Internal Research Funding

While College Research Support Offices are able to provide support for most research funding applications, Research Support Services (RSS) and the International Relations (IR) are responsible for managing certain types of grant.

These typically fall into two categories:

  • Schemes where the funder has placed a limit on the number of applications that can be submitted by any single institution
  • Schemes where the funder has allocated a block grant to the University which is to be distributed via internal competition

RSS and IR are here to help you identify the best scheme to apply to and help you to develop your proposal to the highest possible quality.

BBSRC Impact Acceleration Account

The University was successfully awarded BBSRC IAA funding in April 2018, allowing members of the academic community who hold, or have previously held, BBSRC funding to apply for financial support.

The specific aims of the University of Birmingham’s BBSRC IAA focus on:

  • Building capacity and embedding an impact culture
  • Accelerating translation of impact from our existing BBSRC portfolio
  • Deepening our engagement with key stakeholders and partners to maximise impact

Further information can be found in the accompanying BBSRC IAA Guidelines.

 The funding schemes are outlined below:

Follow-on-Fund (FOF): will provide early-stage commercialisation funding (market analyses/validation, business modelling, business planning with a focus on commercial validation).

 Guidance Document

Application Template

Business Engagement Fund (BEF): to support early stage interactions with new users or collaborators (primarily industry-based), funding will enable individual mobility through grants of up to £2,500 allowing researchers to visit UK/international stakeholders for face-to-face meetings.

Application Template

Policy Placement Scheme (PPS): to drive policy impact, and create/nurture/embed partnerships as part of the University’s wider impact agenda, knowledge exchange activities between BBSRC-funded researchers and public sector organisations are a key priority.

 Application Template

People Exchange Programme (PEP): the most ambitious of our IAA-funded knowledge exchange programmes, this scheme aims to support long-term embedding of staff (typically 6-12 months) within non-academic user organisations – or embed people from these organisations within the University – to support the translation of BBSRC funded research.

Application Template

Public Engagement Funds (PEF): We are enhancing the funding available to engage the public with BBSRC-supported research, working with the University’s Public Engagement with Research Team to support new PER activities specifically related to BBSRC research. Applications should go via the PER Team’s existing process for supporting new activities.  The public engagement team can be contacted at

The BBSRC Impact Acceleration Account panel welcome enquiries about any of these schemes.

To enquire, please email Michelle Read with 1 paragraph detailing the scheme of interest, details of the project concept and the relevance to the scheme. The BBSRC IAA panel will review these applications and contact you to discuss the project further.

All funding streams are currently accepting applications on an open basis. 

Birmingham-Nottingham Signature Institutional Research Collaboration (BNSIRC)

In 2011, the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham established a unique strategic partnership, providing opportunities for the two institutions to work together and explore opportunities to share best practice and to diversify income streams. A partnership fund was established to catalyse engagement between academics across both organisations and both universities have worked together on a number of major initiatives.

Further details about the partnership can be found on the partnership's dedicated webpage.

EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account

Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) are awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to accelerate the impact of research and help universities bridge the divide between academic research and the market place. The University of Birmingham's operational objectives for the IAA are:

  • Accelerate the rate of translation and maximise the impact from key research areas
  • Deepen the University's strategic relationships with long term stakeholders
  • Building capacity and a culture for the importance of impact

The EPSRC has awarded the University of Birmingham an additional one year of Impact Acceleration Account Funding. The following scheme will run as an open call:

Follow-on Fund (FOF)

The Follow-On Funding (FOF) scheme supports the development of outputs from existing or previous research at the University of Birmingham. The aim of the scheme is to ensure the translation and/or commercialisation of the University’s research outcomes in the engineering and physical sciences.

The EPSRC IAA is currently closed for applications.


Please read the Follow-on Fund Guidelines before applying.

Application Form

All applications for follow-on funding must be made through the online Follow-on Fund application form. 


ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account is a flexible and dynamic fund designed specifically to support knowledge exchange and impact from excellent social sciences research.

Four schemes are available:

  • User Engagement Fund: supports earlier stage engagement or scoping activities with new or existing non-academic partners to co-design/co-develop projects with clear impact potential

  • Follow-on Fund: supports the development of innovative and experimental forms of knowledge exchange from existing or ongoing quality research

  • Secondment Fund: supports the inward and outward secondment of staff, intended to developer sustainable partnerships between academic and non-academic organisations

  • Urgency Fund: enables research staff to respond quickly to urgent, rare or unforeseen events

Further details of the fund, along with guidance documents and upcoming deadlines, can be found on the ESRC IAA intranet page here.

