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SPRINT Guide

SPRINT Guide – everything you need to know about the Programme

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The UK has a world-leading and growing space sector. In our modern society, space is integral to how we go about our daily lives, our understanding of how to protect and benefit the world we live in and pushes the boundaries of scientific discovery and technology development. The UK Government has set an ambitious target to the UK space sector to capture 10% of the global market by 2030 and you, supported by SPRINT, can help to make this a reality.

It’s not all about the space sector, however. 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.

This guide describes your journey through the SPRINT programme.

At its heart, SPRINT is a network of universities, businesses, government agencies, business support organisations and the investment community all working towards the goal of growing the UK space sector, and economy as a whole, through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

As you are here, you’ve already discovered SPRINT and it is free and easy for you to become part of the Network. Simply by providing your contact details here and joining our mail list you will receive monthly newsletters showcasing our latest news and features, informing you of up-coming events and workshops and highlighting some of the world-leading expertise and facilities that you can access through SPRINT.

You can also investigate this website at anytime for all your SPRINT information needs and follow us on social media via Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up-to-date with all the latest.

Once you have joined the Network the next stage in your SPRINT journey is to find out how SPRINT can help your business. This is best achieved by getting on touch with one of our SPRINT Innovation Advisers.

SPRINT Innovation Adviser
Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser is your key liaison for accessing the benefits of SPRINT. They will spend some time with you to understand your business, its products and services, the market(s) it operates in and your business growth needs. Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will assess this information and then, working with you, try to identify expertise and capabilities from across the SPRINT partner universities and wider network that could benefit your business growth needs. It does not matter which SPRINT Innovation Adviser you first speak to as they are trained to represent all the SPRINT university partners. SPRINT support may come from more than one SPRINT university partner and so you may be referred to an additional/alternative SPRINT Innovation Adviser at another SPRINT partner university depending on your business need and identified SPRINT-enabled solution(s).

Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will also work with you, and their academic colleagues at the SPRINT university partner, to develop the idea of your SPRINT-enabled solution into a collaborative project between your business and the SPRINT university partner. Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will also guide you though the application process to apply for a SPRINT Innovation Voucher to enable that collaborative project to occur.

Find out more about our SPRINT Innovation Advisers here.

Confidentiality and publicity
We understand the need for confidentiality when discussing your developing technologies and business needs with your SPRINT Innovation Adviser. For your SPRINT Innovation Adviser to be able to identify the most appropriate form of SPRINT support however some non-confidential business information and personal information may be shared with the SPRINT Innovation Advisers at other SPRINT university partners, non-university partners and the SPRINT Management Team at the University of Leicester. If your engagement with the SPRINT Innovation Adviser and/or academic expert requires the sharing of confidential information then non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can be put in place.

SPRINT is a publicly funded innovation programme and as such we have reporting obligations to our funders, and a need to maintain a public presence. As a participant in the Programme your company should expect this to be public knowledge (and publishable).

Full details of what data we collect and how we use it can be found in our data protection privacy notice here.

If you have any queries on how we use the information you share with us, please direct them in the first instance to your SPRINT Innovation Adviser.

When you have identified a way for you to collaborate with a SPRINT university partner on a collaborative project to support your business growth you can apply for a SPRINT Innovation Voucher to help fund the project. Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will supply the necessary application form and guidance and will help you and the academic team from the SPRINT university partner to complete and submit the form.

SPRINT Innovation Vouchers
SPRINT provides Innovation Vouchers to help fund collaborative projects between your company and the SPRINT university partner(s). These projects can enable you to exploit space technologies and data in a wide range of commercial activities including (but not limited to):

  • Space products / technologies in the space sector
  • Space technologies and data deployed in non-space markets and applications
  • Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and non-space technologies deployed in space markets

SPRINT Innovation Vouchers can also be used to support feasibility studies, business planning, market analysis and other non-technical activities vital in product development cycle.

You can apply for up to £50,000 to help enable your collaborative project. 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 a SPRINT Innovation Voucher the voucher can fund up to 60% of the project costs. The remainder of the project costs can be met  through contributions from the company, university and/or any other collaborative partner. The value of company contribution however must be at least two thirds the value of the Innovation Voucher.

For example if the University’s costs were £30,000 then the Company would be expected to contribute a minimum of £20,000 of resource to the project, making the total value of the project £50,000.

Company contribution is the summed total of the expenditure incurred by the Company in delivering their project activities under the collaboration. This can take many forms (summarised below) but must be evidenced (and able to be evidenced) in case of an audit.

Company contribution generally fits into one of two categories:
Existing resources assigned to the project

  • Direct costs of staff assigned to the project
  • Staffing overhead (fixed at 20% of total staffing effort assigned to the project)
  • Pro rata costs to use existing Company resources for the purposes of the projects (not already included in overheads). This could include specialist equipment, data, software and facilities with the costs calculated on the basis of the Companies deprecation policy, and

New resources purchased for the project

  • Equipment, consumables software, data, etc…
  • Hiring new staff to work on the project (or pro-rata effort)
  • Sub-contracting / consultancy costs
  • Travel and subsistence
  • A cash contribution to the University to part-fund some of the University’s costs

Ideally, the Company contribution should consist of at least 50% new resource and up to 50% existing resource. The Programme however recognises that this is not always achievable due to the nature of the project. The balance of the total project costs assigned across the SPRINT grant and the Company contributions forms part of the value for money assessment at application review. Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will work with you and the University academic(s) to design your collaborative project within the SPRINT funding guidelines.

