Find out how we can help you access funding for impact, whatever stage of the impact journey you’re on.
The Research Impact Fund is designed to support engagement and impact activities which will help you to:
The aim of this fund is to ensure that the ‘real world’ impact potential of Aston’s research is fully optimised, and that our research impact is robustly evidenced.
Proposals may be submitted by any eligible academic or research member of staff, at any career stage, who has produced or is carrying out the research in question. This includes postdoctoral and contract researchers. However, it excludes teaching-only staff, and PhD and other postgraduate or undergraduate students.
All proposals must demonstrate how the planned engagement and impact activities link to existing or ongoing research produced by staff at Aston University. This could be research produced some time ago or worked on over a number of years, or the proposed activities may be designed to enhance the impact of an existing research project.
We are looking for proposals which are carefully considered, and well-designed and planned. They should be as specific as possible without including unnecessary detail, and they should contain a feasible and credible plan for generating, enhancing and/or evidencing research impact. With the exception of proposals involving early-stage engagement with external stakeholders, we will expect to see a credible plan for collating robust evidence of any impact which results from your activity. If you are currently in the early stages of developing an impact plan, you may prefer to delay applying for the fund until you have had time to further work up your idea.
We especially welcome proposals which match fund external research awards or bids, or which complement other internal funds, such as the Aston Proof of Concept Fund, or College funding. Where concurrent bids are made to both the Research Impact Fund and another internal fund, we would ask that the proposals complement rather than duplicate each other. RKE also manages the Proof of Concept Fund and where we discover that overlapping (rather than complementary) proposals have been submitted at approximately the same time, we reserve the right to ensure the proposal is considered only for the Fund to which we believe it is best suited.
Aston University is committed to playing its part in the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are not prioritising proposals that are relevant to any of the SDGs, but we do ask that applicants consider which, if any, of the 17 specific SDGs their Impact Fund proposal would help achieve.
This list is not exhaustive:
The Research Impact Fund will not accept proposals submitted by or on behalf of postgraduate or undergraduate students. In addition, it will not fund the following activities:
There are two funding streams available:Two Open Calls are planned in the academic year 2021-22. They will enable researchers to execute a pre-planned project, designed to generate, enhance, accelerate and/or evidence research impact over a number of months. The ongoing Rapid Response Call facilitates researchers to respond quickly to valuable, emerging opportunities that enhance the impact of their research. Applications may be submitted at any time. Before preparing an application, get in touch (RKEfirstname.lastname@example.org) to check the current year’s funding allocation is not yet exhausted.
Rapid Response (2021/22)
This Fund has been developed to enable us to respond to requests for funds in a timely way, so that applicants can take advantage of impact opportunities as they arise. This call is open from Monday, 1 November 2021 until 5pm on Monday, 20 June 2022 for applications of up to a maximum of £2,000. (Note: this Fund could close sooner if its total allocation has been awarded, although we will try to ensure the available funds are spread across the academic year. Thus, researchers who apply later in the year should not be unduly disadvantaged compared to those who applied earlier in the year.)
Rapid Response Fund applications will normally be assessed for funding by the Research Impact Team within ten working days of submission. Priority will be given to any applicants who have not been awarded any funding through the Research Impact Fund’s Open Calls in 2021-22. Please note that the Rapid Response Fund cannot be used to fund teaching buy-out.
All funds must be spent by 31 July 2022, and cannot be carried over into academic year 2022/23.
Open Calls 1 and 2 (2021/22)
Each of these calls are for applications up to a maximum of £7,500. Applicants who are awarded funds in Open Call 1 will not normally be eligible to apply for funding in Open Call 2. Applications will be assessed by the Aston Impact Steering Group. The total budget for Open Call 2 in 2021/22 is approximately £60,000.
Open Call 2 is open to applications until 5pm on Monday, 28 February 2022.
Your application must be completed using the Word application forms at the following links (ensure that you are logged in with your Aston IT credentials):
Please complete the relevant application for the call to which you are applying. Your application must be endorsed by the academic impact lead of your College before it is submitted.
Where teaching buy-out is sought, your Head of School (or equivalent) must also endorse the application and confirm that the teaching buy-out proposal is both acceptable to the School/Department and feasible. Please allow sufficient time to obtain these endorsements.
Once you start developing a proposal, please keep an eye on our Impact Funds FAQs section where we’ll be posting advice designed to address your most popular questions. We strongly encourage you to seek the advice of Aston’s Research Impact Team before you put together your application. You can contact us at: RKEemail@example.com
To help applicants, we’ll be adding the answers to any frequently asked questions we receive about the Impact Fund – so do keep checking this section!
PhD students who are employed by Aston or employed by a project based at Aston to carry out their PhD research are ineligible to apply to the Research Impact Fund.