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Rapid Response initiative 

Rapid Response is an Edinburgh Innovations initiative funded by the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account providing fast-track help to businesses and other organisations affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Rapid Response initiative aims to help you collaborate with the University of Edinburgh’s researchers to adapt and build resilience for survival and future growth.

Rapid Response: Workshops

Discuss challenges with world-leading experts from the University of Edinburgh.

Rapid Response: Explore – a series of webinars

Hear from our leading academics and learn about the latest advances in research and how they can impact your business.

Rapid Response: Funding call

Get fast-track funding to work on collaborative projects or access virtual secondments with experts from the University of Edinburgh.

Rapid Response: Workshops

Our online workshops bring academics together to provide a knowledge exchange opportunity that can create originality and innovation to address challenges your organisation is facing, or is likely to face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Benefits to your organisation:

  • Tailored discussions based on your challenge with tangible and actionable outcomes
  • Quick access to the latest cutting-edge research within the topic area of your interest
  • Access to the Rapid Response funding stream
  • Pathways to solutions explored by experts from a variety of disciplines
  • Fast turnaround (workshops delivered within 7 days of challenge submission)
  • No cost, only in-kind contribution

How does it work?

 1. Submit your challenges

Submit challenges that you would like to discuss with our researchers. The challenges should be focused on maintaining and growing your business, adapting and innovating during and post-pandemic.

Once challenges are submitted, we will find the most relevant academic experts to help find innovative solutions to your challenge within 7 days.

 2. Join online workshops

As soon as we find academics who are able to offer their knowledge and expertise to support your challenge, we will organise an online workshop facilitated by our team at Edinburgh Innovations. The virtual workshop will take place at a date and time suitable to all participants.

During the workshop, you will discuss your challenges with experts from the University of Edinburgh and learn how we can help to fast-track any potential solutions.

  3. Start collaborating

After the initial discussion online, we will identify the next steps. If a particular project is identified, we will assess which available funding streams can support it. We will identify academics and researchers that could work on this project and we will help you submit relevant projects plans to ensure you can access funding quickly.

Rapid Response: Explore- a series of webinars

The Explore series of webinars has been created to provide a platform for organisations to hear from leading researchers from the University of Edinburgh. The series will see academics from different disciplines sharing their expertise, discussing the latest advances in research and presenting cutting-edge innovations and their potential impact on future economy and businesses.

Themes we are focusing on include: Explore: Smart manufacturing, Explore: Finance and data and Explore: Bio-solutions.

As well as responding to Covid-19, the Explore webinars will continue beyond the current crisis, offering a longer-term opportunity for your organisation to engage with world-leading experts.

Benefits to your organisation:

  • Hear from leading academics about the latest developments in their research and how this could be relevant to your organisation
  • Take part in the Q&A and ask questions directly to the academic speaker
  • Get support in accessing the relevant expertise and research projects, identifying new opportunities, building resilience and achieving growth post the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Specific challenges can be discussed further during the workshops

How does it work?

1. Register for webinars 

Webinars will take place fortnightly and will be announced on our social media channels and a dedicated webpage. Themes will include: Explore: Smart Manufacturing, Explore: Bio-Solutions, Explore: Finance and data

To stay up to date with the latest topics, please follow us:

 2. Join the webinar

Click on the link provided via email to access the webinar platform. To ensure the best conditions for all participants, we kindly ask everyone to mute their microphones. The webinar will consist of a 30-minute presentation by the academic speaker followed by a 30 minute Q&A session. You are welcome to pose any questions you might have via the chat or in person at the end of the presentation.

  3. Start collaborating

If you wish to discuss your specific challenges further or learn more about the expertise and research suitable to your business needs, register for workshops, or simply get in touch.

Rapid Response: Funding call

The Rapid Response Funding call offers fast-track funding to collaborate with academics to respond to challenges or opportunities triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The intention of this call is not to address the virus itself, but rather to support businesses that have been impacted as a result of the pandemic to take advantage of new opportunities or tackle new challenges. Applications must be driven by an academic from the University of Edinburgh.

The expectation is that projects can start immediately on award of funding.

The call will support two funding streams:

a) Collaborative projects

This funding stream focuses on collaborative research or innovation projects with a clear commercial pathway that have the potential to deliver significant impact (eg health, social, economic, cultural or environmental) in response to Covid-19.

b) Virtual secondments

The emphasis of this stream is to transfer and exchange knowledge to support companies who may be experiencing gaps in expertise, resourcing issues, or need support in future planning and resilience as a result of Covid-19.

This is an ongoing call with applications accepted on a first come, first-served basis, and subject to review.


Applications can be submitted up until 17:00 on Wednesday 20 May 2020.

If you would like to know more and discuss how you can access this funding, please contact us for more details.

The Rapid Response initiative forms only part of a range of funding streams which have been repurposed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 30 collaborative projects already under way. To explore other ways Edinburgh Innovations can help, please contact us.