The University of Aberdeen under the Aberdeen Grants Academy manages several internal funding opportunities to pump-prime research and knowledge exchange activities.

Deadlines are announced through-out the year for the various streams. Please feel free to ask questions at anytime.

Internal Funding to Pump-Prime Interdisciplinary Research and Impact

Internal Funding to Pump-Prime Interdisciplinary Research and Impact

We anticipate that the kind of activities that could be undertaken through this funding will be diverse and want to provide flexibility in how it is used.

With this new initiative, support is available to enable a range of activities including:

Pump-priming for interdisciplinary research initiatives to develop sustainable new interdisciplinary groups or networks, or for existing interdisciplinary groups or networks to develop new areas of research importance. The University is particularly keen on supporting projects advancing our Interdisciplinary Challenge areas, for more information on these please see here

  • Bid development funds to support the development of new major funding applications, as well as support for external grant applications that were highly graded by funding panels but remained unfunded, and for applications where internal peer review suggests specific actions for improvement (support for activities to underpin applications to fEC funders are strongly encouraged)
  • Impact funds for projects seeking to achieve and/or to evaluate impact arising from research
  • Networking, access to consultants or pump priming initiatives that would lead to large European network grants, in particular, Horizon Europe funding.


Applications are welcome from all academic staff across the University for interdisciplinary pilot projects, networking or impact activities which would potentially lead to subsequent funding from external funding bodies.

You cannot be a Lead Applicant on more than one proposal however it is permissible to be Lead Applicant on one application and a Co-Applicant on another.

Level of Award

Applications up to £10,000 are anticipated, however larger awards will be considered upon reasonable request. Please discuss your needs with your Business Development Officer. Projects must be completed by 31 December 2021; costs incurred after this date will not be eligible. Projects must have Head of School/ Head of Institute agreement. 

Deadline (open) - applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and the assessment panel will meet regularly to review submissions in a timely manner.

Please submit application forms by email to 

Application Form

Funding can be requested to support high quality research initiatives which have the potential to become sustainable through external funding from traditional or novel sources.

Eligible costs can include:

  • pilot studies
  • access to institutional core facilities to enable researchers (particularly early career researchers) to enhance their existing line of research or develop new studies that could potentially lead to external funding (
  • capacity building activities such as meetings and exchanges to develop and/or strengthen relationships with partners to progress potential collaborations
  • workshops (most likely online, especially where this engages audiences beyond the University)
  • administrative staff time e.g. to support the co-ordination of a new seminar series
  • limited postdoctoral assistance e.g. PDRA time dedicated to support grant writing (1-2 months)
  • academic staff time (buy-out) - replacement teaching costs to enable academic staff time for the development of grant bids only
  • travel (although we strongly encourage online events due to COVID-19 and the climate crisis)
  • consumables
  • third party costs (i.e. sub-contractors or consultants)
  • co-funding for large grants e.g. networking calls
  • exceptional requests to support a non-academic stakeholder’s costs will be considered however our expectation is that all external stakeholders will demonstrate commitment to the proposed research by co-funding activities

Ineligible costs include academic staff time (buy-out) for any activity other than the development of grant bids, funding to continue existing research projects for any activity other than impact/ knowledge exchange, and overheads.


Applications will be reviewed by circulation. The process will be overseen by the Vice-Principal (Research) and applications reviewed by a panel that will comprise of selected Deans of Research, School Directors of Research, Interdisciplinary Challenge Interim Directors and the Director of Research & Innovation. Further reviewers (including external reviewers) may be added as required for relevant expertise including input from relevant Heads of School.

Key Assessment Criteria

Highly rated proposals are likely to demonstrate one or more of the following characteristics:

  • establishing new, high quality interdisciplinary research collaborations, or significantly enhance existing partnerships, both internally and externally
  • building on excellent research
  • demonstrable evidence of fulfilment of Aberdeen 2040 commitments and the five interdisciplinary challenges
  • providing the evidence-base, knowledge, solutions, innovations, technologies or pathways to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • novel approach to address a complex research challenge
  • demonstrating collaborations with industry, international partners or other external stakeholders (or clear plans to gain such collaborations in the course of the project), and the value that this adds to the research area
  • demonstrating clear pathways to achieve outcomes e.g. attracting external funding or creating demonstrable impact within and beyond academia
  • the extent to which the likely outcome of the research or activity will represent value for money


Where applicable, approval of the relevant ethics board is required as a condition of funding.


A report must be provided within 60 days of completion of the project. Guidance on reporting requirements will be provided to award holders at award stage.

You may also be contacted from time to time by Research & Innovation to contribute to the development of a case study for additional reporting.

SFC COVID -19 Grant Extension and Bridging Fund


The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has made funding available for externally funded projects that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All research grant award holders can apply where their research has been significantly compromised by COVID-19 and would benefit from a costed extension. There is a separate strand of funding to provide a bridge between the end of a current funded project and the commencement of another funded project where the delay can be attributed to COVID-19.

