FoNS Strategy Research Funding

The Faculty of Natural Sciences wish to support new multidisciplinary and industrial collaborations to stimulate new research directions and to enhance our research impact, noting the requirement for REF impact cases. From November 2015 the FoNS Strategy Research Fund (FSRF) has allocated its limited resources to foster new interdisciplinary initiatives within College and to engage more effectively with external SME partners. The Faculty is particularly keen to use the FSRF to support earlier career staff and will endeavour to award at least one proposal in each round to applicants below the rank of Professor.

The Faculty Strategic Research Fund provides four schemes:

Criteria

Collaboration Kick-start Funding

This aims to support feasibility or exploratory studies that enable multidisciplinary teams to explore new research avenues and to obtain preliminary data to support the development of significant bids for external funding. Up to £20,000 per project is available for new initiatives across disciplines or with external partners. It is expected that teams being funded would submit a substantial bid for external funding within 12 months of this Faculty support being awarded. The Kick-Start Funding Proposals will be evaluated using the criteria below:

  • Eligibility:
    •  The lead applicant must be a permanent member of staff in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Fellowship-holders are also welcome provided FSRF funds are used during their fellowship
    • Funding requested is up to a maximum of £20,000
    • Proposals must have the support from the Head of Department
    • It must be a new multidisciplinar collaboration or initiative;
  • Research quality: innovation, feasibility, industrial engagement and potential impact of the proposed research;
  • If the funding requested is cost effective;
  • Strategic value to the Faculty/College:
    • Potential for REF impact
    • Fit to the Department/College strategy;
  • Potential for these activities to secure longer term funding;

Networking/Workshop Activities Funding

Members of staff can now apply for up to £2,000 to fund cross-disciplinary workshops or networking activities involving external partners and/or industry members. The aims of these workshops should be to generate tangible and novel solutions for a given research topic or network with a view to generate additional funding in the medium/long term. The Networking/Workshop Activities Funding proposals will be evaluated using the criteria below:

  • Eligibility:
    • The lead applicant must be a permanent member of staff in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Fellowship-holders are also welcome provided FSRF funds are used during their fellowship
    • Funding requested is up to a maximum of £2,000 for networking/workshop activities
    • Proposals must have the support from the Head of Department;
  • The funding requested is cost effective;
  • Strategic value to the Faculty/College:
    • Potential for REF impact
    • Potential to build engagement with stake holders;
  • Potential to build engagement with stake holders;  
  • Potential for these activities to secure longer term funding;

Please note that the networking activities are open on a rolling basis. Applicants are welcome to submit an application any time.

SME Engagement Funding

This new initiative aims to encourage and support collaborative short term research projects with SMEs with a view to generating impact and to seeding longer term, fully funded collaborations with industry. These projects should last no longer than 12 months and would be supported by up to £10,000 from FoNS to match a cash contribution from the SME partner.  To particularly encourage Early Career Researchers to engage with SMEs, FoNS will provide 3:1 matching funds, up to a limit of £15,000 from the Faculty for such projects. The SME Engagement Funding Proposals will be evaluated using the criteria below:

  • Eligibility:
    • The lead applicant must be a permanent member of staff in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Fellowship-holders are also welcome provided FSRF funds are used during their fellowship
    • Funding requested is up to a maximum of £10,000 matching funds (except Early Career Researchers who can bid for up to £15,000);
    • Proposals must have the support from the Head of Department
    • It must be a new collaboration or initiative with an SME;
  • Research quality: added value of SME/academic collaboration, innovation, feasibility and potential impact of the proposed research;
  • If the funding requested is cost effective;
  • Strategic value to the Faculty/College:
    • Potential for REF impact
    • Fit to the Department/College strategy;
  • Potential for these activities to secure longer term funding;

Travel Grants

The aim of this scheme is to encourage members of staff (in particular Early Career Researchers) to engage effectively with industry by providing a small travel allowance for them and/or members of their research group to visit new potential funders. Travel Grants must not exceed £500. The Travel Grants proposals will be evaluated using the criteria below:

  • Eligibility:
    • The lead applicant must be a permanent member of staff in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Fellowship-holders are also welcome provided FSRF funds are used during their fellowship
    • Funding requested is up to a maximum of £500 for travel grants
    • Proposals must have the support from the Head of Department;
  • The funding requested is cost effective;
  • Strategic value to the Faculty/College:
    • Potential for REF impact
    • Fit to the Department/College strategy;
  • Potential to build engagment with stake holders;
  • Potential for these activities to secure longer term funding;

Please note that travel grants are open on a rolling basis. Applicants are welcome to submit an application any time.

How to apply:

  • Applications must be no more than two pages and completed on the relevant application form: Appendix 1 for Kick-Start funding, Appendix 2 for SME Engagement Funding, Appendix 3 for the Networking/Workshop activities, Appendix 4 for Travel Grants;
  • Applicants should indicate which specific funding they are applying for;
  • Completed forms should be submitted to fonsfundinghighlights@imperial.ac.uk by the deadline for each round, as outlined below:

For any questions related to these schemes, please contact your Strategy Research Manager.

FSRF Guidance Documents 2017-2018

Submission deadlines for 2018-2019

Round 1

Proposal submission deadline: 5pm on 28th October 2018.

Proposals will be reviewed at the Faculty Operational Strategy Committee Meeting on 7th November 2018.

Round 2

Proposal submission deadline: 5pm on 21st February 2019.

Proposals will be reviewed at the Faculty Operational Strategy Committee Meeting on 5th March 2019.

Round 3

Proposal submission deadline: 5pm on 20th June 2019.

Proposals will be reviewed at the Faculty Operational Strategy Committee Meeting on 2nd July 2019.