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There are some questions that we are asked regularly basis and these are gathered here.
Every project is different and we appreciate that the answers below are just the start.
To discuss your project in more detail please don’t hesitate to get in touch by phone or email

Q: What is proof of commercial concept?
A: Proof of commercial concept is the period following proof of principle and after academic research has been completed. It is also when initial market evaluation has been completed and discussions already
underway with potential and possible industrial and commercial partners. These partners could be routes to market, customers or collaborators. They are an important means by which market pull is evidenced and your understanding of the market niche is demonstrated.

Q: Will the Fund pay overhead or IP costs?
A: The Fund does not pay any overhead or IP costs.

Q: If I already have a strong industrial collaboration in place such as demonstrated by joint IP or a joint venture would I still be eligible for the Fund?

A: No, the Fund is there to help commercialise only HEI owned research and knowledge, once an external party such has company has formally invested in some fashion, it will be judged sufficiently in a market
channel not to warrant Fund intervention.

Q: Do I need to pay back the grant?

A: No the Fund is a grant payment to HEIs and is non returnable.

Q: My idea although in a company is non trading and pre revenue is it still eligible?
A: No, the Fund only pays grants at the HEI project stage, once incorporated there are other funds available for proof of concept and seed funding.

Q: Does the HEI 50% cash contribution have to be sourced by the HEI?
A: Yes, contributions from companies are judged to be vulnerable to the infringement of State Aid rules.

Q: My idea does not involve IP is it still eligible?
A: Yes, although it is normally easier to protect an idea through its IP and the majority of approved projects are of this type, a number of proposals have been approved which do not contain IP.

Q: Does the outcome need to be a spin out?
A: No, the outcome can be a spin out or a licence.

Q: If I collaborate with a company must it be in the Yorkshire and Humber region?
A: Whilst it is preferable that partners are based in the region it is acknowledged HEI collaborations span the globe, and that a return to the HEI represents a beneficial regional impact. Results from the pilot
phase of Yorkshire Concept include a joint venture based in the Netherlands, a spin out in Sheffield, and licence negotiations with companies from Yorkshire to North America.

Q: What happens if my idea fails?
A: It is recognised that Proof of Commercial Concept is a tough call and that despite the best possible preparations this is a high risk activity and not every proposal will successfully make it to market.

Q: Is pitching to the Board akin to Dragon’s Den.
A: The Board is dominated by experienced business people who want the propositions to succeed. With only around 40 minutes or so in front of the Board this is valuable and expensive time. The Board are
committed to providing sound and constructive advice to help the idea progress.

Q: If the Board turn down my idea, what happens next?
A: The Board are prepared to hear re-submissions on the basis that the submission deals with and addresses issues raised by the Board.

Q: Can a Board member give me an opinion on my proposal before the Board meeting?

A: No, because of potential conflicts of interest this is not possible.

Q: How is Sheffield Hallam University involved?
A: Sheffield Hallam University hold the Fund contract with Yorkshire Forward and in turn each HEI has signed a Partnership Agreement with Sheffield Hallam University. Each HEI contact is a member of the Fund HEI Steering
Group which meets once a quarter after every Board meeting.

Q: How can I be sure my idea will be kept confidential?
A: The Partnership Agreements include CDAs and each Board member has also signed one.


If we have not managed to answer your question here then please do get in touch or drop us a line and we will be pleased to help.



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