Internal Funding

Internal Funding

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.

Cross Disciplinary Research for Discovery Science

We are pleased to announce a call to support our academics and researchers to ‘discipline-hop’ and, in doing so, facilitate and enhance interdisciplinary research in areas of relevance to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)’s Discovery Science agenda.

NERC has awarded a grant of £100,000 to the University of Aberdeen to fund activities up to 31 March 2023 at the latest. The funding will be managed by the University of Aberdeen Grants Academy.

We therefore invite applications for ‘discipline-hopping’ activities in areas of relevance to NERC’s Discovery Science agenda. For example, projects could be undertaken to:

  • Embed researchers, for a short period of time, in departments outside of their own discipline area (within the same organisation, or in other eligible UK research organisations*).
  • Share insights on priorities and looking for synergies/ new ideas that cut across departmental boundaries.
  • Work shadowing in other departments, for example to learn new skills and techniques.
  • Organise meetings/ seminars/ workshops between departments and disciplines to share learning, understanding of key terms, concepts, language and tools to tackle problems.
  • Work with end users (e.g. businesses, policymakers, non-governmental organisations) to understand how their needs could be addressed through interdisciplinary approaches.

*Update: The funds should be spent within and between UK research organisations. Currently institutions outside of the UK (and outside of any Lead agency agreement) are not eligible to receive funding via Discovery Science schemes. So whilst potential synergies with international partners are very important they would not be able to be capitalised on further through Discovery Science.”

To apply please complete and submit the application form to grantsacademy@abdn.ac.uk.

The next deadline is 26 January 2023. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after this date with the proviso that the activities have to be completed by 31 March 2023 at the latest. Early application is strongly encouraged.

Eligibility

The funding must be used to facilitate and enhance interdisciplinary working in areas of relevance to the discovery science agenda. NERC discovery science funding supports environmental research driven by curiosity and imagination rather than the funder’s strategic priorities, and spans the full breadth of sciences and methodologies required to advance our understanding of the Earth’s major systems and to reveal people’s impact on environmental processes. This funding will cover collaborations (to enable discovery within environmental science) across the breadth of UKRI remit, including the arts, humanities, engineering and technology and medical sciences.

The grant can be used to support University of Aberdeen academics and researchers employed at lecturer (or equivalent) level or above, and costs for Post-Doctoral Research Assistants can be supported. PhD students are not eligible.

The funding can be used to support activities within our organisation, or in partnership with other UK research organisations (and/ or end users).

Level of Award

We are inviting applications for up to £10,000. Larger awards will be considered if a strong justification can be made. Please discuss your needs with your Research Development Executive in the first instance.

Eligible Costs

NERC has awarded up to £100,000 at 100% FEC. Eligible costs include:

  • Directly Allocated staff costs, plus associated indirect and estates costs
  • Directly Incurred staff costs, plus associated indirect and estates costs
  • Directly Incurred T&S
  • Directly Incurred Other costs (to cover other expenses, workshops, consumables etc.)
  • Other Directly Allocated costs
  • Equipment (over £10k) is not an eligible cost.

We can fund activities to 31 March 2023 at the latest due to the terms of NERC funding. We cannot prepay or commit funds for an activity/event that takes place after 31 March 2023.

Review

Applications will be reviewed by email circulation. The process will be overseen by our Internal NERC Panel which was established to make decisions and provide support to applicants seeking NERC Discovery Science funding. Membership of this Committee comprises an institutional Dean for research, and representatives from Schools with research within NERC remit, along with Research and Innovation.  There will also be additional input from the Directors of our 5 Interdisciplinary Centres (as appropriate) and additional representatives to ensure compliance with NERC expectations.

