FAQ for 1st NBIC Proof of Concept Call

Since the announcement of our 1st PoC call, we have received a lot of inquiries and interests. We hope the following FAQ and our suggestions would help you with your applications. If you have further questions, please write to us and we will try our best to answer to them (nbic@biofilms.ac.uk).

  1. Q: Who leads the project and how the finance if transferred?
    A: Regarding the leadership of the project; we expect that the PoC will be jointly written then submitted by the lead academic partner from the NBIC research institution.   The funding will be invoiced to the University of Southampton to a schedule that will also be included in the Project Agreement.
  2. Q: Since NBIC is giving funding only to research institute, does it mean SME & Micro gets their share through the research institute?
    A: Southampton (NBIC)  as budget holder would fund the SME/ Micro  directly against auditable costs
  3. Q: For Micro Businesses and SMEs the POC form says they “can receive up to 50% of directly incurred project costs (capable of audit)”. What does this include ?
    A: As part of our governance we can only part support (up to 50%) costs in SME/ Micro businesses that can be directly audited and traced to activity on the NBIC funded projects. This evidence could include for example documented timesheets (with explanation of hourly rates) and invoices from third parties. NBIC will only fund up to a limit (£50K). Then any costs claimed by a Company may reduce the amount payable to the academic partner. The contribution to the project in time and resources can also be indicated on the form ( even if not claimed) in order to demonstrate the commitment of the industrial partner to the project
  4. Q: An industrial partner is able to contribute in kind to the proposal but cannot make a cash contribution. Please could you tell me if this is OK?
    A: Contribution of in-kind or cash are both welcome.
  5. Q: Is there a requirement for how large the industrial contribution needs to be?
    A: There is no requirement for the level of contribution. Projects are encouraged to propose additional sources of funding or support in-kind that will enhance the quality of the bid and the outcomes anticipated. There is no requirement for the level of contribution from company/commercial partner. In our criteria of project assessment, a key criteria is the extent of engagement with external stakeholders or industrial partners and their level of commitments (in-kind or finance).
  6. Q: Can you confirm what level of details is required for the budget within the application form or is it possible for you to forward a copy to me?
    A: Please refer to the guidance for the budget related information
  7. Q: I note research Institutions can claim 80% FEC. Can you confirm if we need to show the 80% or 100% figure within the budget on the application form please?
    A: Please see guidance and application form, please include 100% of what you are requestion and note this in the box provided.
  8. Q: Does the maximum funding level of £50k include the company contribution?
    A: No, it refers to NBIC funding. Please refer to the guidance for examples of funding level.
  9. Q: Is there any guideline from the funding body on how to deal with the intellectual property, when companies are involved?
    A: It is entirely up for the participant to decide on the IP. As our projects are publicly funded, we expect the IP to be made public at a certain stage past its necessary confidential protective period. We will need to report and demonstrate the IP related progress to BBSRC and Innovate UK. In the application it is important that the partners articulate in outline the IP status and how it and any arising IP is going to be managed.
  10. Q: About the IP management, who owns the IP and how is managed etc. You are expecting proposals with TRL 2-4, it means there are existing IPs, what happens to them.
    A: For successful projects, a Project Agreement will be put in place.  This Project Agreement includes negotiable clauses on IP rights based on a number of scenarios, including ownership, use, protection and exploitation of IP.  It would be expected that Background IP would the sole and exclusive property of the party to whom it belonged prior to the start of the project.
  11. Q: Must the industrial partner in the application be UK-based?
    A: No, it does not have to be based in UK, but the industrial partner should have a UK presence, i.e., having a sales or R&D or manufacturing office set up in the UK.
  12. Q: Would it be acceptable to have 1 UK partner and 1 non-UK (EU) partner?
    A: Yes, but the non-UK partner would not be able to be funded even if they are SME or Micro-enterprise.
  13. Q: Could you please let me know if The University of xxx has been ” acceded to NBIC ” as I’m not sure how to check? If it hasn’t, please could you give me more information on how we can make this happen?
