Cranfield University is excited to announce new funding; a £3 million donation over the next three academic years to develop the next generation of leaders committed to creating a sustainable planet, and support research and business initiatives focused on tackling climate change and achieving net zero. This investment will unlock huge opportunities for so many, and it represents a transformative step in our collective ambitions to create solutions that will help us create a more sustainable world through innovation.
A series of funds to support innovative ideas and technology, product and service development
The Green Future Investments Ltd (GFIL) Fund supports an innovation funnel, covering all Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) from ideas and research, through development and deployment, and commercialisation. There are four funding streams within the fund:
- The GFIL Future Frontiers Fund will support some of the most innovative ideas, products, and technologies around sustainability and addressing climate change. Each year there will be grants in the region of £10,000 awarded to innovators in February, May and September.
- The GFIL Technology Accelerator Fund is designed to support businesses and individuals in bridging the ‘valley of death’ and prove that the product, service, or technology can work on a practical scale. Each year Cranfield will make six awards in the region of £50,000 to innovators to take ideas from benchtops to prototype products.
- The GFIL Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund both aims to support the next generation of Cranfield businesses and is designed to promote and encourage innovative thinking and success around tackling the climate crisis. There are three aspects to the Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund: the Green Seed Fund; Ready for Net Zero Growth programme scholarships; and Student Entrepreneurship Prizes. The GFIL Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund is overseen by Cranfield's Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship.
- The Brian Meredith Net Zero Scholarship programme, funded by GFIL, offers 10 prestigious scholarships of £20,000 each academic year to cover tuition fees and living expenses. Successful students are awarded scholarships by demonstrating a commitment to helping achieve the Net Zero targets of the future. Funded courses included as part of the initiative are listed on the Cranfield University website.
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.
The exciting partnership will deliver practical solutions
The £3 million donation was provided by Green Future Investments Ltd (GFIL), an organisation established to continue the environmental work and legacy of entrepreneur and ex-IBM engineer Brian Meredith.
GFIL’s focus and interests are in innovative and technological organisations or projects that seek to tackle the challenges arising from climate change. Partnering with Cranfield University in a multi-faceted programme, a series of donations will support students, staff, alumni and research projects focused on sustainability and green initiatives to achieve net zero and beyond.
The shared ambitions, values, ethics and ethos of both organisations are closely aligned and both GFIL and Cranfield University are confident that this exciting partnership will help drive climate-positive innovation.
GFIL's investment and partnership with Cranfield will benefit communities globally, creating leaders who will make a difference during this critical decade for people and the planet. A programme like this will allow Cranfield and other UK innovators to investigate ideas and develop and deliver solutions which will make a real tangible difference towards our collective Net Zero ambitions.