The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) supports higher education providers in sharing good practice and capacity across the higher education sector, forging external technological, industrial and regional partnerships, and delivering the government’s priorities.
The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) complements the Higher Education Innovation Fund by supporting higher education provider collaboration in commercialisation through competitive projects and formula funds.
The fund aims to strengthen the contribution of English higher education institutions (HEIs) to productivity and economic growth and to delivery of the objectives of the government’s Industrial Strategy. This will be done by enhancing effectiveness in use of the university knowledge base to deliver commercial and business applications and wider applications for the economy and society.
This will happen through stimulating strategic collaboration between HEIs across England which:
- delivers pooling of knowledge exchange (KE) expertise and capabilities so that businesses and other users can access a range of KE offers or critical mass of knowledge
- builds capacity to provide cross-university responses to technological or industrial sectoral or interdisciplinary challenges, or to regional alignments and challenges
- incentivises sharing of expertise in KE and commercialisation and dissemination of good practice across the higher education sector.
There are 18 projects funded by the CCF. Overall, these projects involve 60 higher education providers collaborations and more than 128 individual businesses and investors, as well as wider business investor networks. In addition, more than 13 different local enterprise partnerships are benefitting.
In line with government guidance, we are currently developing proposals for the programme long-term, with allocations to new projects dependent on future public funding decisions.
Research England has allocated an additional £25 million won competitively to 11 CCF projects to expand innovative commercialisation activities across the collaborating universities and partners. This follow-on funding is for one or two-year awards and builds on £86.4 million allocated as the initial investment in the 18 projects over 2018 to 2021.
The follow-on funding aims to expand upon the original project scope – extending activity towards more ambitious outcomes, deepening existing collaborations and developing new ones, and adding activities which realise further benefits from the current projects.
What’s the background to the connecting capability fund?
In its 2016 Autumn Statement, the government allocated additional funding for science and research of £100 million over 2017-2018 to 2020-2021 to incentivise universities to collaborate in commercialisation. This funding was allocated to complement and build on established Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) mechanisms.
£15 million of the CCF was allocated by formula in 2017 to 2018, through a 10% addition to main HEIF institutional allocations.
The CCF funding for 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 has been allocated through competitive project funding, with supported projects beginning from April 2018.