Research and knowledge exchange

Working with business

Working with business can be a great way to realise the potential of your research, develop lasting collaborative partnerships and access new funding opportunities.

The University’s Innovation and Business Partnerships Team can support you to work with non-academic partners, to protect and commercialise your knowledge and expertise and to develop your knowledge-based enterprise activity.

The University of Sussex Strategy 2025 encourages partnerships with external organisations, especially where interactions stimulate innovation and contribute to research dissemination. These partnerships support us with developing “Research with Impact” and allow us to “Engage for Change”, addressing real world challenges collaboratively.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) measures the success of universities in generating income through collaboration with non-academic partners, taking an enterprising approach and helping the economy to grow.

The Innovation and Business Partnerships team assists academics across the University in the context of these strategic objectives to:

  • maximise the commercial potential of the University’s R&D capabilities and technical facilities
  • promote the University’s reputation for delivering practical, successful solutions to economic and social challenges to showcase the University’s world-leading expertise
  • access new streams of funding with commercial partners
  • boost the University’s KEF results / increase future HEIF allocations

The bulk of the University’s collaboration with external non-academic partners fall within one of the following categories:

Co-created research involving collaboration with a business lead, with one or more non-HE partners.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • help with building a network of project partners
  • IP protection advice
  • project registration for central processing
  • guidance and facilitation for long-term non-academic research collaborations
  • exploration of future commercial developments with partners.

Income distribution - 100% FEC. For surplus above FEC:

  • 40% to Investigators
  • 40% to School
  • 20% to University Research Development Fund

Research financed by a non-HE partner that leads Sussex academics to make new discovery.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • brokering of business relationships
  • provision of costings and guidance on pricing
  • negotiation of commercial contractual terms and conditions
  • IP protection advice
  • project registration for central processing
  • client and contract management for large contracts (>£1m)
  • guidance and facilitation for long term non-academic research collaborations
  • exploration of future commercial developments with partners.

Income distribution - 100% FEC. For surplus above FEC:

  • 40% to Investigators
  • 40% to School
  • 20% to University Research Development Fund

Innovate UK scheme to support a long term Sussex graduate placement with an SME to boost their growth and productivity through transformational innovation.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • brokering of business relationships
  • provision of costings
  • preparation and submission of applications
  • contract and project management
  • monitoring and reporting requirements from Innovate UK.

Income distribution:

University remunerated at full economic costs (ie direct costs + overheads).

SMEs can claim 67% of their costs / larger companies can claim 50% funding from Innovate UK.

Academic work undertaken for non-HEI clients on the strength of University-based academic knowledge, capability and know-how. Examples include analytical reviews; problem-solving; provision of expert advice and/or services. Sussex Consultancy Services will build the reputation and external credentials of the University’s business and public sector facing offers. See “Other Services” in the current Policy on External Professional Activities.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • targeting of consultancy services to a relevant customer base
  • brokering business relationships
  • provision of costing and guidance on pricing
  • negotiation of commercial contractual terms and conditions in accordance with the University’s financial regulations
  • IP protection advice
  • project registration for central processing
  • customer relationship management for ’repeat business’ clients
  • guidance and facilitation for long term non-academic research collaborations
  • exploration of future commercial developments with partners.

Income distribution. For surplus above FEC:

  • 40% to project leader
  • 40% to School
  • 20% to University

Delivery of non-accredited training or continuing professional development to non-academic clients. See “Other Services” in the current Policy on External Professional Activities.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • Provision of costing and guidance on pricing
  • guidance and facilitation for long-term non-academic research collaborations
  • exploration of future commercial developments with partners.

Income distribution. For surplus above FEC:

  • 40% to project leader
  • 40% to School
  • 20% to University

External hire of technical facilities and equipment to non-Sussex clients (who can include other HEIs). See “Other Services” in the current Policy on External Professional Activities.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • targeting of facilities to a relevant customer base
  • provision of costing and guidance on pricing
  • guidance and facilitation for long-term non-academic research collaborations
  • exploration of future commercial developments with partners.

Income distribution. For surplus above FEC:

  • 40% to project leader or School if no project leader exists
  • 40% to School
  • 20% to University

Short term, non-transformational external activity in an expert capacity, such as:

  • advice to a company on its research, product development, or manufacturing process
  • membership of a steering or advisory group of a commercial project or trial
  • membership of an advisory group for a public sector body for a specific project or activity Interpretation of the results of analysis
  • acting as an expert witness or undertaking assessments.

Innovation and Business Partnership team services:

  • provision of costing and guidance on pricing
  • project registration for central processing
  • guidance and facilitation for long-term non-academic research collaborations
  • exploration of future commercial developments with partners

Income distribution:

  • 85% to consultants
  • 10% to School
  • 5% to University

Find out more about private consultancy and how to initiate a project.

The Innovation and Business Partnerships team provides advice and guidance for the following:

IP protection and support to develop a spin-out or start-up

Advice on and funding for the protection of your intellectual property and support for the detailed stages of establishing a spin-out. Find out more.

Research Impact Acceleration Accounts

Provision of seed funding and other support to stimulate initial collaborative activities with non-academic organisations to demonstrate the impact of research (ESRC and STFC related). Find out more.

Local Economic Development opportunities

Access to and advice on regional economic and business partnerships, including support for regional funding bids.

Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

Advice and guidance on regulatory and financial frameworks for knowledge exchange.