UCT TIA Seed Fund

UCT and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have entered into an agreement that will see amounts of up to R650,000 per project being made available for innovation-oriented projects conducted at UCT. The intention of the UCT TIA Seed Fund is to develop preliminary research outputs where 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 (e.g. the Technology Development Fund) from HEI and to increase the rate of commercialisation 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 IP is licensed or assigned to them). Proposals are reviewed by a Steering Committee with representatives from TIA, RC&I, industry and each of the following faculties: EBE, Health Sciences and Science. The Steering Committee will review new proposals for funding in line with calls from TIA and formally assess progress on existing projects on a quarterly basis.

Key Investment Parameters

The key investment parameters are:

  • Grant funding
  • Protected or protectable intellectual property is required
  • Projects should represent significant potential for further investment by TIA or other investors
  • Up to R650k per project (special permission can be sought up to a ceiling of R1million, but this will delay the award as the decision is taken by separate structures within TIA.  UCT strongly discourages proposals >R650k).
  • 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 discussing timelines for stated activities and project costs. Note the fundable activities listed below. At least one project deliverable should be a viable funding 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  – RC&I will perform an initial assessment and discuss any budget/project clarification issues with the applicant
  • Approval   - RC&I 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 by the Steering Committee, the applicants will be required to sign a project performance undertaking agreeing to timelines, etc. and confirming the budget made available in the award.
  • Award – The Steering Committee ranks all approved application and submits the list to TIA.  TIA allocates funding to projects according to their ranking and the availability of funds within TIA.
  • Funding : RC&I will submit a drawdown schedule to TIA requesting funding for all approved 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

Notifications of formal calls for applications will be announced on the UCT Research Mailing List as soon as TIA opens the call window. RC&I endeavours to develop proposals in conjunction with the researchers at UCT to enable high quality submissions. We advise the UCT community interact with RC&I well in advance to ensure a submission meets all the requirements. The 2019/2020 call for applications will be announced via the Research Mailing List.

Prior to completing and submitting a proposal, please contact Mr Francois Oosthuizen (021 650 1867) to discuss your planned project.

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