If you are interested in applying you should contact Katharina Freise, ESRC IAA Manager (, ex. 46292) as soon as possible to discuss your proposal.

MRC Confidence in Concept scheme

Ensuring that fundamental science is translated into new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices is central to the MRC’s mission. The Confidence in Concept scheme aims to accelerate the transition from discovery science to the early stages of therapeutic / diagnostic development by providing locally-administered, responsive and flexible funding to support preliminary translational work.

The projects supported should aim to provide sufficient preliminary data to establish the viability of an approach – i.e. to provide confidence in the underlying concept – before seeking more substantive funding.

Scope and Eligibility

CiC supports the development of translational research projects providing funds of around £50,000-£130,000 over 6-12 months (including fEC). Projects typically contain 2-4 milestones with go/no-go decisions and the application should be supported by convincing preliminary data to reflect the stage of translational development of the project.

Development stage: Research led validation, optimisation, potentially including first human testing of discovery with an identified clinical, practical or commercial outcome.

Application Process

There are two calls each year and the application process for each call has two stages, with Expressions of Interest (EoI) and full-stage for shortlisted projects. EoIs are welcomed from any biomedically relevant project across the University looking to prove translational viability

In advance of submission, all applicants should discuss their EoIs with either Ryan Brown (MDS Translational Research Manager, or Jonathan Watkins (Head of IP Services, UoB Enterprise,

Their applications should also have their project costings discussed with their institute facilitators prior to submission.

In addition, first-time applicants should attend a Translational Training session.

Shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a full application. Additional support is provided in the form of a feedback session with our external consultant Prof. Alan Boyd. The full stage applicants’ outcomes are delivered shortly after a panel review.


MRC CiC EoI Application Form
MRC CiC Full Application Form
MRC CiC Guidance

MRC Proximity to Discovery

The University of Birmingham has been a recipient of the MRC Proximity to Discovery: Industry Engagement Fund (PtD) institutional award since 2015. We have funded more than 70 applications to date and are seeking to support even more.

The PtD aims to support individual mobility to enable early engagement with industry (RRM) as well as proof of principle projects with businesses that could accelerate the translational potential of your work (E&E) but can also support discovery days (KE&D) for more strategic interactions with industry (CC & CLIF).

Document: Overview of Internal Streams

Proximity to Discovery Streams:

StreamFunding and timeframeProposed OutcomesDocuments

Rapid Response Mobility (RRM)

Flexible funding released rapidly for researchers to visit companies anywhere in the world for face-to-face meetings to pursue early interactions.

£1-2k/project to support travel and accommodation.

Response within 1 week.

Direct industry investment or collaborative grant awards.





Exchange & Explore (E&E)

Support for flexible interactions with industry partners to deliver short-term initial proof-of-principle work around areas of mutual interest to support longer-term relationships.

Up to £10k/project to cover direct project costs, travel and accommodation.

Response within 2 weeks.

Establishment of proof of principle, provision of pilot data, de-risking of projects and leveraging of external funding/investment.





Knowledge Exchange & Dissemination (KE&D)

Seminar programme on discoveries, technologies and methodologies to transfer knowledge into and out of companies and academic institutions to inspire new collaborations.

Up to £10k for workshops/ conferences with definite industry links.

Response within 2 weeks.

Training of researchers to enhance their commercial awareness and skills and stimulation of new collaborative relationships between academic and industry research teams.


Collaboration Catalysts (CC)

Multidisciplinary team visits to targeted companies (both senior and early career research staff if possible).

Approximately £3k/visit to include an average of 6 members of staff, supported by the Business Engagement Partners.

Response within 2 weeks.

Agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding (if appropriate) and funding/investment to support ongoing collaborative research.


Ryan Brown / Alice Sayers

Creative Leaders in Industry Fellowships (CLIF)

Fellowship programme to meet a clear need articulated within industry (rather than working from academic expectations / perceptions) and provide opportunities for current / future industry scientific leaders to undertake 6-12 months training placements with key research teams.

Up to £10k for accommodation and travel, and up to £6k for lab-based activity/other parallel skills development.

 Response within 2 weeks.

Establishment of a network of new creative leaders /short-term industry fellows, UoB advocates in industry and establishment of new industrpartnerships.



Application forms for the Collaboration Catalysts can be requested from Ryan Brown ( or Alice Sayers (

Prior to submission, all applications to the PtD fund must have been discussed with your college Business Engagement Partner.