More complex projects involving multiple partners are also possible. You should work with your SPRINT Innovation Adviser to design these in compliance with the contribution expectations highlighted above.

Eligibility
Any UK-registered SME is eligible to receive Innovation Vouchers from SPRINT.

Some company structures can be complex and include involvement of non-UK entities. The outcomes of a collaboration project funded by a SPRINT Innovation Voucher should contribute to an increase in growth (i.e. in GVA and jobs) in the UK operations of the business. Therefore, only UK-registered companies with active R&D activities based in the UK will be considered eligible .

SPRINT has been designed to support growth in SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises). We use the Companies House definition for determining company size and you must be a micro-entity, small company or medium-sized company to be eligible.

Any questions you may have on your business’s eligibility to receive funded support from SPRINT should be directed to your SPRINT Innovation Adviser.

Intellectual Property
SPRINT has been designed to support activities that leads to business growth in the UK. Intellectual Property, its development and its commercial exploitation is an important factor in achieving this. Due to the breadth and diversity of the SPRINT capability portfolio and company business need, the consideration of Intellectual Property rights arising from collaborative projects funded by SPRINT Innovation Vouchers is on a project-by-project basis. However, the general principle of SPRINT is to ensure the company is best placed to commercially exploit the outputs of any collaborative project.

It is advised that you discuss and agree early on with your SPRINT Innovation Adviser any Intellectual Property considerations prior to submitting an application for a SPRINT Innovation Voucher.

Subsidy Control
SPRINT supports UK businesses to invest in research, development and innovation through collaboration with SPRINT university partners. Some of the support we provide operates under the UK’s subsidy control regulations.

Innovation Vouchers are awarded under the de minimis subsidy control regulations of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement. Under these regulations, companies cannot accept subsidies totalling more than £350,000 in any rolling 3 yr. period.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to accurately declare all relevant previous funding received under de minimis regulations as part of the application process.

What happens after you have submitted your application?
SPRINT is an ‘always open’ call however we do have monthly application deadlines falling on the 3rd Friday of every month. Applications are submitted for review by your SPRINT Innovation Adviser. From time-to-time SPRINT reserves the right to change these deadlines, your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will inform you of this should it occur.

How your application is assessed?
After the deadline, applications will be sent for assessment. All applications are assessed on individual merit and are assessed against the same set of scoring criteria. Your application is reviewed and assessed by a panel of SPRINT Innovation Advisers and independent advisers. Once your application has been assessed, you will be informed of the final decision by your SPRINT Innovation Adviser, normally within 3 weeks of application.

What happens if you are successful?
If your application is successful then you will need to enter into the SPRINT Collaboration Agreement directly with the (lead) SPRINT university partner supporting your project. Your SPRINT Innovation Adviser will facilitate this and you should expect, and aim, to enter into this Agreement within one month of receiving notification of the success of your application.

Once the Agreement is signed, SPRINT will seek to make a public announcement about the commencement of the project. This will either take the form of the ‘public description of the project’ supplied in the application via social media and the SPRINT website or a more considered press release written by the SPRINT communications team. The latter option is by agreement with the company and the SPRINT university partner, both having full editorial and approval oversight.

What happens if you are unsuccessful?
We appreciate the time and effort you will have put into your application and understand the frustration if your application is unsuccessful. We will however provide constructive feedback on your application and suggestions for you to consider how your application could be enhanced. With agreement from your SPRINT Innovation Adviser we encourage you to re-submit your application into the programme when you have had the opportunity to consider and incorporate the feedback into your application.

Once the SPRINT Collaboration Agreement is in place then you are free to commence the project with your SPRINT university partner and should do so following the project schedule set out in the Agreement. The project lead from the SPRINT university partner will be expected to complete a brief monthly progress report to help your SPRINT Innovation Adviser monitor the progress of the project. Any challenges, and successes, encountered should be reported to your SPRINT Innovation Adviser.

Publicity

Once the funding is awarded you will be expected support communications activity publicising the award, however we try to make this as easy and quick as possible. You will be contacted by the SPRINT communication lead who, following a short telephone conversation with yourself, will write a press release about the project. This will then be reviewed and approved by yourself and the partner university prior to going public. Examples of this activity for other SPRINT projects can be found here.

At the end of the project

At the end of the project you will receive the outputs from the work done by the academic team. You will also be asked to sign the ‘SPRINT Project Completion Form‘  – which confirms you have received the outputs of the project and confirms the contributions made to the project by the company. You should ensure that the amounts stated in the declaration can be evidenced though timesheets, receipts etc… in the event of an audit.

We hope that your SPRINT collaborative project with your SPRINT university partner helps to accelerate the development of your new products and services. But that’s not the end of the journey. Remaining in the Network will ensure that SPRINT can continue to signpost you to the support you need to further develop you business and launch new products and services to market. This could be in the form of further SPRINT Innovation Vouchers, grant funding from UK and European agencies or examining investment opportunities. Through your Innovation Adviser we’ll remain in periodic contact to monitor your business progress and offer support. The SPRINT communication lead will also remain in contact with you to support the development of a case study on the project and capture details about the (hopefully) positive impact the collaboration is making on your business growth. Examples of this activity for other SPRINT projects can be found here.

SPRINT – JOIN US NOW AND TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH THROUGH SPACE