Eligibility Criteria

Please note the following criteria before applying: 

  • Project spend must be completed by 31 July 2021
  • Research outcomes have been severely compromised
  • Priority will be given to projects and staff working on grants that have seen the greatest degree of disruption and disadvantage incurred through the pandemic
  • Bridging funding for staff where new externally funded grants have been approved but have had start dates delayed (with agreement from the funder)
  • Support for teaching backfill in cases where a Fellowship Award has received a no-cost extension and deliverables remain outstanding due to disruptions to the planned schedule of activities

How to Apply

Please complete the application form and email it to Applications will be reviewed by the panel in place to also consider UKRI Grant Extension allocations, comprised of representatives from Schools, Deans of Research, Director of Research & Innovation and a representative from Human Resources and will be chaired by the Vice-Principal for Research. Further reviewers may be added as required for relevant expertise. The panel will meet regularly to review applications. 

The next panel meeting is the 25 November 2020 followed by:

  • 14 December 2020
  • 25 January 2021
  • 24 February 2021

If your project is funded by UKRI, then please apply to the UKRI COVID-19 Grant Extension Allocation Award in the first instance. 

If you wish to discuss an application: please email Donna Walker or your Business Development Officer.

Application Form

UKRI COVID-19 Extension Allocation

Extension Allocation Guidelines

Applications can be submitted at any time before 31 December 2020

Additional funding has been made available from UKRI but it must be distributed in line with the approved governance plan that the University submitted to UKRI.

It's important to note that we only have limited funds and there are restrictions imposed on us by UKRI, such as adhering to certain disciplinary funding proportions and the split of funds to co-applicant organisations.

We invite the submission of applications for additional funds required to meet the original deliverables of the project.

Application Form

Deadline: Applications can be submitted at any time before 31 December 2020

Important – please note that by applying for the funding, you may be asked to provide further details to enable the University to evaluate the impact of the pandemic on your project in terms of equality and diversity across the University’s research portfolio, including impacts on outputs from projects. When reviewing the CoA applications we have to ensure that the conditions of the award letter are met, specifically:

We expect organisations to use CoA funds to ensure that UKRI grant outcomes continue to be met, the value of its grant investments continue to be realised, and to sustain grant-funded research skills and capability of UK research organisations that will be needed to underpin the post-pandemic national recovery. Further information on the policy is available on the UKRI website -

Application Form


Which projects are eligible to receive this funding?

All live UKRI grants, including Innovate UK grants, apart from:

  • Those subject to restricted or non-competitive renewals such as:

    • Block grants with automatic renewals

    • Strategic funding for Institutes

    • Facilities

    • NERC National Capability

    • Capital funding calls

    • services or activities that have been provided for separately such as studentships

  • Some Innovate grants:

    • OLEV, ATI, APC and CCAV grants

    • KTPs

  • Projects finishing before 30th September 2021 that have been granted a no cost extension by UKRI after 31st July 2020.

UKRI projects with a current end date after 30th September 2021 are eligible to receive funding through this allocation. Funding would be given via the Covid Allocation award until 30 September 2021 and after this date would revert back to your original grant funding.  Please note that you will be able to request a no-cost extension for your original grant if required.

Please note that we cannot extend projects that have already finished.


UKRI Covid-19 Grant Extension Allocation - Frequently Asked Question's

A full list of comprehensive FAQ's has been prepared by UKRI and can be found here or by clicking on the link.  If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact your Business Development Officer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Global Challenge Research Internal Fund: Pump Prime or Impact Accelerator Fund and COVID-19 Response Schemes

The Aberdeen Grants Academy is inviting applications to three internal funding schemes to support ODA compliant research in DAC countries.  Applicants to all three schemes are encouraged to consider a wide range of activities in the delivery of their project, including but not limited to supporting PhD student stipends, Postdoctoral Researchers and the use of online technologies. The panel would particularly welcome creative solutions given the current restrictions on travel and face to face research. The activities must align to the Official Development Assistance (ODA) guidelines; namely to promote economic development and welfare within Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) on the DAC list and must demonstrate ODA compliance.  More information can be found at ‘Is it ODA?’

Funding available through each scheme is indicated in the notes below, however, in exceptional circumstances the panel will consider higher value projects where sufficient justification is provided..

Covid-19 Response

Funding of up to £50,000 per project is available to support research activities as follows:

  1. Support the response to Covid-19 in DAC countries. These may be new projects or existing projects which can be repurposed and/or extended to meet the challenges of COVID-19.
  2. Providing additional support to existing ODA compliant projects which have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects need not be tackling issues related to the pandemic themselves but will have experienced significant disruption to the planned research activities. Projects in this category will need to demonstrate the disruption caused and how additional funding will enable them to achieve the objectives of the original project.