Key Assessment Criteria

To ensure that funding is used to facilitate and enhance interdisciplinary research working in discovery science, the Committee will broadly apply the following criteria when assessing the good fit of applications in line with guidance provided:

  • Establishing new, high quality interdisciplinary research collaborations, or significantly enhance existing partnerships, both internally and externally.
  • Building expertise and agility to work across disciplinary boundaries. This could involve supporting projects which embed researchers in a different School within the University Structure, or in other eligible UK research organisations.
  • Supporting development opportunities for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to undertake independent research projects which involve exposure and experience outwith their current research environment. Especially where such development will facilitate future applications to either NERC Independent Research Fellowship or UKRI Future Leader Fellowship schemes.
  • Potential of the project to share skills knowledge, techniques, and support best practice across academic silos.
  • Encourage the development of stakeholder engagement in bids particularly for ECRs.
  • Demonstrating clear pathways to achieve outcomes e.g. attracting external funding or creating demonstrable impact within and beyond academia.
  • All projects must seek to cross disciplinary boundaries and funded activity must be within NERC remit.

Ethics

Where applicable, approval of the relevant ethics board is required as a condition of activities taking place.

Reporting

Awardees will be expected to provide a brief final report on the activities undertaken and lessons learned, as well as a final expenditure statement, and we will share a simple proforma for this purpose in March 2023. The funder’s terms and conditions are still to be confirmed however we expect that ResearchFish submissions may also be a requirement.

International Partnership funding within URKI BBSRC Remit

International Partnership funding within URKI BBSRC Remit

We are pleased to announce a call to support the strengthening and initiating of international partnerships across the world within the UKRI-BBSRC remit.

Funds can be used to initiate and/or strengthen existing international partnership activities, bilaterally or multilaterally within the UKRI-BBSRC remit. In doing this we request that you are: (a) mindful of the UK Government's Integrated Review, including the countries identified and the context in which those countries are highlighted; and (b) leading research nations that offer the opportunity to advance the UK's world-class bioscience research through international collaboration.

This call is underpinned by an awarded block grant from the BBSRC of £282,000 to the University of Aberdeen to provide additional in-year support for research within the theme of strengthening and initiating international partnerships across the world within the UKRI-BBSRC remit. As such:

  • Funds must NOT be used to support any ODA activity directly. This means activities must NOT have a primary purpose to deliver a specific development objective with a named DAG list country. 'Global benefit' activities with DAG list countries alongside non-DAG list countries where the primary goal is broader are considered within scope.
  • Funds must NOT be used for capital expenditure, i.e. no single items of equipment above the £10k threshold are permitted.
  • Funds must be spent, and activities undertaken by March 31st 2023; for the avoidance of doubt, we cannot prepay or commit funds for an activity/event that takes place after 31 March 2023.
  • The activity must be within UKRI-BBSRC remit including but not limited to Neuroscience, Diet, Obesity and Appetite; Microbiology;  Bioinformatics/new ways of working; sustainability and working with the industry, Imaging for Health, Cell and Genome Biology, Immunology, Sustainable agriculture and food, Engagement with industrial partners including the food industry, animal diseases, agricultural pests and pollinators, managed agricultural lands, healthy ageing, food chain waste reduction, zoonoses and emerging livestock systems.

We anticipate applications for up to £70k but encourage proposals ranging in value appropriate to the partnerships involved. We particularly like to encourage partnerships aligned to school priorities and those applications aimed at enhancing existing strategic relationships for example with Curtin/Calgary/Augusta.

To apply, please complete and submit the attached application form to grantsacademy@abdn.ac.uk Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. We expect all applications to be submitted by 30th November 2022 in the first instance.  If funds are still available after this time, we will consider applications up until 31st December 2022. Please see the application form for further details of eligibility and review criteria.

Awardees will be expected to provide an end-of-grant report (Pro-forma will be issued), contribute to an online end-of-award workshop and where requested, provide information to support the University’s reporting obligation to BBSRC.

Please direct any initial enquiries to andrew.phillips@abdn.ac.uk in the first instance.