  • MDS: Richard Fox ( 0121 371 8474, Jo Smith (, 0121 371 8476 or 07855 349 283), Jess Stede (, 0121 371 8455) or Flo Gannon (, 0121

    371 8475).

  • LES: Holly Searson (, 0797 039 7568).
  • EPS: Alasdair Maclachlan ( 07920 878 578) or Jack Tasker (, 07970 987 037).

The streams are open to applications anytime (with no specific submission deadlines). 

Birmingham International Engagement Fund (BIEF)

For several years the University has run a number of travel funding schemes to aid travel to strategic markets for the purpose of partnership building. After review of the funding schemes, from the academic year 2017/18, the University is changing the way in which international travel funds are allocated. In order to ensure the highest possible academic reputational impact from our travel funds, funds that were previously separate have been consolidated to create a single Birmingham International Engagement Fund (BIEF).

The primary criterion for an award from the BIEF is the quality of the proposed activity: only the highest quality proposals will be supported. Quality will be judged on:

  1. The extent to which the activity will further the University’s international academic reputation.

  2. Academic excellence and standing given the career stage of the applicant.

  3. Tangible outputs and the potential benefit of the outputs to the University’s submissions to REF, TEF, and international league tables.

  4. The extent to which the visit will enhance existing collaboration or pump prime new areas.

  5. The value for money of the application.

Subject to this criterion, consideration will be given to whether an application involves travel to one of the University's strategic countries or partners.

Details of the fund can be found here:

UoB-Waseda Research Collaboration Fund

Waseda University has been identified as a key institution for strategic development for the University in Japan. It is anticipated that a number of mutually beneficial, sustainable collaborations will be developed, especially in multiple subject areas. A joint collaborative fund of GBP 60,000 pa has been set up to facilitate the research collaborations between UoB and Waseda, with £30,000 pa from each institution.

 The Waseda side of fund is administrated by the Centre for Research Strategy (Contact person Prof Mikiko Shimaoka, ), and academics from Waseda should contact Prof Shimaoka for the bid to the fund. The UoB side of fund is administered by International Relations (contact person Ms Wenwei Wu, ) and UoB colleagues are invited to bid to the fund.

Further details are available here.

Global Challenges Research Fund

How to apply:

All four of the following GCRF funds use the the same application form

Completed applications and questions about the funds should be emailed to Sue Gilligan

GCRF Impact Implementation Fund

Application deadline: 

Thursday 26th March 2020. We encourage ambitious proposals; contact Sue Gilligan if you would like to discuss your budget and project.  Sue will also advise on the process for making applications outside the deadlines.” And then the ‘Who can apply’ section and beyond can stay the same for each segment.

Who can apply?

Existing GCRF funded researchers.

Intended to support existing GCRF funded researchers only to undertake additional impact activities beyond those envisaged in their original funding application, in order to maximise the benefits to Low and Middle Income partners involved in the research. Examples of potential activities include:

  • Dissemination of research and translation of outputs into new formats, such as; creation of films, production of policy briefings, conversion of outputs into local languages or artistic outputs.
  • Engagement of academic and non-academic partners, such as; secondments or person exchange with researchers or business/ policy makers in lower middle income countries.
  • Activities to change policy or guidelines, such as; contribution to curriculum design, engagement with local governments or policy stakeholders, etc.

GCRF Rapid Response

Application deadline:

Thursday 26th March 2020. We encourage ambitious proposals; contact Sue Gilligan if you would like to discuss your budget and project.  Sue will also advise on the process for making applications outside the deadlines.” And then the ‘Who can apply’ section and beyond can stay the same for each segment.

Who can apply? 

Research staff from all Colleges.

The most pressing development challenges often manifest themselves in unexpected ways.  From crises such as the Ebola and Zika epidemics, to natural disasters, civil unrest and other emergencies. This fund is intended to support an agile response to unexpected situations that require an urgent action. The fund can provide support for travel and research assistance etc.

GCRF Research Co-Design Sandpits

Application deadline:

Thursday 26th March 2020. We encourage ambitious proposals; contact Sue Gilligan if you would like to discuss your budget and project.  Sue will also advise on the process for making applications outside the deadlines.” And then the ‘Who can apply’ section and beyond can stay the same for each segment.

Who can apply? 

Research staff from all Colleges.

