External funders

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Arts Council England is a government funded organisation providing grants that help to promote and develop the creative arts by supporting arts organisations, museums, libraries, and independent projects. Arts Council England offers a wide range of targeted programmes. There is a specific focus on the impact of the arts and therefore they can be a suitable funder for public engagement projects.

Programme information

Funding schemes

(Note that this list is not exhaustive)

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants: open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects. Awards range from £1,000 - £100,000.

Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Fund: supports the purchase of a wide range of material for the permanent collections of non-nationally funded organisations in England and Wales. The purchase price of the object should be between £500 and £500,000. Grants may be made of up to 50 per cent of the purchase price.

The Art Fund is a charity that focuses on helping museums and galleries to acquire, care for, and engage the public with works of art. It provides funding to support collections development and can assist with acquisitions and partnerships with other institutions to facilitate collections-based projects.

Programme information
 

Funding schemes

(Note that this list is not exhaustive)

New Collecting Awards: awards of typically £30,000-£80,000 aimed specifically at developing curatorial skills through the pursuit of new collecting avenues.

Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grant: small-scale grants, divided into two categories of £200-£2,000 and £2,001+ to provide practical support to facilitate research.

The British Academy is a charity that focuses on funding research in humanities and social sciences and on providing support individuals through fellowships and small-scale grant funding.

Programme information

Funding schemes

(Note that this list is not exhaustive)

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants: up to £10,000 for direct research expenses, for example to facilitate travel or workshops.

Mid-Career Fellowships: variable awards of up to £160,000 for individuals to facilitate major research projects within their fields and that specifically include significant public engagement outputs, with limited funds available for research expenses.

BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships: variable awards with no set limit which cover fellows’ teaching and administrative duties to enable the completion of a major research project - usually a career defining work.

Newton International Fellowships: awards for subsistence, expenses, relocation and overheads to allow early career international scholars to undertake 2 year placements at UK research institutions.

Newton Mobility Grants: variable awards to enable collaborative partnerships between UK and international research institutions in specified countries.

Public engagement with research: schemes which have offered funding for PER in the past include The Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling the UK's International Challenges, The British Academy / Wolfson Fellowships and Mid-Career Fellowships.

Chevening is the UK government’s global awards programme which provides support for international mid-career professionals to continue their career development within a UK institution, usually through short courses or self-directed research.

Funder information

Chevening fellowships: variable awards to cover fees, travel and living expenses to allow international scholars to undertake placements at UK research institutions.

Commonwealth Scholarships provide funding for established international researchers to undertake placements at UK institutions, research can be in any subject area but should have the potential for a broad impact beyond the academic community. Not all programmes are currently accepting applications so it is best to revisit the funder's website periodically for updates.

Funder information

Commonwealth Rutherford Fellows: variable awards to cover fees, travel and living expenses to allow international scholars to undertake placements at UK research institutions.

Most European Union research grant funding is delivered through seven-year research and innovation work programmes. The new funding programme is Horizon Europe (2021 – 2027). ERC calls will continue into and throughout Horizon Europe with little change from ERC in Horizon 2020.

The UK will associate to Horizon Europe. This means that UK based researchers will continue to be eligible to take part in EU-funded collaborative projects (including as lead institution), and to apply for ERC and Marie Skłodowska-Curie funding.

The ERC 2021 Work Programme is now available on the ERC website.

See the section on the European Research Council (ERC) in this guide for links to factsheets and presentations about the various schemes.

Innovate UK is a government agency that encourages scientific and technological innovation and provides funding through Innovation Competitions for projects that respond to specific challenges; as a result, calls may close soon after the original announcement.

Funding opportunities

The Leverhulme Trust is a charity that supports research across a wide range of disciplines and funds projects within the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. The Leverhulme Trust defines its programmes based on the type of research activity, it does not pursue or prioritise specific themes and therefore can be suitable funder for a wide range of different projects operating at different scales.

