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Proof of Principle

Proof of Principle (PoP)

One of the key challenges in commercialising University research is access to the early stage funding necessary to take a novel idea to an early stage of proof - thereby validating the commercial potential in order to attract additional investment. To overcome this funding challenge, the University has developed a ‘Proof-of-Principle’ (PoP) programme to support projects with significant potential to deliver economic impact via either licensing or creation of a spin-out.

The award of up to £10,000 is intended to move the projects to the next stage of proof. For example, to develop an early prototype, more in-depth market understanding or the generation of additional data to support validation of the idea. The focus of the fund is to provide short-term investment to develop early stage ideas, where there are some preliminary findings, but no clear route to the marketplace. The programme has been designed to help you prepare your knowledge and technology for commercialisation. The programme is not intended to support research projects for which no preliminary findings have been generated. It is designed to help academics demonstrate the potential for economic impact (via either licensing or creation of a spin-out) of a new concept, technology or invention and to highlight the need for and type of additional development support that would be required to take the technology closer to the market place.

It is intended that there will be 3 calls for this programme during the 2023-24 academic year, the next of which shall take place as outlined in the timeline below:

Mon 2 October 2023

PoP call opens

Wed 25 October 2023 (5PM)

Expressions of interest to have been submitted to the IP and Commercialisation Team along with IDF (if IDF not submitted previously)

Wed 1 November 2023 (5PM)

Deadline for submission of completed Application Form to Gareth Caves (

Week beginning 6 November 2023

Review Panel will meet to assess Application Forms

Week beginning 13 November 2023

Applicants will receive feedback and offers as decided by the Review Panel

This is an open call across all QUB faculties.

For further details on this scheme, or to discuss your potential applications, please contact Gareth Caves ( in the IP and Commercialisation team. Details on the scheme, and the application form, can be accessed in the documents below.  

Useful documents and links