The GFIL Fund supports an innovation funnel, covering all TRLs – ideas and research, development, deployment, and commercialisation. As applicants develop their ideas through the TRLs they can apply for other funds within the GFIL Fund portfolio. This means that a student could win a Student Entrepreneurship Prize, and then apply for funding from the Future Frontiers Fund, the Accelerator Fund, and the Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund as they develop their idea.
Students who received a Brian Meredith Net Zero Scholarship are also eligible to apply for any of the funds within the GFIL Fund portfolio.
Click on the dropdowns below to find out more about the funding opportunities and how to apply.
Future Frontiers Fund
The Future Frontiers Fund (FFF) supports the generation of fresh and highly novel ideas, technologies, products and services. We are looking to support truly innovative leaps through small grants of approximately £10,000 to test ‘might work’ concepts.
The FFF is directed at early ideas, testing truly innovative concepts that address challenges related to tackling climate change, protecting our environment, and delivering a Net Zero future. It is aimed at the research stage (TRL 1-3): TRL 1 covers investigation of basic principles; TRL 2 is concept development and core questions investigated; and TRL 3 includes concept validation experiments or tests.
In addition, successful applicants will receive support from Cranfield University, including up to five days of a staff mentor to provide technical expertise and to help guide and coach throughout the project, and/or access to appropriate facilities that might enhance their proposed project plan (if required). This package of support will be determined at the kick-off meeting depending on the needs of the project, and the FFF doesn't require matched funding.
The award is intended to enable participants to progress their idea or early-stage technology towards validation of a ‘proof of concept’, and to enable a go/no go decision for further development. Applicants will be free to allocate the money as they wish to achieve this. Example areas to explore (not exhaustive) include:
- Technical viability, including modelling, or component/early prototype development.
- Market need and potential for end user uptake
- A viable business model
As applicants develop their ideas through the TRLs they can apply for other funds within the GFIL Fund innovation funnel, which covers all TRLs - ideas and research, development, deployment, and commercialisation. This means that a participant could win a Future Frontiers Fund award and then apply for funding from the Accelerator Fund, and the Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund as they develop their idea.
The next call for applications is open and closes on Monday 17 April 2023 at 4pm. Further details on the fund and the application process are available here.
Technology Accelerator Fund
The Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) is designed to support the technical development of innovative technology that directly addresses the challenges raised by the climate emergency, and/or reduces human impacts on the natural environment. It seeks to support innovators and facilitate the market translation of these much-needed solutions by providing critical technical and business support. As a result, it aims to address specific market barriers including:
- Technical design and independent testing.
- Reducing product development costs (‘get it right first time’).
- Providing market insights, knowledge, and contacts.
- Capacity building the innovation team (e.g., market understanding and business skills).
The TAF is an exciting opportunity to access independent technical and industry expertise, as well as specialist equipment and facilities (including laboratory/analytical services, test facilities for near-industrial or industrial scale technologies, digital and modelling competencies, and product design resources) that will help shape and develop targeted innovations that are aligned with the needs of the end user markets.
Each year Cranfield will make six awards in the region of £50,000 to start-ups, spinouts, individuals, or students with an innovation currently at Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 4 or 5. Optional training in essential business/entrepreneurial skills is available and the support can include provision of relevant market insights and intelligence. Matched funding isn't required for the TAF.
As part of the support, innovators will be able to identify their next steps - which could include applying for funding from the Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund.
Applications for the 2023 cohort are now closed. If you would like to be informed of future rounds of funding, please email GFIfunds@cranfield.ac.uk.
Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund
There are three aspects to the Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund (GFEF): the Green Seed Fund; Ready for Net Zero Growth programme scholarships; and Student Entrepreneurship Prizes.
Green Seed Fund
Cranfield University Green Seed Fund gives entrepreneurs and start-ups access to capital, alongside advice and education from the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship to help scale their businesses, in line with TRL 9.
The Green Seed Fund will offer investments of between £25,000 and £50,000 operated on a commercial basis via convertible loans. Investments from the Green Seed Fund are run in line with Cranfield University’s Seed Fund Investment process.
For more information on the Green Seed Fund qualifying criteria and application process, please contact the Bettany Centre team.
Ready for Next Zero Growth Programme Green Scholarships
The Ready for Net Zero Growth programme helps your business take a leap on its growth trajectory with a focus on embedding your business’ Net Zero ambitions within your growth plan. A number of scholarships are available to green businesses to cover full course fees for the Ready for Net Zero Growth programme and a 12-month audit to assess their progress.
Applications are now open
Deadline: 20 January 2023
For more information on the Green Scholarships and eligibility criteria, please visit our web page or contact Leslie Dunkwu, Business Development Advisor.
Student Entrepreneurship Prizes
These prestigious student prizes are awarded to the best SDG-related business ideas on the Cranfield School of Management Full-time MBA, the Management and Enterprise MSc and the Renewable Energy MSc. These prizes are awarded in line with TRLs 1 and 2 and are for students undertaking the following modules:
- Full-time MBA - Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation module
- Management and Enterprise MSc - Entrepreneurship module
- Renewable Energy MSc - Energy Entrepreneurship module
Details of these prizes and how they can be won are given to Cranfield students as part of the module. There is no open application process.
Brian Meredith Net Zero Scholarships
In addition to the funds above, we have partnered with GFI to provide ten Brian Meredith Net Zero Scholarships each year for the next three years. These £20,000 prestigious scholarships will be awarded to students based on their academic excellence, financial needs, and their future potential to make a difference and cover both tuition fees and a maintenance stipend.