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UCT Pre-Seed Fund

Launched in 2008, the UCT  Pre-Seed Fund aims to provide sought after, competitive financial support for early stage development and to bridge the funding gap in the innovation chain before other funding streams can be accessed (e.g. Donor development funding, Technology Innovation Agency Seed Fund, Technology Innovation Agency Tech Development Funding, Industrial Development Corporation, venture capital, Technology Incubation support and funding etc.) or to enable the commercialisation through spinout formation or licensing of a complete technology package.

The ultimate goal, is to enable the intended impact that UCT Researchers want to achieve through the application of their research outputs, and service and technological innovation.

The UCT Pre-Seed Fund is provided by the University Research Committee and administered by RC&I. The Pre-Seed Fund has two levels of funding: the Explorer and the Concept Funds. These are available to UCT staff and students (supervised by a staff member).

Explorer Funding

Explorer grant funding of up to R20,000 is available for short-term projects typically up to 4 months in duration. Fundable activities for the Explorer fund includes:

  • Building and refining prototypes
  • preliminary primary market research
  • accessing market reports (Secondary market research)
  • conducting detailed intellectual property assessments
  • obtaining input and services from consultants, experts or specialists
  • production of market samples
  • gathering information that will assist the development and writing of business plans

Prior to completing and submitting a proposal contact Technology Commercialisation Manager, Saberi Marais;(021 650 1746) to discuss your planned project. There are no specific deadlines for applications and proposals can be submitted at any stage of the year, using the template. RC&I will review the applications and award funds on an ongoing basis. All decisions made by the review panel are final. A total of R 100,000 is made available for Explorer fund awards per annum.

Download the Explorer Funding Application Template above right. Review the detailed criteria for the Pre-Seed Funding in the downloadable document above right to ensure that you qualify.

Concept Funding

Concept grant funding of up to R100,000 per project is available (larger amounts may be considered depending on special circumstances and motivation) for projects of up to 12 months in duration. Eligible activities include:

  • refining and implementing designs, building and iterating prototypes
  • verifying applications of the service or technological innovation
  • conducting short-run field studies
  • preparing technology demonstrations
  • demonstrating proof-on-concept
  • production of market validation samples
  • Certification and/or developing samples needed for regulatory approval
  • Piloting and scale-up
  • Technology development (development of a comprehensive technology package demonstrating aspects such as reproducibility, use of commercially available feedstock, raw materials or parts)

Proposals will be reviewed by an Advisory Committee comprised of university leaders/experts who are not directly involved with the technology. The Advisory Committee may request an interview with the applicant before making a final decision on the proposal. All decisions made by the review panel are final. A total of R 400,000 is made available for Concept Fund awards per annum.

Prior to completing and submitting a proposal contact the Technology Commercialisation Manager, Saberi Marais (021 650 1746) to discuss your planned project.

Download the Concept Funding Application Template as well as the detailed criteria for the Pre-Seed Funding above right to ensure that your project qualifies.