Funding opportunities

Key programmes

(Note that this list is not exhaustive)

Research Project Grants: awards up to £500,000 to facilitate major research projects.

Early Career Fellowships: awards up to £25,000 (50% of total salary costs) that must be match funded by the host institution to support early career researchers with major research projects, plus annual research expenses of up to £6,000 per year.

Major Research Fellowship: awards provide research leave (2-3 years) for established scholars to facilitate major research projects within their fields.

Research Fellowship: awards up to £60,000 to provide research expenses and/or replacement salary costs, tenable for between 3 and 24 months.

Research Leadership Awards: large-scale grants of up to £1million to build research teams for major projects.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes: awards up to £100,000 for researchers at an early stage of their careers with international recognition to use for any research purpose to advance within their field.

The Leverhulme Trust also offers arts scholarships and fellowships for emeritus and international scholars, as well as funding for studentships.  
 

MSCA is a funding body supported by the European Commission that provides funding for research projects and has a particular focus on facilitating researcher mobility within EU Member States or Associated Countries. Award amounts vary based upon the location and duration of placements. 

Programme information

Work programme 2021-22

Current opportunities

Postdoctoral Fellowships: variable awards with no set limit, to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. The Postdoctoral Fellowships (PFs) action targets researchers holding a PhD who wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. PFs help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic sectors.

The Royal Commission provides funding for advanced study and research in science, engineering, the built environment and design. It has a specific focus on raising awareness of science and engineering opportunities to younger audiences.

Funder information

(1851) Research Fellowships: variable awards with no set limit, to support early career researchers with major research projects at an institution that is different from the institution where their doctorate was gained. 

 

The Royal Society is a charity that focuses on funding research into natural sciences and on providing support individuals through fellowships and small-scale grant funding.

Programme information

Key programmes

(Note that this list is not exhaustive)

RS/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships: variable awards with no set limit for individuals to facilitate major research projects within their fields.

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships: variable awards for early career researchers requiring a flexible working pattern.

Research Grants: variable awards of up to £20,000 (incl. VAT) for up to 12 months for scientists in the UK who are at an early stage in their career or returning from a career break and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables.

Newton Mobility Grants: variable awards of up to £12,000 over two years (or less) to enable collaborative partnerships between international and UK research institutions.

APEX Awards (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary Research): variable awards of up to £100,000 specifically aimed at supporting cross disciplinary research.

Places of Science: small grants of up to £3,000 to small museums, funding projects that tell the stories of science and scientists relevant to communities across the UK.

Public Engagement Fund: provides between £500 and £10,000 for Royal Society Research Fellows to create and lead public engagement projects.

The Wellcome Trust is a charity that focuses primarily on medical science and healthcare but also funds research more broadly within the humanities and social sciences. It supports large projects and has a particular interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. It also provides a wide range of funding opportunities specifically aimed at public engagement and creative industries.

Programme information

Scheme information

Key programmes

(Note that this list is not exhaustive)

Investigator Awards in Science: Flexible funding, up to around £3 million for independent researchers at all career stages to facilitate major research projects. Salary isn’t provided. (Note that the Investigator Awards in Humanities and Social Science are paused in 2020).

Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Science: awards of up to £275,000 over 3 years for individuals to facilitate major research projects within their fields.

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships: offers recently qualified postdoctoral researchers up to £300,000 to start independent research careers.

Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science: awards of between £25,000 to £100,000 to develop compelling and innovative ideas that will go on to form part of larger grant applications to Wellcome or elsewhere.

Research Resources Awards in Humanities and Social Science: awards of up to £500,000 over 5 years to help collection and information professionals develop library and archive material for humanities and social science researchers.

You may also wish to use Research Professional, an online research funding database and news service which is free for everyone at Oxford.

For any research application remember that it is your responsibility to check the full guidance from the funder carefully to ensure your own eligibility, project eligibility, and current deadlines and timings.

Also remember that Research Services require at least one week before the funder deadline to process your application.