Research Co-Design Sandpits allow scholars to engage with partners to explore specific development challenges faced by LMICs.  The aim is to support initial partnership discussions and co-define problems, which will result in more significant collaborative projects being taken forward. Events can be held at Birmingham or overseas, with support for travel and hosting costs being offered. 

GCRF Capacity building fund

Application deadline:

Thursday 26th March 2020. We encourage ambitious proposals; contact Sue Gilligan if you would like to discuss your budget and project.  Sue will also advise on the process for making applications outside the deadlines.” And then the ‘Who can apply’ section and beyond can stay the same for each segment.

Who can apply? 

Research staff from all Colleges.

This fund is earmarked for activities that will enhance the ability of LMIC partners to undertake research. This could include training on matters such as data collection and data management, research ethics or participant engagement. Funding to support skills audits would also be eligible. Costs to support travel and hosting will be supported, plus items necessary for training. When training is delivered it is anticipated that University of Birmingham staff will deliver this. 

 Wellcome Trust ISSF

The Wellcome Trust's Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) provides funding to a range of UK-based universities, investing in strategic areas of importance across the Trust's portfolio. 

Career Development Hub 

Through the ISSF the University is now establishing a Life Sciences-focused Career Development Hub, mirroring the broad research remit of the Wellcome Trust in terms of support and funding eligibility.

The key themes within this are: effective management of critical career transition points where researchers are vulnerable; support for increased flexibility and responsiveness to research opportunities; further support to promote development of skills and collaborations, particularly interdisciplinary; and ensuring equality and diversity in research careers.

Application Deadlines

Applications are reviewed by a panel at a series of panel meeting held during the academic year:

Spring 2020 Round         

  • Opens: Monday 3rd February 2020
  • Closes: Thursday 20th April 2020

Due to the impact of COVID-19, we will be extending the application deadline to Monday 20th April 2020. If you have any queries, please email

There are four funding streams available via the Career Development Hub:

Accelerator Fellowships

Excellent researchers at either the late PhD or postdoctoral stage of their careers can apply for personal salary support and up to £25,000 per year research pump-priming and mobility funding to establish a competitive position for external Fellowship applications.

Critical Data Awards

Excellent researchers across any of our highlighted career stages can apply for funding awards of up to £15,000 (early-career) or £25,000 (mid-career) to deliver key experiments or other research work which either provides compelling pilot data for a specified external application, or supplements existing data to enable publication in a high-impact journal.

Global Mobility

Collaboration and experience outside the UK is essential to deliver world-leading research, and funders are placing increased emphasis on global partnerships which directly address issues specific to regions such as Low & Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Excellent researchers at any of our highlighted career stages are therefore encouraged to apply for Mobility awards of up to £10,000.

Continuity Awards

Excellent researchers may face a multitude of challenges, within and without the University environment. We wish to offer support for return to work for ECRs/MCRs after responsibilities such as maternity/paternity leave, but also caring for sick family members or other difficult personal circumstances.

How to apply

All applications to the ISSF Career Development Hub must be submitted via the online application form available here.

Further information about all four Career Decelopment Hub streams are available here.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

Wellcome Trust Translational Development Fund

Following the flagship institutional MRC Confidence in Concept (MRC CiC) award, the University of Birmingham has been awarded Wellcome Trust (WT) funding in the form of an Institutional Translational Partnership award (iTPA). We are therefore holding an internal translational funding round called the Wellcome Trust Translational Development Fund (WT TDF) to support early translational projects, typically preceding MRC CiC.

Scope & Eligibility

The TDF is focused on the first step from discovery research towards identification or initial validation of potential clinical, practical or commercial outcomes.

The fund will support the first stages of translational research providing funds of £20,000-£30,000 over 3-6 months (directly incurred costs only). Projects are expected to have 1-2 milestones to overcome a translational barrier to progress along the translational development pathway.

Preliminary data is welcomed but not essential and the fund may be available for activities with a considerable risk component

Development stage: the first step from discovery research towards identification or initial validation of a potential clinical, practical or commercial outcome.

Application Process

All projects must be discussed with Ryan Brown, Translational Research Manager (, 0121 371 8013), Jonathan Watkins ( or an Expert in Residence prior to submission. For general enquiries please contact Ryan Brown.

Similar to the CiC, the application process for each call has two stages, with Expressions of Interest (EoI) and full-stage for shortlisted projects.

New applicants must attend a mandatory translational training session.


WT TDF Guidance

WT TDF EoI Application Form

WT TDF Full Application Form

Any enquiries can be directed to Dr. Ryan Brown, Translational Research Manager (, 0121 371 8013).



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