Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Employ a knowledge exchange and commercialisation fellow

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Apply for funding to employ a knowledge exchange and commercialisation fellow at your research organisation.

The fellow will facilitate the development of commercial opportunities for STFC-funded research. This will support economic, societal and environmental impact.

You must be an academic at an eligible research organisation.

You do not need to name the fellow in your application. You can recruit them later.

We’ll fund the fellow for up to six years, with a review every two years.

Funding starts at 80% of the full economic cost. This reduces to 40% after two years, and 20% after four years.

This opportunity is always open. You can apply at any time. We aim to make a decision within two months of your application.

Who can apply

KEC Fellowships may be held at any eligible UK research organisation that already receives funding from the STFC core science programme (particle physics, astrophysics, nuclear physics, space science, accelerator science or computing in support of these). The organisation must also be able to demonstrate a need for the role.

Find out which organisations are eligible.

The application should be made by an eligible academic at the institution, who will be the PI on the grant. Although named KEC fellows are permitted, it is not a requirement for them to be identified by the time of application as recruitment time will be allowed. The fellow themselves should not make the application, and only applications with an eligible PI will be permitted. If there are any questions regarding eligibility, please contact the STFC office.

Please note, if a research organisation has previously held a KEC fellow (or an IPS fellow), then they must contact the office in the first instance to discuss why another fellowship is required, and how the new proposal will differ from the original.

What we're looking for

The scheme is designed to support knowledge exchange and commercialisation professionals to transfer the technologies, skills and knowledge developed through STFC research to industry and other potential users.

This includes technologies or ideas originating from our core funded areas:

  • nuclear physics
  • particle physics and particle astrophysics
  • astronomy and space science
  • accelerators and computing.

The fellow should have:

  • a relevant science background
  • experience of technology transfer
  • an appreciation of the STFC science programme
  • understanding of potential applications and industrial users.

Fellows do not need to be identified at the time of application and can be recruited later.

The fellowship can be a full-time or part-time position for up to six years and focus on:

  • commercial exploitation and economic impact
  • knowledge exchange in the STFC-funded departments of the host university.

Funding can support:

  • salary
  • training and development specific to the role
  • travel including for collaborative visits, conferences, workshops, and symposiums.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted through the Je-S system.

When submitting an outline proposal, please select:

  • Council: STFC
  • Document type: Fellowship proposal
  • Scheme: KEC Fellowship
  • Call/type/mode: KEC Fellowship Open Call

The application should consist of:

  • Je-S pro forma
  • six-page case for support (mandatory)
  • letter of support from Technology Transfer Office(s) (mandatory)
  • letter of support from any relevant heads of department (mandatory).

Letters of support from any project partners is mandatory (if relevant), and letters of support from end users/other organisations are heavily encouraged

The case for support should be no longer than six pages and conform to the font and margin guidelines in the Je-S helptext. Applications will be rejected by the office for non‐compliance. Applications should address the following headings:


What is the STFC funded research at the host university that will form the basis of the knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities for the fellow? What impact has been previously achieved from STFC-funded research? Please ensure all STFC funded areas are included.

Objectives of the fellowship

What is the overall aim of the fellowship? What are the objectives, key performance indicators and measures of success? Identify the expected outputs during this fellowship. There should also be a review of the current portfolio of technologies, skills and intellectual property that the host university will bring to the fellowship programme.

Management and development

Detail the arrangements for supervising the fellow, including mentoring, guidance and ensuring professional development of the fellow. This should clearly explain how the fellow will be embedded in both the academic department and in the teams responsible for knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities at the university.

Job specification

Include the job specification that will be used for recruitment and selection of the fellow with a focus on experience relevant to a knowledge exchange position within a community of STFC-funded researchers.


State the full cost of the project (fEC) and, if relevant, those of any collaborating universities, and provide justification for them. STFC can reduce resource requests if they feel there is insufficient justification.

How we will assess your application

Panel assessment

KEC Fellowship applications are assessed by a panel comprised of STFC office staff and members of the IPS panel, including:

  • Jason Green/Stephen Loader (STFC, Chair)
  • Derryck Reid (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Stephen McGeoch (Thales UK).

Confidentiality and peer review

STFC takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the contents of applications submitted to the KEC Fellowship scheme are treated as confidential. All members of the panel sign a non‐disclosure agreement and peer reviewers must comply with the research councils reviewer protocols – details can be found on Je‐S.

Reviewers and panel members are asked to declare conflicts of interest in relation to an application before they are asked to assess.

Response to reviewers

Each applicant has the opportunity to respond to the reviewer comments before the panel meeting. Applicants should be aware that we will request your response to reviewers approximately four to six weeks following submission.

The PI response should be no more than half a page of A4 per reviewer and no longer than two pages in total, unless otherwise stated by the office. Failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in your PI response not being taken forward to the panel meeting. For more details please see the Je-S helptext.

Criteria for assessment

Applications will be assessed against the following five criteria:

  • the extent to which the fellowship has a clear, well-defined mechanism for achieving its objectives in knowledge exchange and commercialisation
  • the extent to which the host university has the potential for exploiting research outputs from STFC funding
  • the extent to which the host university (both the department and technology transfer office) is committed to supporting the fellowship and its objectives
  • the extent to which the fellow will be supported in their personal development as a knowledge exchange professional
  • the extent to which the resources requested, relative to the anticipated outputs, represent an appropriate investment of STFC funds.

The outcome is expected to be announced within two months of submission.

Contact details

For any additional information please contact or

Additional info

Benefits of a KEC fellow

KEC fellows (formerly the IPS fellows) add value to their institution by engaging directly with academia and industry, investigating opportunities for knowledge exchange and commercialisation.

Previously, fellows have leveraged industry funding into universities, provided new opportunities for engagement and collaboration, and helped to promote the research strengths of their department. In addition, they have been involved with developing spin-out companies, patents/licences, investigating funding opportunities and developing grant applications.

This is a prestigious role for someone who wants to make a real difference in their institution as an advocate in their community, as a knowledge exchange leader, an innovator and commercialisation expert.

A KEC fellow’s role is to understand researchers, their research and promote the benefits of commercialising suitable STFC based research in their department. They should aim to promote multidisciplinary research by helping researchers collaborate with other departments and look for opportunities for researchers to work with industry solving challenges by using core STFC generated research.

STFC aims to maintain a cohort feel for our KEC fellows. To enable this, our fellows meet biannually to share best practice and provide support where needed. The meeting also gives KEC fellows the opportunity to give an update on progress in different projects and activities.

In addition, all KEC fellows have regular communication with the external innovations programme manager(s) who share opportunities for funding and collaborating in STFC and ways of engaging with wider UKRI/government opportunities.

The STFC External Innovation team operate an Innovations Club which aims to share our vision of knowledge exchange, innovation, technology and enterprise as well as funding opportunities. KEC fellows are invited to become a vital part of this virtual community playing an active role in its activities and further development.

KEC fellows are encouraged to showcase any activities they are working on in the Innovation Club newsletter. This can include event promotion, case studies, or new ideas/techniques for engagement.

Supporting documents

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