Centrally-managed Funding

While College Research Support Offices are able to provide support for most research funding applications, Research and Innovation Services (RIS) and International Office 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

RIS & 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. 


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:  http://www.birmingham-nottingham.ac.uk/funding-opportunites/funding-opportunities.aspx

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 Developing Leaders Scheme

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: centralfunds@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Applications must be submitted by noon on Monday 1st October 2018.

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

For consideration at the next panel meeting the deadline has been extended and applications must be submitted by:

Monday 1 October 2018


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: https://bham.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/kts

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: https://bham.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/epsrc-follow-on-fund-fof-application-form-2

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: https://bham.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/epsrc-iaa-accelerating-research-impact-scheme-aug17

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: https://bham.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/epsrc-iaa-strategic-placement-fund 

For further information contact centralfunds@contacts.bham.ac.uk


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 (K.Freise@bham.ac.uk, 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.

There are two calls each year, one in March and one in September. The application process of each call has two stages, with Expressions of Interest (EoI) and full-stage for shortlisted projects.

EoIs are welcomed from any bio-medically relevant project across the University looking to prove translational viability

In advance of submission, all applicants should discuss their EoIs with either Vicky Kosti (V.Kosti@bham.ac.uk) or Jonathan Watkins (j.watkins.1@bham.ac.uk ).

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

In addition, unless having done so previously, the applicants should attend the Translational Training session (the next one is held on 3rd October 2018, 1.30-3.30pm in MED-CM16).

The EoI submission of the first call will be closed by 1pm on Friday 26th October 2018. The panel meeting is to be held on the 8th of November 2018 when the EoIs were reviewed and shortlisted. 

The panel members include Ferenc Mueller (Chair, MDS), Jonathan Rowe (EPS), David Hannah (LES), Simon Wyn Jones (MDS), Gareth Wallis (Sport & Exercise Science), David Wraith (MDS), Ed Rainger (MDS), Ruth Roberts (LES), Liam Grover (EPS), Lloyd Czaplewski (External, ChemBioVentures).

The outcomes of the EoI stage were informed by the mid of November 2018.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full application. Additional support is provided in the form of a feedback session with our external consultant Prof. Alan Boyd (last week of November 2018).

The full stage application will be open from the 15th November and close by 1pm on the 19th December. The full stage application outcome will be informed shortly after the panel review before the end of January 2019.

Further information can be found in the guidance document and application form below.

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 62 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 (streams 4-5). 

Guidance Documents:

RRM and E&E Guidance

Outcome Report

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 (both senior and early career research staff ifpossible) visits to targeted companies.

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.


Vicky Kosti (V.Kosti@bham.ac.uk)

Guojin Liu (G.Liu.1@bham.ac.uk)

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 Vicky Kosti (V.Kosti@bham.ac.uk) or Guojin Liu (G.Liu.1@bham.ac.uk).

Prior to submission, all applications to the PtD fund must have been discussed with your college Business Engagement Partner: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/partners/contact-us/index.aspx 

For MDS, Anne Simper (a.simper@bham.ac.uk, 0771 744 1014, 0121 414 4056, 0121 371 8019), or Cathy Wardius (c.a.wardius@bham.ac.uk, 0796 699 6429), or Jo Smith (J.L.J.Smith@bham.ac.uk, 0121 414 4056).

For LES, Holly Searson (H.L.Searson@bham.ac.uk, 0797 039 7568).

For EPS, Richard Fox (r.fox@bham.ac.uk, 0121 414 8921) or Sam Hickman (s.j.hickman@bham.ac.uk, 0121 414 4271).

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

Requests for PtD funding will be reviewed by the same penal as MRC CiC: Ferenc Mueller (Chair, MDS), Jonathan Rowe (EPS), David Hannah (LES), Simon Wyn Jones (MDS), Gareth Wallis (Sport & Exercise Science), David Wraith (MDS), Ruth Roberts (LES), Liam Grover (EPS), Lloyd Czaplewski (External, ChemBioVentures).

Where possible, responses will be given within 1 or 2 weeks.

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: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/external/international-relations/relations/fundingopps/index.aspx

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, m.shimaoka@aoni.waseda.jp ), 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, w.wu@bham.ac.uk ) and UoB colleagues are invited to bid to the fund.

Further details are available here.

Global Challenges Research Fund

The University of Birmingham has a £377,000 fund to support engineering and physical sciences research that will establish a portfolio of Official Development Assistance (ODA). More details are available on the dedicated intranet page here.

 Wellcome Trust ISSF

There are no current open calls within ISSF, but we hope to release information on specific themed calls within the scheme by early October.

Final report forms:


Interested in any of the schemes listed on this page? Contact us at centralfunds@contacts.bham.ac.uk