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  1. Getting started
  2. City schemes supporting research and enterprise
  3. Research Pump-Priming Fund

Research Pump-Priming Fund

The University Research Pump-Priming Fund provides early career researchers with up to £5,000 (up to £10,000 in exceptional cases) over one year to support new research projects that have the potential to attract external funding.

Who can apply

  • Academic or research staff within the first four years of their research career, either in an academic position or as an independent researcher.
  • Employment in a research position working on someone else's proposal does not count towards the four year limit.
  • Staff whose previous role did not include research also qualify as early career researchers e.g. those entering the University at a more senior grade from industry or a professional background.
  • Research assistants may also apply with their School’s support provided they will be in post for the full duration of the proposed project.
  • The support of the applicant's School is required.
  • Staff will not be awarded funding under this scheme more than once as principal investigator.

Eligible Costs

All activity must take place within the award period. Common examples of eligible costs:

  • Hiring of short-term research staff
  • Data collection or undertaking pilot studies
  • Purchasing of specialist equipment, data or software
  • Meeting with collaborators
  • Dissemination of the research. Conferences can be funded as part of the dissemination of the research as long as the activity takes place within the grant award period.

The fund can be used to supplement funding provided by Schools.

Ineligible Costs

Funding is not provided for activities or items normally funded as part of regular School or Department activity

  • IT equipment normally provided by department
  • Open access publication fees
  • The cost of bridging staff appointments between grants, although staff whose contract has expired on a previous grant may be employed as a research assistant on a pump priming award
  • Books
  • In instances where staff would normally be expected to cover their own subsistence, this is not an eligible expense
  • Cost of patenting for commercial exploration. This should be covered by School. Advice on this may also be sought from the Academic Enterprise team.

How to apply

  1. Applicant downloads and completes the application form.
  2. Applicant creates a project on Worktribe.
    1. Under the ‘Funder’ drop down menu, select ‘City, University of London’.
    2. Under the ‘Scheme’ drop down menu, select ‘City Pump Prime Funding’.
  1. Applicant enters project details:
    • Enter details of items to be costed and staff resource needed in the BUDGET section.
    • Add any PARTNER organisations
    • Go through the check list under RISKS carefully.
    • Upload the completed application form and any supporting documents (e.g. technical appendix, quotes from suppliers) under DOCUMENTS.
  2. Applicant submits project for approval by Research Support Services and Associate Dean Research.
  3. Research Support Services review and approve project.
  4. The Associate Dean for Research completes and uploads a Supporting Statement under the DOCUMENTS tab and approves project.

If during the approval stages the RSSM or ADR do not approve the application it will return to the ‘Bid Development’ stage. The application can then be amended and re-submitted.

Assessment Criteria

Applications are reviewed internally against the following criteria:

  • Alignment with University, School and Department strategic goals in research
  • Potential for high quality outcomes
  • Potential for generating research income
  • Potential for enhancing links with other institutions, business, community or public engagement
  • Potential for enhancing interdisciplinary research
  • Research timeframe and resources required appropriate and fully justified
  • Significance or originality of the research
  • Clarity of proposal
  • Support from School, including financial contribution
  • Overall assessment of the proposal and case for funding


Awardees are required to submit a report on expenditure and research outcomes upon project completion. Funds must be spent in line with the budget provided for the approved proposal. Unspent funds will be reclaimed after 12 months. Any overspend will be charged to the Awardee’s School.

Request for budget virement and extension

Request for budget virements or project extensions are made through Worktribe in advance of the project end date and must include a full justification, revised workplan and budget.

Common reasons applications are rejected

  • Lack of clear information provided.
  • Lack of evidence in the application of knowledge of the subject
  • Lack of a work plan that supports the deliverables
  • No evidence of gaps in the existing knowledge base that would be addressed by the proposal or of how the proposed project would generate relevant and generalizable data
  • Lack of clear descriptions of the kind(s) of data that will be collected, how it will be collected and how it will be analysed
  • No or unclear information about the research methods to be used
  • Insufficient breakdown of the costs.
  • Not writing the application in a way that is accessible for a multi-disciplinary non-expert audience