A researcher demonstrates a scientific experiment to a young girl

Applications now closed

Applications for the 2018/19 Seed Fund (Round 3) will open on 13 September 2018. 

2018/19 Seed Fund application form coming soon 2018/19 Seed Fund guidance notes coming soon

What is the Seed Fund and who is it for?

Our new Societal Engagement Seed Fund aims to support staff and students to engage the wider public with our research and education, for mutual benefit. 

The Societal Engagement Seed Fund has been introduced to:

  1. Encourage and enable a wider range, and greater number of, Imperial staff and students to develop and deliver new societal engagement initiatives.
  2. Enhance the diversity of engagement initiatives across Imperial. In particular encouraging two-way engagement – where participants are involved in the engagement process and/or involved in the research process.
  3. Engage a range of patients, publics, schools and local communities with Imperial’s research and/or education in a mutually beneficial way.
  4. Increase the number of collaborative approaches to engagement.
  5. Fund initiatives that have potential to strengthen research impact; leading to new applications for external funding and supporting Imperial’s strategic goals.

What we're looking for

Seed Fund proposals could include a discrete project or a pilot activity to be further developed, and ideally will include one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Develop high-quality engagement with research activities that strengthen research impact.
  • Extend previous successful societal engagement activities (e.g. reach a new audience group or develop a new collaboration).
  • Undertake pilots of pioneering engagement activities to evaluate what works, ideally with a view to future development including securing external funding.
  • Develop the engagement skills and learnings of the wider Imperial College Community. 

Information for applicants - To be confirmed for 2018/19

Funding and eligibility

Up to £10,000 will be awarded in December 2018. 


  1. The Principal Applicant must be an Imperial staff member, but proposals can involve a team made up of students and/or external partners as well as the Principal Applicant.
  2. Proposals can have international reach and can involve international collaborators, partners and/or audiences.
  3. Existing engagement activities will not be eligible for funding, unless the proposal demonstrates that a significant new/different element is being introduced, such as a new collaborator, audience or approach.
  4. Exhibiting at the Imperial Festival and Fringe should not be the sole objective of the proposal, although proposals can incorporate the Festival or Fringe events as one output among others.
  5. Projects need to engage one or more of the following audiences – schools, local community groups, patients and the wider public*.
  6. Projects can involve the engagement of other stakeholders, such as from industry, government or the media, however projects that only engage these stakeholders and not the audiences listed in Eligibility Point 5, would not be eligible.

 *In this context, the public includes "individuals, groups, young people and their families, who do not currently have a formal relationship with a HEI through teaching, research or knowledge transfer, but who may have an interest in these activities or upon whom the research or its application could impact.” – Research Councils UK.

Use of funds
Eligible costsInternalExternal
 Staff costs  Not eligible Students and/or freelancers are eligible costs (i.e. a day rate)
 Travel  Eligible   Eligible 
 Subsistence   Eligible  Eligible 
 Consumables/ equipment  Eligible  Eligible 
 Training costs  Eligible  Eligible 
 Indirect and estate costs  Not eligible  Not eligible
 Bench costs  Not eligible  Not eligible
Summary of the table's contents

How to apply

Applications for the 2018/19 Seed Fund (Round 3) will open on 13 September 2018. 

Application forms and guidance will be shared here. 


Applications open 13 September 2018
Closing date for applications  1 November 2018
Applicants are informed of the Awarding Panel's decision  22 November 2018
Project delivery phase  1 December 2018 – 31 July 2019
Project completion and final reports due  31 July 2019
Summary of the table's contents

Review of applications

This award is offered by Academic Partnerships, led by the Associate-Provost Professor Maggie Dallman. Applications will be considered by a selection panel chaired by the Associate-Provost (Academic Partnerships), with representation from across the College.

Accessing funds and reporting

  • A degree of evaluation commensurate to the project scale will be required from you.
  • A brief final report will be required to summarise achievements and findings from your evaluation. Final reports should be sent to societal_engagement@imperial.ac.uk on or before 31 July 2019.
  • Project activities will need to be documented in some way e.g. by photography or AV, to capture the process and the outcome, which may be shared with the wider College community through the Societal Engagement webpages and/or internal news stories.
  • For successful projects, please contact your Finance Officers for advice on setting up an internal G account code linked to the relevant departmental cost centre. Once your code is established, please inform the societal engagement team and Ellie Smith who will arrange for the funds to be transferred to you. All funds must be spent by 31 July 2019.