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UCT TIA Seed Fund

UCT and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have entered into an agreement that will see amounts of up to R500,000 per project being made available for innovation-oriented projects conducted at UCT. The intention of the UCT TIA Seed Fund is develop preliminary research outputs w here initial proof of concept has been demonstrated, in order that they may be commercialised or better positioned to receive next-round innovation funding.

TIA's primary objective with this funding is to increase the quality and quantity of investment proposals to TIA Funds from HEI and to increase the rate of commericalisation of viable intellectual property from South African technologies emanating from HEIs.

The funding is provided to support Projects run within UCT (a level of outsourcing to third party suppliers is permitted), or to Spin-off Companies that are based on IP emanating from UCT (i.e. the UCT is licensed or assigned to them). Proposals are reviewed by a Steering Committee with representatives from TIA, RCIPS, industry and each of the following faculties: EBE, Health Sciences and Science. The Steering Committee will review new proposals for funding on a quarterly basis and monitor progress on existing projects.

Key Investment Parameters

The key investment parameters are:

  • Grant funding
  • Protected or protectable intellectual property is required, which will provide a
  • Projects should represent significant potential for further investment by TIA or other investors and/or a competitive intellectual property position and where registration is in national benefit
  • Up to R500k per project (special permission can be sought up to a ceiling of R1million, but this will delay the award).
  • TIA has the first right of refusal to fund further development of the outputs arising from the Seed Fund investment.

Application Process

The application process is as follows:

  • Application - each applicant will complete an application form which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. The form includes a project plan detailing timelines for activities and project costs. Note the fundable activities listed below. At least one project deliverable is a viable proposal or business plan for taking the idea forward at the end of the Seed project - i.e. that can be considered by TIA and/or other investors.
  • Review - RCIPS will review the application and discuss any budget/project clarification issues.
  • Approval - RCIPS will prepare a submission to the Steering Committee for approval. The submission will include an assessment of the applicant, summary of the technology, team and proposed funding amount. On approval the applicants will be required to sign a "project performance undertaking" agreeing to timelines, etc. and confirming the budget made available in the award.
  • Funding: RCIPS will submit a drawdown schedule to TIA requesting funding for all projects. A new fund will be opened by the Principal Investigator to facilitate audits.

Fundable Activities

The following activities can be supported:

  • Initial proof of concept (note that this assumes some level of proof of concept has been achieved using research funding)
  • Product, Process (comprehensive technology package) and Prototype development
  • Sourcing of IP opinions
  • Production of market samples and/or associated testing, analytical data and method development and specification sheet development
  • Refining and implementing designs
  • Conducting field studies
  • Support of certification activities
  • Piloting and scale-up and techno-economic evaluation
  • Detailed primary market research, or specialist consulting
  • Business Plan Development

The following will not be funded:

  • No GOB staff salaries or student bursaries may be supported by the fund. A student may, however, be employed to conduct project tasks
  • Faculty overheads
  • Funding should not replace research funding
  • Computer equipment will require specific motivation and it is not the intention of the fund to support the purchase of personal computing equipment
  • Conference expenses will generally not be supported and should not be included within a budget, unless special motivation has been provided

The next call for 2016 will be announced in due course. The official call notification will be confirmed with a formal request for proposals being sent via email to the Research Mailing List.

Proposals will be reviewed the Steering Committee (SC) comprised of university leaders/ technology experts / external entrepreneurs and TIA representatives. The SC may request an interview with the applicant before making a final decision on the proposal. 

Prior to completing and submitting a proposal contact the UCT TIA Seed Fund Project Manager Francois Oosthuizen (021 650 1867) to discuss your planned project.

Download the UCT TIA Seed Fund Application Template as well as the detailed criteria for the UCT TIA Seed Fund to ensure that your project qualifies.