An introduction to different types and sources of UK funding and how to find out more information. This page also contains details of City's internal Pump-Priming funding scheme.
Fund your research
Funding obtained through an application made as part of a competitive process is generally available through one of two types of calls or modes:
- Open/responsive. A funder invites applications under a general set of criteria at any time or to advertised closing dates.
- Directed/managed/targeted. If a funder has a specific objective, it may issue a one-off or periodic funding call which has more specific criteria.
You can find opportunities from different funding bodies through Research Professional. Funding may of course also be obtained from industry or business; this is more usually through individual connections but will still require costing and a contract to be drawn up for approval through the institution's processes.
UK funding opportunities
There are three main types of funding body based in the UK:
- UK Research and Innovation
- Government, NHS and local authorities
- Grant-giving trusts and foundations
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
The seven Research Councils cover arts and humanities, biotechnology and biological sciences, economic and social research, engineering and physical sciences and medical sciences.
UKRI also has two themed special funds operating across the councils: Global Challenges Research fund and Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The UK Research Office in Brussels provides information and advice on EU funding programmes to subscribers, including City.
Government, NHS and local authorities
Public bodies, such as Government departments and local authorities, may issue periodic funding calls. The nature and scale of these calls varies between organisations.
Of particular interest to City researchers is the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which supports health research of benefit to the NHS.
Grant-making trusts and foundations
There are about 8,800 grant-making trusts and foundations in the UK, giving in total about £2.1 billion in grants to charitable causes each year. Some, but not all, can fund academic research. The amounts they offer vary from a few hundred pounds to multi-million pound grants.
Contact Research and Enterprise to learn more.
City's Pump-Priming Fund
The University Research Pump-Priming Fund invites early career researchers to apply for up to £10,000 over one year for new research projects that have the potential to attract larger 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 (the support of the applicant's School is required).
- Employment in a research position working on someone else's proposal does not count towards the four-year limit.
- City 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.
City academics cannot be awarded funding under this scheme more than once as principal investigator.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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 generalisable 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.
How to apply
- Download and complete the application form
- Create a project on Worktribe
- Under the 'Funder' drop down menu, select 'City, University of London'
- Under the 'Scheme' drop down menu, select 'City Pump Prime Funding'
- Enter the project details:
- Enter details of items to be costed and staff resource needed in the BUDGET section
- Add any PARTNER organisations
- Go through the checklist under RISKS carefully
- Upload the completed application form and any supporting documents (e.g. technical appendix, quotes from suppliers) under DOCUMENTS
- Submit the project for approval by Research Support Services and Associate Dean Research
- Research Support Services will review and approve the project
- The Associate Dean for Research completes and uploads a Supporting Statement under the DOCUMENTS tab and approves the 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.