The Impact and IP team support the translation of University research into real-world impact through commercialisation or enterprise activities. Funding is available to support opportunities from all of the university faculties.

The University of Sheffield has a source of research commercialisation funding. This funding supports the development of validated business plans that will commercially exploit University Intellectual Property.

IP is usually commercialised through establishment of a new spinout company or through negotiation of an IP-licence to an existing company. The nature of university research means that there are often technical and commercial hurdles to overcome before a project is suitable for spinout or licence.

The University of Sheffield has a source of funding that boost the commercialisation potential of a project. The IP Development and Commercialisation (IPDaC) Fund is the University’s internal investment fund. 


The IPDaC Fund was established in 2016 to significantly expand the volume and type of commercialisation projects that the University supports. The IPDAC fund supports projects that are based on University owned-IP and have the potential to create a financial return. Funds invested in opportunities upon approval of a business case. Business cases are developed by academics in partnership with the Impact and IP Team (or Sheffield Healthcare Gateway for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health).

IPDaC funds are an investment in an IP-commercialisation opportunity, rather than a grant. The application process requires the academic lead and the commercialisation manager to articulate how the investment will create a financial return to the University.

IPDaC funding can support both technical and commercial aspects of a project. The fund has the following approval thresholds:

Threshold Typical Purpose Approval
<£10k 'Pathfinder' project – e.g. using a consultant to undertake customer interviews as part of market research Head of Impact and IP
<£50k 'Proof of Principle' project – e.g. funding for development of a prototype IPDaC internal panel –
VP for Research and Innovation, Commercial Director,
Faculty Directors of Research
<£150k Investment into a Spinout as part of a larger 'seed' round IPDaC internal panel + external lay members

Examples of projects that have received IPDaC funding in recent years are:

Dr Dermot Breslin – Premonition (Faculty of Social Sciences - Management School)
Funding was used to develop an understanding of the potential market for the Premonition decision support tool for planning community fire prevention activities.

Prof Simon Jones – Redbrick Molecular Limited (Faculty of Science, Chemistry)
IPDaC funds invested into a new spinout company to manufacture novel chemicals for sale into the pharmaceutical R&D industry.

Prof Richard Mead – Keapstone Therapeutics (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health)
Investment into a spinout company alongside Parkinson’s UK.

Mr Mark Cocking – THREAD (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre)
IPDaC investment for development of a commercial prototype to be used for marketing the technology.

Key information:

  • IPDaC funding is very flexible and can be used to develop both commercial and technical aspects of an opportunity
  • IPDaC funding may be invested into a company. It may also be used for ‘internal’ projects.
  • The IPDaC fund does not cover overheads so any funding bid must have prior approval from Head of Department.
  • A project must have been registered in the University’s commercialisation system. You can do this by submitting an ICE.
  • The fund can only support projects that are based on University-owned IP.
  • IPDaC investment will either be top-sliced from any resulting licence/royalty, or will be reflected in the University’s equity stake in a resulting spinout.
  • Applications are submitted as a collaboration between the academic lead and appropriate business manager.

Who to contact

If you have any queries about the above or about the commercialisation process, then please contact your Commercialisation Manager.

Contact us