HiPOC Proof of Concept Grants

HiLIFE Proof of Concept (HiPOC) grants are for University of Helsinki life science researchers, who want to commercialize their research findings.

Note! You cannot receive HiPOC funding if you have already received funding or the funding decision is pending from UH POC.

For further information, check FAQ below or contact hilife-poc@helsinki.fi.

Call for 2023 is closed, all applicants have been contacted via email. Next HiPOC call is in spring 2024.

HiPOC Grants are for University of Helsinki life science researchers with a doctorate considering or involved in an invention disclosure to HIS, or listed as inventors on a pending patent application owned by UH. The project can have co-applicants within UH and collaborators representing external organizations, but funding is granted and used within UH for research or IP owned by UH.

Note! You cannot receive HiPOC funding if you have already received funding or the funding decision is pending from UH POC.

Funding is granted in three categories:

  1. Performing experiments that develop research findings to enable submission of an invention disclosure.
  2. Performing experiments that improve the patentability of disclosed inventions.
  3. Strengthening the commercial potential and providing additional data for filed patent applications

Funding can be used to supplement externally funded projects e.g. from Business Finland R2B program or as host contribution (e.g. 20% seed money) when applying for other sources of Proof of Concept funding from outside the UH. Research results obtained with HiPOC funding are owned by UH (i.e. HiPOC projects are defined as contract research) completely or in proportion to the funding HiPOC provides to a larger project based on an agreement. Applications where the IP/ownership/collaboration is unclear cannot be funded by HiPOC.

HiPOC funding can be used for salaries (except applicant), equipment (at most 9,999 EUR), reagents, and services. Costs related to the commercialisation process can be covered up to 1 500 euros. Services provided by UH or HIS (e.g. lawyers and patent attorneys) are not covered. HiPOC funding is not for conferences, travel costs, or overhead expenses. One project can only have one HiPOC Grant, and researchers may only have one ongoing HiPOC Grant.

A single HiPOC Grant can be up to 50 000 euros for a maximum of 12 months. Projects with an immediate, well documented need for funding are prioritized. Funding not used by end of project is not transferrable. Currently a maximum of 500 000 euros is available annually for funding HiPOC Grants.

HiPOC call is currently closed. Next call is in spring 2024.


In addition to the online form the application is to include a single pdf file with these elements (in order):

1. Project description (max 20 000 characters including spaces)

  • Title of project and name, affiliation (faculty, operative unit of HiLIFE) and contact information (name, email, phone number, postal address) for applicant and potential co-applicants. Please note that the title of the project can not include any confidential information. It is a requirement that co-applicants are informed about the project and that they have agreed to participate therein.
  • A description of how the grant would promote commercial and/or societal potential from the current state, including information on relevant invention disclosures and/or patent applications
  • An experimental plan including required personnel and tasks
  • A schedule of project deliverables
  • A budget specifying the use in the eligible cost categories

2. CV of the applicant and potential co-applicants (max 2 pages each)

3. Possible relevant invention disclosures and/or patent applications

4. Clarification of IP/ownership/collaboration of/within the proposed project including a list and short explanation of possible agreements, and relevant agreements attached. 

Review is expected to take no longer than a few weeks after the application deadline.

Applications are reviewed  by members of HIS or other external experts following non-disclosure agreements using the following evaluation criteria:

  • Impact: The proposed project is expected to support the generation of economic and societal benefits. Added value of HiPOC grant to reaching this goal should be well documented. 
  • Clarity of the aims of the project: The application is expected to describe and define which specific step of the research dissemination or commercialisation process is promoted by the grant.
  • Quality and feasibility of the experimental plan: The proposed plan is expected to be based on sound, achievable and efficient approaches. The availability of all needed resources for the project and the role of HiPOC grant in achieving the resources/goals should be well documented.

Decisions on grants are informed to the applicants by e-mail within a few weeks from sending to review. Applicants with granted projects are to provide short reports within 2 months following the end of the project. The reports should be focused on how the HiPOC funding contributed to the filing of invention disclosure or patent application, or promoting the commercial value of filed patent applications, and on whether the obtained results attracted external funding.

