Imperial and TUM senior leadership at launch of Imperial-TUM Zero Pollution Network in Nov 2022

Imperial College London – Technical University of Munich (TUM) 
Zero Pollution Research Seed Fund 2022-2023



Download and complete the application form.

Proposals must be submitted to AND to

  • Application call opens 17 November 2022
  • Application Deadline is 25 January 2023.

Please review UK zero pollution funding opportunities and TUM Germany zero pollution funding opportunities for funding targets beyond the seed funding.



Imperial College London and TUM have formed a strategic partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to foster collaboration between the universities in education, research and innovation. Both institutions recognise that collaborative activities enable cross-border pooling of capabilities and sharing of expertise, the opportunity to appreciate different perspectives, and new ideas and innovation.

Taking the partnership to a new level, Imperial and TUM have decided to join forces in the strategic topic of “Zero Pollution”, and to set up a joint Zero Pollution Network including a dedicated seed fund to initiate new collaborative projects in this highly relevant topic. This collaboration fund is meant to to accelerate the most innovative ideas and technologies that offer ‘disruptive impact.’ The seed fund is meant to be a stepping stone to future, more comprehensive collaborative projects, e.g. by involving additional stakeholders in the London and Munich ecosystems, or by  leading to new science and to future applications for external funding.

External funding targets: We have compiled a list of both UK zero pollution funding opportunities (eg EPSRC International Centre to Centre call) and TUM Germany zero pollution funding opportunities relevant to zero pollution work, to help researchers identify relevant external funding opportunities for the developing seed fund collaborations.  


The call is open to any Imperial-TUM research project that falls under the thematic area of ‘Zero Pollution.’ The theme of ‘Zero Pollution’ means moving us away from pollution in all its forms (including, but not limited to, carbon) and toward a sustainable zero-pollution future. The fund encourages cross-disciplinary projects from across our two institutions, including fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models, and policymaking. Projects might focus on, but are not limited to, urban ecosystems, sustainable resources and zero waste, zero pollution mobility, or sustainable energy and materials. We also want to work with key stakeholders to make sure that our research is translated into effective policy and solutions for industry and benefits across society.


£25K from Imperial and €30K from TUM (equivalent to £50K in total) is available to Imperial and TUM academics.  Funds can be requested to support one or more of the following activities (examples):

  • Outward and Inward visits for Research Staff, Students and Project Partners to investigate the potential for, initiate, follow-up, or work on a collaborative project or training opportunity, and for other stakeholder engagement;
  • Student support costs (e.g student assistant costs at TUM/ student bursaries at Imperial
  • ‘Research Sandpits’, ‘Hackathons’, ‘Virtual Workshops’ or other collaborative day or week-long networking events involving staff and students from both institutions to foster new links or strengthen existing collaborations;
  • Professional services fees including facilitation fees for online workshops, or other expenses associated with developing virtual engagement and programmes;
  •  Exploratory research, travel costs and other activities that often do not receive financial support at the earliest stages.
  • Funds can also be used to support small-scale experiments or the development of prototypes.
  • Set up of new networks to promote the exchange of ideas, best practice, and other research goals

Budget requests are not expected to exceed a total of £8,000 (equivalent to roughly €9,000 per project.  Funds can only be spent on activities which fit the purpose of this call. Applicants are asked to itemise their budget using the tables in the application form and to include further descriptions and rationales as necessary.

If unsure whether your request is an eligible expense, include a justification in your financial summary component of the application, so this request can be considered with respect to its relevance to the project. If there are other costs not listed above, please include these in the ‘Other’ section of the application and provide an explanation for them.

How to apply, application review, and duration of award

At Imperial, only permanent members of academic staff are eligible to apply. At TUM, only professors are eligible to apply. 

Download and complete the application form.

Proposals must be submitted to AND to

Application call opens 17 November 2022
Application Deadline is 5 January 2023.

One proposal per Principal Applicant per call is permitted.

Proposals to support existing partnerships should clearly state how additional funding would add value to the collaboration that is already in place. The purpose of this fund is to connect researchers and kick-start collaborations rather than to sustain them, so the application needs to identify potential external funding or sustainability plans.

The application consists of the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A financial summary of the requested costs using the budget section of the application template
  • Projects start/duration is anticipated to be January 2023 or as soon as the award is made.
  • Funding must be used by 31 July 2023, and extensions will not be granted. 

All eligible applications will be considered for funding by a TUM-Imperial review group, chaired by Imperial’s Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) and TUM’s Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation. 

Proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Goals and feasibility of the project
  • Complementarity of the research partners/team and how this benefits the project
  • Engagement of/added value for students and young researchers
  • Sustainability of proposed activities, action points for extension of cooperation, potential identification of follow-up funding
  • Interdisciplinary aspects of proposed project/activity
  • Potential strategic value of the partnership (including potential to further ICL-TUM strategic collaborations and potential to leverage European or other external funding)
  • Impact the award would bring to the applicants, based on their career stage and any existing networks or support.

Please refer to TUM's Zero Pollution Seed Fund page for any additional questions.

Accessing Funds

Specifics about the financial administration will be communicated upon approval.


Principal Applicants who are successful in receiving an award are required to provide a report within 4-8 weeks of the end of the award period, using a template to be provided.  We will also follow up periodically after that to ask about further outcomes and impacts. 

Imperial College London and TUM are proud signatories to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring, promotion and research funding decisions we will evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the impact factor of the journal where it is published. More information is available at