For more funding opportunities, visit the Grants Academy External Funding Web Page

UKRI/GCRF/Newton Mitigation Award

We are pleased to announce a call to support research impact from ODA-compliant UKRI/GCRF/Newton funded projects. Full details can be found in the application document.

(Please note that GCRF research Hubs are not eligible under this call).

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. We expect all applications to be submitted by 30th November 2022 in the first instance.  If funds are still available after this time, we will consider applications up until 31st December 2022.

Funds must be spent, and activities undertaken by March 31st 2023.

BEIS and UKRI have awarded a block grant of £200,000 and £50,000 respectively to the University of Aberdeen to fund impact-related activities arising from GCRF/Newton and UKRI projects (open or closed). We anticipate applications for up to £10k to support:

  • Completion of GCRF and Newton Fund grant research objectives with existing partners impacted by various circumstances such as delays and the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Commencement of new follow-on activities with existing partners that support research along the route to achieving the most impact in beneficiary countries;
  • Distribution of funding to existing research partners, including overseas institutions, to carry out activities. This can apply to lead organisation.

Eligible activities:

  • Engagement with stakeholders, policy makers, practitioners, third sector and community organisations and groups, and other research users to facilitate knowledge exchange and accelerate the translation of research outputs into impacts
  • Activities to disseminate research findings, such as workshops, development of briefings, public engagement, showcasing events, creative outputs (e.g., films, performances, exhibitions etc.), or publicity materials and associated activities to enhance the accessibility, inclusivity and reach of research outcomes (e.g., translation into relevant languages). This includes developing or extending existing resources or websites.
  • Research activities or work packages - including associated staff time - that were not completed due to circumstances over the past year, where to carry them out now would enable realisation of project impact objectives and outputs.
  • Costs for development of demonstrators, prototypes, industry engagement, market assessment, proof of concept, or other support required in commercialisation of outputs.
  • Ongoing engagement with existing partners or networks to enable knowledge exchange and impact, including capacity development.

Key eligibility criteria:

  • In line with BEIS requirements, ODA funding cannot be used to support partners in or from China.
  • Proposals to work with partners in India must demonstrate a primary focus on delivering benefit to countries outside of India on the OECD DAC list. Such projects will require pre-approved by ODA team before funding can be granted.
  • Projects involving partners in Chile are not eligible under this call due to removal from OECD DAC list.

Please direct any initial enquiries to jude.bain@abdn.ac.uk in the first instance. Full details of this call can be found in the application below.

Internal Funding to Pump-Prime Research and Research Networks

Internal Funding to Pump-Prime Research and Research Networks

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

  • Pump-priming for interdisciplinary research initiatives to develop 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. To encourage the co-development of research programmes and networks, activities which engage non-academic organisations are particularly encouraged.
  • Bid development funds to support the development of new major interdisciplinary 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)
  • Networking, access to consultants or pump priming initiatives that would lead to large network grants. The Principal’s Brexit Mitigation Fund in particular can be used to develop or maintain links with European partners, as well as international partners, especially those within the Strategic Alliance, University of Calgary and Curtin University.

In addition to the above, funding to strengthen the quality of forthcoming research outputs is available. This could include research expenses to complete critical datasets, PDRA time to complete the drafting of journal articles, or other activities which you can clearly demonstrate have the potential to enable the development of a forthcoming output from quality that is recognised internationally (2*), to either internationally excellent (3*) or world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour (4*).

Eligibility

Applications are welcome from academic staff across the University for research pilot projects and the development of research partnerships which would potentially lead to subsequent funding from external funding bodies and/or contribute to Aberdeen 2040 strategic priorities.

The Lead Applicant must be a current employee and eligible to be included in the University of Aberdeen’s REF submission.  A project can have Co-Leads if from different disciplines.

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

Priority will be given to applicants who have not received funding in previous rounds of the pump-priming scheme. Former awardees should make a clear case for additional funding sought, including an update on outcomes (both pending and achieved) of activities supported previously. In such cases you are encouraged to discuss a further application with your Research Development Executive prior to submitting your proposal.