Internal Pump Priming

Funding of up to £20,000 are invited. Projects should seek to:

  • Build new collaborative links and.or consolidate existing partnerships with researchers and stakeholders active in international development, with a particular emphasis in LMICs, to provide a firm foundation for future ODA-oriented projects and to demonstrate the demand lead nature from stakeholders of proposals.
  • Enable researchers to capture pilot data and/or evidence to position research areas for future funding applications to the Global Challenge Research Fund.
  • Support other relevant activity directly related to the development of proposals to GCRF initiatives.

Impact Accelerator

Projects of up to £20,000 are invited. Projects should seek to achieve and/or to evaluate impact arising from ODA-compliant research, including GCRF and Newton.


Please complete the appropriate application form and return it to

An application form for GCRF-IPPF and Impact Accelerator funding may be downloaded here.

Those applying to the Covid-19 Response scheme should use this form. At present this is an open call and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. It is expected the panel will meet from late May on a regular basis. 

Further information on the GCRF is available from UKRI where you will also find a list of current UKRI GCRF funding calls. You can also follow UKRI GCRF news via the UKRI News twitter account.

If you wish to discuss an application, please contact the Grants Academy

For advice and for help with costing an application, please contact your pre-award costing accountant.


Applications will be reviewed by circulation. The panel will comprise of selected Heads of Schools, Deans of Research, School Directors of Research and the Director of Research & Innovation. Further reviewers may be added as required for relevant expertise. The key assessment criteria for making awards will be on the potential to support excellent ODA-compliant research, to build and develop international partnerships to be competitive for GCRF funding.


A report must be provided within a month of completion of the project. Guidance on reporting requirements will be provided to award holders at award stage.

Further Guidance

Further information about the GCRF calls and ODA compliance, please visit our GCRF webpage.

Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Award

KEC Awards offer pump-priming funding for activities such as

·       Working with industry for knowledge exchange activities (particularly small and medium enterprises)
·       Developing intellectual property
·       Engaging with stakeholders for knowledge exchange activities
·       Commercialising research
·       Applying for funding for translational research awards or knowledge transfer partnerships 

The 2021/2022 KEC awards welcome applications that focus upon the economic and social recovery from covid-19.  Projects that include collaborative work with local companies and/or organisations that will aid in the regional and national recovery from the effects of the pandemic, that support their efforts to diversify and innovate and that support their efforts to develop new products, processes or services will be particularly welcomed.

The call is open to any industry sector and any academic discipline.  Applications must have Head of School/Institute/Department approval.

Awards are expected to be up to £6K and exceptionally up to £10K.  Projects must be completed by 31 July 2022.

Contact Dr Javier Lopez VidalDr Ann Lewendon  or Dr Zachary Hickman for further information, to discuss an application and for an application form.


Knowledge exchange is a two-way process that moves knowledge derived from research activities to non-academic organisations to enhance and improve their practices, policies, products and services, and also allows for knowledge flow back to the University to inform research.

Commercialisation is the process by which research outcomes are brought to market through the development of new products, services or technologies.  This often involves the protection of intellectual property and there is usually a commercial return to the University.

Public Engagement with Research Enabling Fund 2020-2021

The University has 3 awards of up to £1000 and 4 awards of up to £500 to enable public engagement activities.

Summary of Eligibility

1. The awards are intended to support research-led public engagement projects that for lack of funding might otherwise not take place.

2. Proposals may consist of a standalone ideas or feature elements of a larger project.

3. We will accept applications from anyone across the University community however projects must demonstrate a tangible link with current areas of University research.

4. Applications are made by an individual (the lead applicant) however they may be made on behalf of a wider team.

5. The lead applicant must be a current employee or PGR student with the University of Aberdeen.

6. We welcome applications that:

  • Further the goals of the University’s strategy, Aberdeen 2040 and which relate to one of the Strategy’s five interdisciplinary challenges
  • Help establish impact
  • Foster 2-way digital engagement

7. Funds must be spent by 31st July 2021.

8. Proposals that involve partners and community engagement are welcomed, though we recommend seeking the support of third parties ahead of making your application.

9. Proposals must have an evaluation plan.

10. Staff associated with the Public Engagement with Research Unit (PERU), or who hold public engagement focused jobs at the University of Aberdeen may not apply. However, applicants from all schools are encouraged to seek advice and support from the PERU team by emailing

Summary of terms

1. Applications are assessed comparatively with other proposals received by a review panel which represents different areas of the University.

2. Applications must address the questions below.

3. Where proposals require top-up or supplementary funding we may ask for evidence that such funding has been secured.

4. Applications should be submitted by email to indicating ‘Engagement Awards’ in the subject field.

5. The decision of the review panel is final.

Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support fund (ISSF)

Funding to support a range of strategic research activities that fall within the Wellcome Trust's remit.

Visit here for more information.