Proof of Concept

Have you got an idea but need help getting it to market? Are you looking for support and guidance to make this idea a reality? Could you use £15,000 to prove your concept works?

Our fantastic Proof of Concept scheme awards small grants to staff and postgraduate students with innovative ideas, to achieve their full potential. This is not a typical 'yes or no' fund. It's designed to invite applicants to share their ideas and the problems they are seeking to solve with the aim of securing funding, however even if we can't award you one of our grants, we will still provide guidance and advice, with support available from the Business Development team and the wider University. Some examples of how you might use the fund include:

  • Development of a prototype
  • To support market research
  • Feasibility study

Funding opportunities

There are two types of Proof of Concept fund, with the first being available to Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) postgraduate (PG) students at Herts and the second to all Herts staff.

  • The postgraduate student fund is available via the University Enterprise Zone (funded by Research England), the funding is focused on supporting start-ups, student enterprises and small businesses to increase economic growth, employment opportunities and investment in the county
  • The staff fund, which is awarded through the Higher Education Innovation Fund, is provided to the University to support and develop a broad range of knowledge-based interactions between the University and the wider-world, resulting in benefits to the economy and society

In both cases, we will award up to £6,000 for small projects that last up to 6 months, and up to £15,000 for longer projects that last up to 12 months.

Who can apply?

  • All Academic, Professional and Research staff on a fixed or open-ended contract
  • Current Science, Technology, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) postgraduate (PG) students at University of Hertfordshire

Our 2020/2021 scheme is now closed. We’ll be launching our 2021/2022 scheme later this year


Fluid Pharma

Proof of Concept funded the creation of a medicine dispensing prototype, for the slow release of medicines usually taken in one dose rather than many. This technology has now been patented and is commercialised through a UH spin-out company, Fluid Pharma.

Food in Later Life game

Proof of Concept developed a prototype game, to help those who care for, support or volunteer with the elderly, understand the challenges they face in relation to cooking, eating and shopping. The game has been licensed to Focus Games.

Disease Prediction System

Proof of Concept supported field-based research for a prediction model, that is used to protect strawberries from powdery mildew, a key fungus which damages strawberry crops. The project has secured funding of £210,000 to create a software platform for it's use on commercial farms.


Proof of Concept allowed an academic team to develop a new cyber security methodology for predicting cyber threats to businesses. This has secured over £100,000 funding from Innovate UK, to create a commercial product offering.