    A: Please see our research partner page and our home page to find out which research institutes have joined us. If your institution isn’t listed please contact us. NBIC calls are open to any UK Research Institution eligible for UK Research Council funding.
  14. Q: NBIC indicated that applications must be submitted by a lead academic, am I able to submit this in my name as a Post-doctoral Researcher?
    A: Yes, researchers within partner academic institutes are eligible to apply.
  15. Q: How will the assessment of the projects work and will confidentiality agreements be put in place?
    A: There will be an independent panel that assess the project against the weightings identified in the guidance documents.  The final decision will be ratified by NBICs non-executive board.  Yes, confidentiality statements and agreement to our conflicts of interest policy will be required for all assessors and panel members.
  16. Q: Can we submit multiple bids, for instance with different companies or are we limited to one bid?
    A: Yes you can submit multiple applications. We do reserve the right as we mention in the  call to take a portfolio view at the end if we cannot afford to fund all the fundable applications and there is a bias to one sector rather than others or  applications are focussed on one theme (themes being: prevent, manage, detect and engineer) rather than  another. Our goal is to fund excellent projects independent of location from member institutions so yes please do submit multiple ones if you have them.
  17. Q: I am from the Research Support office in Public Health England (PHE, an executive agency of the UK Dept of Health & Social Care) and I would like to inquire about eligibility for the NBIC Proof of Concept call on behalf of some PHE researchers.
    A: As the PHE is not defined as a Research Institution by the UKRI (https://www.ukri.org/funding/how-to-apply/eligibility/), you would need to partner with an NBIC Research Institute to submit a proposal for this call.  We are happy to help connect you to any of our partners if helpful.  We would like to add that the eligibility criteria may be different for future NBIC funding calls.
  18. Q: If PHE were to apply with, for instance, our collaborators at xxx university, we would not need a third party, such as an SME, to be eligible?
    A: Critical in the answer to your question will be the commercial pull and the business case for the project. Stakeholder could mean the NHS or an institution with a clear link to a market and able to define the value of the opportunity that you are trying to progress (which PHE may be able to do) and the unmet needs (see ranking for both these in the scoring sheet). Equally important is the state of technology readiness (TRL) and what the next steps are.
    So through working with xxx your project application would be eligible if the case was made strongly. Being able to give information provided by a commercial partner on the scale of the opportunity would also be valuable.
  19. Q: Can the funding be used to support a PDRA or supplement a student?
    A: This POC is for translational research, so PDRA support, etc. has to be utilised for this purpose.
  20. Q: Is it possible for a project to exceed the average project duration of 6 months? My colleague is proposing a project duration of 12 months.
    A: 6 months is an average length of a project; the application form asks for a project plan and justification of costs, so projects lasting 12 months should be fully justified as such.
  21. Q: Is there a date for projects to be completed by?
    A: We haven’t set a formal time on this  – however we are hoping we get as many projects underway (past contracting stage )  by early 2019 as possible
  22. Q: Do you have any further guidance on funding and or restrictions on the £50K available?
    A: The project will be expected to establish the feasibility of a concept, idea or technology from any application sector which is aimed at preventing, detecting, managing or engineering biofilms.  This can be in a laboratory, model or real world setting in order to give confidence for further work.  The PoC programme is not aimed at basic research, but is expected to build on existing research, findings or technology and show how the collaboration will move the research towards practical exploitation in a specified application. In Technology Readiness Level (TRL) terms then these projects are likely to be at levels 2-4. A useful guide to TRL levels can be found here
  23. Q: Are we allowed to allocated some of the funding for public engagement? More specifically, involving an artist to work part-time and a gallery (as a partner) to run art workshops and an exhibition?
    A: On the assumption you are proposing a project that fits the other POC criteria explained in the guidance and application in terms of its prime objective then this outreach and communication are fine to include. The application will be assessed on its merits against others.
  24. Q: Where do we submit the application to?
    A: Please submit to nbic@biofilms.ac.uk.