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 Strategic Collaboration Fund (BNSCF)

The Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham signed a Framework for Collaboration in March 2011 to build on the complementary strengths of the two universities. In September 2012, the Birmingham-Nottingham Strategic Collaboration Fund (BNSCF) was launched. 

The BNSCF is currently closed for applications, pending confirmation of future BNSCF funding.

The BNSCF is an internal fund designed to support collaborative ventures between the two universities. It is open to staff wishing to conduct collaborative research and professional service projects.

The fund is comprised of 2 streams:

  • Creativity (for initial engagement)

  • Accelerator (for forging substantive activities)

Any questions about the schemes should be directed to: Nathalie Kopecky (ext. 45888)

Further details, along with how to apply can be found on the partnership website here.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

Birmingham-Nottingham Education Partnership Fund (BNEPF)

The Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham provide money through the Strategic Collaborative Fund to promote collaboration between the two institutions and to address areas of shared interest.  Following the successful launch of the EPF last academic year, the joint UEB has agreed to fund a further round of projects up to a total value of £250,000.   

In this round, bids are invited that address the challenges we face in delivering inclusive education and closing UG attainment gaps.  This is an area in where the pooling of our experience and expertise could be particularly helpful.  

We are seeking to fund projects that address one of the following questions (although we appreciate they are linked and a single project is likely to touch on both):

  • What should 'inclusive education' in a contemporary research-intensive university look like and what are the implications?

  • How can we explain and address UG attainment gaps?

There is a two stage application process similar to that in the first round and the bids must be led by a named member of staff from each institution.  The effectiveness of the impact plan will be an important evaluation criterion and communication of the outputs from projects will be facilitated through the routes that are most effective in each institution.

NB: projects are not expected to collect data that already exists; attainment gap data is available in both institutions.  Instead, projects should look for new ways to better understand and close those gaps.

Further information and guidance, and the Expression of Interest form, are available to download from:

The BNEPF is currently closed for applications, pending confirmation of future BNEPF funding.

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.

In seeking to deepen and grow this institutional partnership further, the Vice-Chancellors of the University of Birmingham and University of Nottingham now invite Expressions of Interest for a £10m Signature Institutional Research Collaboration (SIRC) to established a new, world-leading, joint research activity between the two institutions in an area where both institutions can claim international leadership.

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

EPSRC IAA Developing Leaders Scheme

The EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account has now has limited funds. Future funding calls will be announced when funds are available for allocation. 

This scheme is designed to support academics working within the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC) remit  who are either returning to work following a career break / extended period of leave, or who will shortly be taking a career break / extended period of leave. This may be as a result of:

  • Adoption / Maternity / Paternity / Shared Parental Leave
  • Leave to care for a dependant
  • Parental Leave
  • Medical reasons

The scheme exists to assist in either:

  • Re-establishing the applicant’s research profile following a period in which they have been unable to carry out research
  • Minimising the impact, or reducing the duration, of a forthcoming career break in order to preserve the applicant's research profile

Funding may be used for a wide variety of activities and applicants are encouraged to be innovative in their thinking. Options you might want to consider include:

  • Training for professional development
  • Teaching buy-out
  • Short-term research support
  • Covering  additional childcare costs for attendance at conferences

Head of School Approval

You should discuss your career break / planned career break with your Head of School and obtain their approval for making an application to this fund, particularly if your proposed use of the funds will affect other areas of your job (for example, teaching buy-out). 

This application form will ask you to confirm whether you have obtained approval from your Head of School.

Funding Information

Applications for funds are typically expected to be £5,000 - £10,000 although applications outside this range will be considered if appropriately justified.


To be eligible you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an academic, research fellow or other member of staff employed at the UoB for whom research is a contracted part of your role
  • Be employed by the University for the duration of your proposed project
  • Be able to demonstrate potential in delivering research excellence within the EPSRC remit
  • Have returned from a career break within the last year or be due to take a career break within the next year
  • You must be able to complete your proposed project, including spend, by no later than October 2019

How to apply

All applications to this scheme must be made via the online form available here:

Completed application forms must be accompanied by a two-page CV sent to:

EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account

The EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account has now has limited funds. Future funding calls will be announced when funds are available for allocation. 

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

Three schemes are currently available under the EPSRC IAA:

Knowledge Transfer Secondments (KTS)

The KTS scheme provides funding to help ensure the exploitation of the University of Birmingham’s research and expertise in the engineering and physical sciences. The scheme operates on the principle that the best way to transfer knowledge is through the movement of skilled people both into and out of the University.

Further details about the KTS scheme are available here.

All applications to this scheme must be made via the online form available here:

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.

Further details about the FOF scheme are available here.

All applications to this scheme must be made via the online form available:

Accelerating Research Impact (Invite-only)

The resources allocated through this strand of the EPSRC IAA play an important role in both de-risking and demonstrating the UoB’s technological capability within key strategic areas in order to realise their market potential and commercial return.  Funds are distributed through a competitive, invitation-only process that includes both small (typically up to £25k) and large (£25k+) awards.

Further details about the Accelerating Research Impact scheme are available here. 

All applications to this scheme must be made via the online form available here:

Strategic Placement Fund (Invite-only)

The Strategic Placement Fund is designed to respond to the needs of our major, long-term corporate and strategic partners who see value with us in the delivery of longer-term, flexible placements in areas of strategic significance for the exploitation of the University of Birmingham’s research within the EPSRC remit.

All applications to this scheme must be made via the onloine form available here: 

For further information contact


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 industry partnerships.



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: Jo Smith (, 0121 414 4056 or 07855 349 283), Jess Stede (, 0121 371 8455) or Flo Gannon (, 0121 414 9120).
  • LES: Holly Searson (, 0797 039 7568).
  • EPS: Richard Fox (, 0121 414 8921) or Jack Tasker (, 0121 414 8635 or 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

GCRF Impact Implementation Fund

Application deadline: End of March 2019

Who can apply? Existing GCRF funded researchers

Value: Maximum £15,000

This funding opportunity is designed for those who have received existing GCRF funds. The awards from a successful application is for additional impact activities beyond those anticipated in their original funding application to maximise the benefits to Low and Middle Income Country partners involved in the research. Activities could include delivery of training, dissemination or translation events within OECD DAC list countries. All funds must be used by July 2019. 

GCRF Impact Implementation Fund Application Form

GCRF Rapid Response

Application deadline: End of March 2019                            

Value: Maximum £7,000

Who can apply? Research staff from all Colleges

The fund is intended to support agile responses to situations that require urgent action helping towards solving the short term issue. These can include, but not limited to: disease epidemics, natural disasters and civil unrest. The funds may be used to support travel or research assistance for example. All funds must be used by July 2019. 

GCRF Rapid Response Application Form

GCRF Research Co-Design Sandpits

Application deadline: 1st November 2018 and 1st March 2019

Value: Maximum £15,000

Who can apply? Research staff from all Colleges

The purpose of the fund is for researchers to invite partners from OECD-DAC list territories to design events intended to explore specific development challenges faced by Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). The funds will be used to support initial partnership discussions with LMIC countries with the aim of collaborating on major projects in the future. These events will be held either at Birmingham or at an overseas location, supporting the travel costs of partners where necessary. All funds must be used by July 2019. 

GCRF Research Co-Design Sandpits Application Form

 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. 

Please note that Wellcome Trust ISSF is currently closed for applications. Information about future funding calls will be provided here when available. Information about the Career Development Hub streams is provided below for reference.

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.

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.


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

Final report forms

Interested in any of the schemes listed on this page? Contact us at