translation Awards Panel. Training to prepare candidates for this will be offered by the Royal Society (at no cost to the candidate).
  • The Royal Society will not reserve the right to convert the Innovation Awards into equity in the event of successful exploitation.
  • A bespoke training and support package will be offered to successful candidates, to contribute towards the impact of the award.

Am I eligible to apply?

The scheme covers all the natural sciences.

You can apply for this scheme if you:

  • have a PhD or are of equivalent standing in your profession
  • hold a substantive post in either a university or a not-for-profit research organisation in the UK
  • expect to be in post for at least the duration of the project

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

The scheme provides an award of up to £250,000 (including VAT where applicable).

Awards are not expected to exceed 24 months in duration.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (e-GAP).

All applications are initially checked by the selection panel chair for eligibility and then reviewed by the members of the panel with the most appropriate scientific expertise.

Following this a shortlist is drawn up and shortlisted proposals are reviewed by two independent referees suggested by the panel.

A second shortlist is then drawn up, and candidates are invited to interview, and to attend a training course to prepare them for the interview.

Candidates interview, and the selection panel considers the candidates before reaching a decision.

Please note that interviews for the awards are held at the Royal Society. At the first shortlisting stage, applicants will be informed of the dates of the training and interview, and are asked to keep those dates free. Only those who are successful at the second shortlisting stage will be invited to interview.

Find out more about the Royal Society's Science and Industry programme.

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