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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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HEFCE-funded higher education institutions should email first round bids to by noon on Monday 10 July 2017. They should email expressions of interest for the second round to by noon on Monday 26 June 2017.

Executive summary


1. This document details policies, objectives and methods for the allocation of an additional £100 million to incentivise university collaboration in research commercialisation to contribute to the delivery of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, based on established Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) methods. It calls for first round bids and expressions of interest for second round development.

Key points

2. The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) aims to stimulate strategic collaboration between universities, which enables them to pool expertise, build connecting capacity and share good practice. The fund complements and builds on established HEIF mechanisms.

3. Universities will be informed separately of additional formula allocations totalling £15 million for 2017-18 from the CCF. The majority of funding, £85 million, will be allocated for competitive projects and sector-wide enhancements, to be used by March 2021.

4. We are now calling for first round bids which meet fully the CCF guidance and criteria in this document to allocate a total of up to £20 million. Expressions of interest for second round bids are also invited, which will form the basis for partnership formation events over the summer. We are establishing a steering group to oversee development of the fund, which may call on other expertise as required.

5. First round bidders need to be confident that their collaboration is well founded and that they fully meet the guidance and criteria for the fund set out in this document. We are seeking exceptional projects that will generate major benefits through collaboration to deliver the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

6. We expect to refine the guidance and criteria for the fund on the basis of the outcomes of the first round bids, feedback from second round development and any new priorities identified by Government. We will issue a call for second round bids for allocation of up to £65 million, along with further information on monitoring and evaluation requirements for the fund, in autumn 2017.

Action required

7. First round bids should be sent, by email only, to, by noon on Monday 10 July 2017. Expressions of interest for the second round should be sent, by email only, to, by noon on Monday 26 June 2017.

Date: 19 April 2017

Ref: 2017/03

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Technology transfer, Research commercialisation, University-business links, Strategic planning, Regional economic development, Knowledge exchange

Enquiries should be directed to:

Alice Frost, tel 0117 931 7101, email

Jo Allatt, tel 0117 931 7133, email

Read FAQs on the Connecting Capability Fund