Impact Development fund

Next call for REF/Research Impact Development Fund

Researchers are invited to apply for the 2017/2018 University of Leicester REF/Research Impact Development Fund to support activities which enhance the reach and significance of impact.

The 2017/2018 call for the Fund has opened, welcoming applications that strengthen the integration of research impact into the academic and research culture of the University or reach out to the public or specific stakeholder groups. The call closes at 5pm on Monday, May 8.

The fund also supports “threshold criteria” for REF impact case studies, such as the securing of underpinning publications and evidence, and provides seed-funding for research activities with the potential for significant, demonstrable impact in the short, medium and longer term.

Funded projects are monitored and outcomes are reported to the University’s central Research Strategy, Policy and Performance Committee. Funds are generally awarded in the form of grants on a sliding scale from £1,000 to £10,000.

Funds must be spent between 1 August 2017 and 30 June 2018 and underspend may not be rolled to the subsequent academic year.

All academic and research-related staff are eligible to apply for grants. Applications will be initially triaged within Colleges, with final decisions on funding taken by a panel including the PVC Research & Enterprise, the three College Academic Leads on Impact, the Research Impact Strategy and Policy Manager and the Head of Research Strategy and Policy.

Successful bids will require a pro-forma end-of-activity report outlining outcomes and expenditure. All applications will require support from the relevant Head of Department in the form of a signature or email of confirmation. Funding can be used for teaching cover, using Unitemps, if supported explicitly by the applicant’s Head of Department.

Alternatively, funding can be used to support an RA’s time on a Unitemps hourly-based rate. Travel and other consumable items are also eligible.

The Awards Panel reserves the right to part-fund an application if an alternative source of funding is identified, or if it has reservations as to whether the full amount can be spent within the eligible timeframe. All expenditure must meet the University’s Financial Regulations.

The application form can be found here.

Applications should be sent to the Research Impact Strategy and Policy Manager Sarah Hall at

For advice on applications, or to register your project on the list of potential impact case studies, contact your College Lead for Impact:

Decisions will be communicated on Monday, 3 July this year and funds can be spent from 1 August.

Criteria for awarding funding

In order of priority, the criteria used to prioritise applications for funding will be:

1) Applications which support the creation of 3*/4* impact case studies for the next REF. Particular prioritisation will be given to activities which demonstrate the potential to enhance the quality and validity of case studies, i.e. those that enhance the reach and significance of impact; or those that support “threshold criteria” for impact case studies such as the securing of underpinning publications and evidence. Examples might include:

  • Independently commissioned research into the impact of Leicester-made research
  • Buy-out time or associated costs for the securing of qualitative/quantitative feedback from the users of research
  • Buy-out or staff time to write and submit publications which are critical to an impact case study
  • Travel costs to engage with the beneficiaries of research, e.g. to non-academic conferences and meetings
  • Project-specific skills and training costs for researchers which enhance their ability to deliver impact from a piece of research

2) Applications that strengthen the integration of research impact into the academic and research culture of the University and/or reach out to the public or specific stakeholder groups. Examples might include:

  • Departmental, Group, Theme or College-led days, events or awards which promote understanding of impact and how it is achieved, both in REF terms and more broadly
  • Public engagement events/outreach activities with strong potential to support impact case studies

3) Seed-funding for research activities with the potential for significant, demonstrable impact in the short, medium and longer term. All such research activities must be registered on the University’s list of potential impact case studies, coordinated and managed by the College Leads on Impact and Research Impact Strategy and Policy Manager, which tracks the University’s potential impact for the next REF and beyond. Applicants are reminded that seed-funding for research activities is available within some College and Departmental budgets and, when funding is awarded, consideration will be given as to the most appropriate source of funding on a project-by-project basis. Applicants should also consider the potential for applying for impact resources as part of RCUK and other funder applications.

Excluded from the activities supported are:

  • Activities with strong potential to deliver income generation – these are covered by the HEIF-funded Proof of Concept and Prospects Funds
  • Projects with an obvious alternative source of funding
  • Any other activity not deemed to be appropriate

In previous years, the fund has been used to support a wide variety of activities. For example:

  • An award to Dr Chris Bayliss (Genetics) enabled the data analysis from a vaccination-challenge experiment with Campylobacter jejuni, which is responsible for a high proportion of foodborne gastroenteritis in Europe. The work funded led to publication of proof-in-principle for the utility of the 28-locus CJ11168 PV assay, which has the potential to impact on interventions such as vaccination and phage therapy.
  • An award to Dr Dawn Watkins (Law) enabled her to travel to two meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Children in the House of Lords, and make contact with the Secretary of a newly-formed APPG for Public Legal Education (PLE). The award activities also cemented her relationship with the Galleries of Justice museum (GOJ) in Nottingham and its education provider, the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL).
  • An award to Professor Andy Abbott (Chemistry) to support collaborative research with a French natural products company on new methods for the extraction of natural plant extracts has led to the collection of sufficient data to file a patent.
  • An award to Dr Martin Sterry and Prof David Mattingly (Archaeology and Ancient History) led to the creation of a bi-lingual pop-up exhibition of 12 panels detailing the archaeological heritage of the Wadi Draa, Morocco, which is under grave threat from the effects of industrial agriculture and a burgeoning population. The exhibition was displayed in Zagora and Ouarzazate and is currently touring the Wadi Draa.

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