An application cannot be accepted if there is a report outstanding on any previous pump-priming grant awarded by the University to the Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant(s) named in a new proposal.

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 Research Development Executive. Projects must be completed by 31 July 2023; 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 an application form by email to grantsacademy@abdn.ac.uk.

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 (https://abdn.pure.elsevier.com/en/equipments/)
  • capacity building activities such as meetings and exchanges to develop and/or strengthen interdisciplinary relationships with partners to progress potential collaborations
  • funding to support ODA compliant research to promote the economic development and welfare of Low or Middle Income Countries (LMICs) on the DAC list of Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipients. More information can be found at ‘Is it ODA?
  • 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 (where the outputs can only be achieved though face to face meetings). We strongly encourage virtual collaborations in line with our Guiding Principles of Sustainable Business Travel and Travel Hierarchy.
  • consumables
  • third party costs (i.e. sub-contractors or consultants)
  • invitations to Aberdeen for incoming researchers, especially from our Strategic Alliance partners the University of Calgary and Curtin University
  • 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.

The funding cannot be used as standalone funding to underpin personal research programmes.

Ineligible costs:

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

Review

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 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

The funding available is primarily intended to support interdisciplinary research and research partnerships however the review panel will consider all applications on merit. Priority will be given to projects which engage a non-academic partner, as well as international partners, especially those within the Strategic Alliance, University of Calgary and Curtin University.

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 to be a more inclusive, interdisciplinary, international and sustainable university
  • 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

Ethics

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

Reporting

Awardees will be asked to contribute a lay project summary which will be used on the University’s webpages.

A report must be provided within 60 days of completion of the project and a simple template proforma will be shared with awardees for this purpose.

We will seek to maintain conversations with awardees and follow the leverage achieved through the investment so there will be additional opportunities for awardees to provide updates and reports, for example you may be contacted from time to time by Research & Innovation to contribute to the development of a case study for additional reporting or invited to participate in research events such as symposia.

Please note details of successful applications will be added to Pure. Awardees are encouraged to keep Pure up to date with the latest research outputs and activities. For more information and guidance on how to add your content to Pure please visit Pure | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk).

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

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.

Applications

Please complete the appropriate application form and return it to grantsacademy@abdn.ac.uk.

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.

Review

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.

Reporting

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

Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) Award

KEC Awards offer pump-priming funding for activities such as

  • Working with industry (particularly SMEs) or engaging with stakeholders for knowledge exchange activities 
  • Developing intellectual property
  • Commercialising research
  • Applying for funding for translational research awards or KTPs

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 2023.

Deadline: 5pm, 26 January 2023.

Contact Dr Javier Lopez Vidal or Dr Ann Lewendon for further information and to discuss an application

Definitions

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 2021-2022

The University has awards of £500, and in exceptional circumstances up to £1000, to enable public engagement with research 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 idea 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 particularly welcome applications that:

  • Are linked to one of the five interdisciplinary challenges linked to the University’s strategy, Aberdeen 2040
  • Will take place during or link with British Science Week (11-20 March 2022) or the University’s Festival of New Ideas (27-29 May 2022)
  • Help establish impact
  • Foster 2-way digital engagement

7. Funds must be spent by 31st July 2022.

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

9. Proposals must have an evaluation plan.

10. Applicants are encouraged to seek advice and support from the PERU team by emailing peru@abdn.ac.uk.

Summary of terms

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

2. Applications must address the questions in the application form.

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 peru@abdn.ac.uk indicating ‘Enabling Fund’ in the subject field.

5. Any funds not spent by 31 July 2022 will be required to be returned to PERU.

6. Funding recipients will be required to supply information about their project for the purposes of a case study.

7. A report on the project and its evaluation will be provided within 6 months of the project end date

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.