Funds to Apply for

@bojanbobic, @nadia, @katejsim, I’m creating a list of funding opportunities (through Oxford, at the moment) that we could apply for on the business development side (and beyond). @bojanbobic, could you explore and see which ones you think would be most worth applying for – and keep in mind those that would fund us to develop SSNA as a large research project? This may also interest @alberto

  1. ESRC IAA Funding Opportunities

  2. Social Sciences Engagement Fellowships

  3. Strategic Research Fund

  4. Humanities Cultural Programme - @hugi, could use this to bring BBU to Oxford

  5. John Fell Fund

  6. Oxford Elevate Accelerator 2021

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Social Sciences Engagement Fellowships - Deadline February 1, 5 pm, I suppose it isn’t feasible
Strategic Research Fund - not sure if we eligible. Check What the SRF will not fund
John Fell Fund - The deadline passed in January -> 13 January 2021

I have to take a more in-depth look into it and understand better SSNA to understand to what we are eligible to apply. In any case, I would put our effort from now on to Oxford Elevate Accelerator 2021 as the deadline is approaching (12 February 2021)

  • First thing is to check the application for it and if this means that team members must be physically present there.

If successful, each venture and their founding team will commit to taking part in 1-2 days of programming per week across the 6-month programme. We expect each venture and its founders to be present and engaged over the 6-month period.

These ones should have multiple deadlines

Amelia, I had a quick look but could not see a good fit right off the bat.

A lot of these startup incubators/accelerators operate under assumptions that we, so far, have not been willing to share:

  1. Whatever you want to do has a rock-solid monetization channel. Hence Nadia’s insistence on “products” (directly monetizable) rather than “methods” (only monetizable when bundled into products or services).
  2. The funded “venture”'s market is highly contendible. Speed is the most important success factor.
  3. Fast growth, possibly fueled by network externalities, is to be expected, and gets incorporated into financial plans.

For now, we have felt these conditions were not there:

  • Bundling our method into a product (“the software stack”) is in theory possible, but reaching the level of polish of good commercial software is difficult and very expensive.
  • The method itself is not completely mature, and it seems to mature as is gets used. So, its productification risked sinking a lot on money on code that does something we later discovered is not exactly what researchers want (miss out on key functionalities, invest in functionalities that end up not being used etc.).
  • VC is not patient finance, if not for very small money (~50K). Small investments are typically top-heavy, in that they are granted on the basis of detailed (and largely fictional) business plans, multiple meetings, “elevator pitch” presentations and so on.

Additionally, EDGE is non-VC fundable because it is a not-for-profit. Being a not-for-profit is great for H2020, and therefore we are reluctant to turn EDGE into a for-profit: in ATSI, for example, EU funding covered 70% of the costs for for-profit entities. In theory, the problem could be solved by spinning off a different corporate entity, hence the EDGE NORD discussion of which the latest installment is here.

Maybe now the times have changed? What do you see?