Is my project too early-stage or too late-stage?

  • Please see where your project stands in terms of three categories that we fund above. Typically, you need to have more than an idea to apply for HiPOC, and we expect the projects to be further down the line.


Can I apply for HiPOC even if I cannot file any patent?

  • Patent potential is not a prerequisite for HiPOC grant. The key thing is an invention disclosure to HIS – for example, the grant can be used to perform experiments that would lead to invention disclosure. Please see the three categories above.


Am I eligible for a grant as a PhD student?

  • Unfortunately, according to our rules, the applicant must have a PhD at the time when he/she is applying for a HiPOC grant. However, you could apply together with your supervisor, or another colleague who has a PhD and is involved in the invention. In this case, you could be co-applicant.


Can figures and illustrations be included in the research plan and how to count the ‘space’ they take in characters? 

  • You could use figures in your application, and if it's a jpg./png./or similar, they won't be counted towards characters. However, if you write notes to your Figure, or if Figure has a title not embedded in the picture, those would be counted. This is similar to how it would work in a journal publication.


I have already registered my company. Will that affect my application for this proof of concept grant?

  • There are no rules regarding registered / non-registered companies to apply for HiPOC grant. The main idea is to be close to submitting invention disclosure, or to be involved in patent application. 


If I apply for this grant, will I need to delay publishing the results that form preliminary data and are required to substantiate the HiPOC application? In other words, do you expect an invention disclosure to HIS prior I could publish elsewhere?

  • We do not have specific instructions towards that, meaning that your choice on publication period should depend on invention disclosure plans. We suggest you read the rules at the HIS website to see if there are any implications regarding publications if you intend to disclose an invention. 


Which parts of the grant will be publicly displayed and which are only seen by the evaluation committee?

  • Check for example this Flamma news to see what information was publicly disclosed in previous rounds.


The main applicant (a person who will apply for the grant) cannot use the grant for her/his salary, but how about the co-applicant? Can the main applicant use the salary for one of the co-applicants?

  • No, the main applicant cannot use the salary for co-applicants.


How are salaries budgeted?

  • In the application, there is no need to provide an extensive budget plan for salaries. However, if you feel to do so, please write to us and we can send you a budgeting template.
  • NOTE! HiPOC grant cannot be used for overhead / indirect employee costs.


Are references counted towards 20 000 character limit?

  • No they are not.


Is it possible to add a person to the invention disclosure even if she/he is not included in the HiPOC application as a co-applicant at this stage? 

  • Yes, of course. It is not necessary that people listed in HiPOC application are the same at the invention disclosure step.


Can you review my application before submission?

  • We only look at applications after submission, during the evaluation period.


Should the applicant or the co-applicant be employed by the University of Helsinki?

  • It is not necessary. They can be staff, or grant researchers, or have salaries from elsewhere (in case of co-applicants). 


We have the invention disclosure form and the notification of invention disclosure from HIS. Should we include both forms or one of them as attached files?

  • There is no need to attach forms related to invention disclosure. HIS will be evaluating the applications, and they have those forms already.


We already have R2B funding. Are we eligible for application?

  • Yes, you can. We evaluate the maturity of each application separately, and it does not depend on the existing or non-existing R2B funding.


Can HiPOC grant be used towards laboratory services provided by UH?

  • Yes, infra services can be covered by HiPOC. The idea was that buying services offered at the university from outside the university is not allowed.


Are personal grants for students allowed?

  • Paying personal grants for students is not allowed. Allocating students’ salary to HiPOC is okay but note that the salary side costs are not paid on top of the HiPOC grant.


Could the commercialization process costs (the 1,500 euros max) include registration fees for relevant events, or transport to meet with potential collaborators (equipment providers or clients)? 

  • No, unfortunately the funding cannot cover travel costs.


Could reagents or services costs include transport costs required to perform field tests?

  • Yes, transport costs of reagents and services can be covered. Good to note here that the reagents should not be under MTA, restricting their use for projects to be commercialized.