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SPRINT - funding and academic support for space related SME projects

Posted on 17/07/2019

SPRINT provides SMEs with funding and access to the expertise in the UK’s top space universities. Applications open all year round.

SPRINT is the SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology, a unique partnership of top UK space universities, industry, government agencies and the investment community dedicated to supporting the growth of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK though the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

SPRINT provides SMEs unprecedented funded access to the expertise (people, knowledge, facilities, applications, technologies and training) in the UK’s top space  universities to support the development of new products and services enabled though space for their core markets. Through its partners, SPRINT connects with the UK’s space innovation ecosystem helping SMEs (in any stage of their growth journey) find the technical and business support they need to take their business to the next level. SPRINT is delivered by the University of Leicester, University of Edinburgh, the Open University, University of Southampton and theUniversity of Surrey.

Technologies developed for space, and the data that is beamed back to Earth from satellites in orbit can have profound effects and benefits for products and services destined for other sectors. From agriculture to tourism, financial services to healthcare, space data and technologies can play their part in enabling innovation in the non-space sectors and SPRINT university partners have decades of experience in supporting these cross-sectoral initiatives.

Funding available

SPRINT Innovation Vouchers can help fund projects of two types:

  • ‘Entry Point’: Short projects up to a total project value of £50,000 in which SMEs can access the space expertise capabilities of one or more of the partner universities to address key challenges on the trajectory to full commercialisation of their product or service. Typically these projects are for earlier stage development and feasibility studies. Higher technical risk is acceptable as long as the appropriate efforts in business plan development and market assessment are demonstrated (or are incorporated as part of the project).
  • ‘Lift Off’: An intensive programme of support to help bring products and services to market in shorter timescales. With support for project values up to £150,000, SMEs can access the expertise, facilities, knowledge, technology and training of the partner universities to shorten technical development, testing, and production engineering timescales. These projects are to accelerate the development of products and services, bringing them quicker to the market than would otherwise be possible. The end point of a project should be a closer-to-market product or service and a clear plan towards completion and launch into the chosen market.

SPRINT funds the university’s costs in delivering the collaborative project whilst your company funds your own costs. For any collaborative project to be funded by SPRINT Innovation Vouchers the company is expected to contribute at least 40% of the total combined costs of delivering the project whilst SPRINT funds up to 60% of the project costs.

To find out more about SPRINT, visit their website.

SPRINT also run a series of events related to space and technology funding: for a complete list, click here. Upcoming events include Satuccino, a monthly networking event held in Harwell for individuals or organisations who use satellite technology or data (next event 4th September after a summer break), and the Food Security and Resilience Copernicus Hackathon (19th September), in whichteams will work collaboratively using Copernicus data “coding experience” practically to develop solutions to address global and local needs applicable to us all based on specific food security challenges.

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