Imperial College London

Applications are now open for the QuEST Seed Funding Call


Professor Steve Kolhammer talking to a PhD student in the lab

QUEST is a cross-disciplinary College Centre of Excellence and one of a select group of Academic Strategy Projects.

The overarching aim of Imperial’s Centre for Quantum Engineering Science and Technology (QuEST) is to bring researchers together from across the College to translate discoveries in quantum science into transformative quantum technologies.

QuEST is currently inviting applications for funding for short-term (2–3 month) research projects to enable the development of new cross-disciplinary collaborations and research directions and to generate proof-of-concept or preliminary results, with a view to developing a larger funding proposal in the near future.

The centre expects to fund the direct costs of 3–4 proposals at between £10-15k each for projects between 1 April and 30 June 2023.

Find out more about QUEST.

Eligibility criteria

- This call is open to all Imperial College academics, research fellows and PDRAs. (Fellows and PDRAs must have permission from their supervisor/line manager).

- The project must involve a new collaboration and therefore be led by two principal investigators who have not worked together before, i.e. they have not published papers or worked on the same grant. Furthermore, either the collaboration should be cross-disciplinary (i.e. the investigators come from different departments), or one of the investigators should not have worked on quantum before.

- The project should aim to generate proof of concept or preliminary results with a view to developing a larger funding proposal within the next 12 months.

- The project must be aligned with QuEST's overarching aim and research areas.

- The work will be performed at Imperial College London.

- The project must not already be eligible for other existing funding schemes.


If you would like to apply, please submit your application for funding by Tuesday, 21 March using the QuEST Seed Funding Application Form - which can be downloaded from the QuEST website.

Applications must have an HoD signature from each contributing department before submission. Applications should also have a clear breakdown of costs with justification must be included in the form. A Worktribe costing is not required. If costing PDRA time, please note that salary costs are higher than take-home pay. Please check with your department what the actual gross staff costs will be for the proposed time period (note that only direct costs are allowed, not overheads or academic staff costs). It may also be necessary to consider whether the current funder will permit a no-cost extension.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel chaired by Professor Peter Haynes, QuEST Director and representatives from QuEST’s three strategic research areas.

You will receive a notification of the outcome by email in late March.


- The maximum funding budget is £15,000.

- Funds may be used for consumables (including equipment under £10,000), researcher salary costs (not overheads) or PhD students (charged as casual workers), but not capital equipment >£10,000 or travel. The grant will be awarded outside of FEC, covering 100% of eligible costs, but funds cannot be used for estates or indirect costs. The short timeframes do not allow for the recruitment of fixed-term posts.

- All expenditures must be incurred by 30 June 2023. Any unspent funds will become eligible for reallocation by QuEST on 1 July.

Conditions of Acceptance

Award recipients will be required to:

- Create a brief summary of their project for the QuEST website, including images, information about the challenge and how the project addresses this and a short summary about each of the researchers involved.

- Provide a financial breakdown of how the funds were spent by 21 July 2023.

- Provide a summary of the project on completion with details of the outcomes and next steps.

- Present a short talk to QuEST members on the project.


Kayleigh Brewer

Kayleigh Brewer
Department of Materials