BEP Seed Fund - Open call for proposals 2019

A lightbulb filled with fairylights held in someone's hands.

Small amounts of funding (up to £15,000) are available to support colleagues to build mutually beneficial partnerships. These funds could be used to bring colleagues together with external stakeholders (businesses, industry bodies, not for profit organisations) in meaningful and productive two-way discussions and scope out big sector specific challenges that if addressed will raise productivity and economic growth through innovation.

This scheme will have a continuous open call for applications under £3,000. For applications over £3,000 the deadline is 5pm 28th March 2019. Further funding will be made available in 2019/2020 budget to support continuation activity. For details please contact one of the team.

Open call for proposals 2019

Call specification and guidance for applicants 

Useful contacts: University of Oxford | Business Engagement and Partnerships Team, Social Sciences Division and Humanities Division

  • First line enquiries | E:
  • BEP operational lead | Esther Brown, Head of Business Engagement and Partnerships

A.1 Introduction 
The Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions are inviting applications for funding of up to £15,000 which to bring together academics with external stakeholders (businesses, industry bodies, not for profit organisations) in meaningful and productive two-way discussions to scope out sector specific challenges that if addressed will raise productivity and economic growth through innovation. 
This scheme will have a continuous open call for applications under £3,000. For applications over £3,000 the deadline is 5pm 28th March 2019. 

Further funding will be made available in 2019/2020 budget to support continuation activity.

This document provides guidance to applicants on the application and selection process. If you require further advice, please contact

A.2 Aims of the funding
This fund has been created to 
•    Support social sciences and humanities academics to prepare to apply for  interdisciplinary Industrial Strategy Challenge Funding
•    Support colleagues to engage with the local industrial strategy
•    Further develop the relationships with key businesses and/or sectors and engage them in the research agenda or secure their support future funding (e.g. for DPhil, research centres or for collaborative or contract research). 

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so this funding is designed to be flexible to your needs. With a maximum budget of £15,000 you can apply for a series of industry forums/ engagement event, use the funding for travel and subsistence, teaching buy out or for early career colleagues to support the convening around topics. Alternatively, you may wish to use it to develop sector based marketing materials or a series of blogs that raises the awareness of the benefits of working collaboratively with social science and humanities research. 
We welcome both early small scale exploratory applications as well as projects with larger ambitions.  However, scaled aims, objectives and outcomes are required to ensure your success.

A.3 Eligible activities
Examples of the types of activities eligible for support include:
•    Workshops: Funds to support researchers who would like to engage with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and develop a collaborative relationship with partner(s). This fund could be utilised to set up and run workshops using experienced facilitators; could bring together academics across disciplines to explore ideas and or include external partners to understand their business challenges.
•    Projects: To enable researchers to kick start projects. Develop an idea or if further progressed develop, proof-of-concept for larger-scale funding applications such as the ISCF.  
•    Exploratory Conversations: to enable researchers to travel for exploratory meetings with potential internal and external partners (in the UK?)This fund can also support travel from external partners to Oxford.
•    Network Events: to facilitate researchers attending relevant industry events in order to network with potential partners and identify opportunities to progress collaborative research projects. This fund could also be utilised to set up a small scale network event for potential collaborative industry partners and academics.

A.4 Selection criteria
 Applications demonstrating the following will be prioritised:
-    Potential – applications showing the potential of the relationships to lead onto future collaboration, support our understanding of an industrial challenge, support the diversification of income for research, or the ability to support the scale of research impact.  
-    Relevance to University of Oxford’s Social Science and Humanities division’s high quality research base. i.e. building new relationships as well as strengthening and expanding existing businesses and external partners
-    Value and Appropriateness – engaged, practical and appropriate plans and resources
Desirable but not essential criteria:
-    Multi-/Inter-disciplinarity – applications with cross-divisional collaboration are strongly encouraged. The BEP team can assist in finding suitable researchers from across the two divisions and the wider University. 

A.5 Application process
Please contact the Business Engagement and Partnerships team if you wish to apply for this funding.

Applications will need to be co-developed with a member of the BEP team. Applications that are submitted without the support of the Business Engagement and Partnership Manager may not be eligible. 

Written Application
Applications should be no more than two page justification for the funding accompanied by a the one page pro forma cover sheet. 
In the two page justification please address the following headings
•    Business and Engagement Partnership opportunity or Challenge
•    Mutual Benefits (for the research/the University/the Partner or Sector)
•    Planned activities 
•    Timescales
•    Risks (what will happen without funding?)

Please note that the funding must be spent by the 31st July 2019. 
Applications should be submitted to the Business Engagement and Partnerships team ( via your departmental or faculty administrator/research support officer.

Panel Review 
Applications will be reviewed by a BEP Panel.  
Applications requesting up to £3,000 will be reviewed within one week of submission and a decision will be communicated to the applicant by email within 10 working days.
The deadline for applications requesting between £3,000 and £15,000 is 5pm Thursday 28th March 2019. 

Applications will be reviewed by the BEP panel on a 1st April 2019. You will be notified by 5pm on the 5th April 2019 re the outcome of the review.  Please find the Application form here

A.6 Eligibility
-    Applications are welcomed from members of any department or faculty at the University of Oxford’s Social Science and Humanities Division. Approval from the Head(s) of Department for each Academic Convenor is required.
-    Many departments have internal eligibility criteria, approval processes and other guidelines to which all applicants should adhere. Please consult your departmental administrator for internal deadlines and further information.
-    The Principal Investigator (PI).  The PI(s) must be a current employee holding an academic post, or PI on a research contract awarded competitively and intended to enable the holder to establish an independent research career. If you are in any doubt of your eligibility, please contact for clarification. 
o    Academics with a college only contract at the University of Oxford wishing to serve as PIs must apply via a department/faculty. Awards can only be held in departments/faculties, not in colleges.
o    Early Career Researchers (ECRs) are eligible if the have a permanent contract. a
o    Current postgraduate students are not eligible to apply.
-    Retired and Emeritus Fellows are ineligible unless a strong justification for the wider benefit is made.
-    NB: If you move to another university during the course of your project this funding will not transfer with you

A.7 Eligible costs
Eligible costs include:
-    travel expenses for participants 
-    venue and catering costs
-    other event costs e.g. equipment, printing, IT/AV support (honoraria are not eligible)
-    administrative support (NB only if you do not have access to existing core departmental support staff and need to buy-in additional admin support/casual staff)
Efficiency, cost-effectiveness and value for money should be clearly demonstrated in the application. Payments will not be made for miscellaneous expenses or unspecified items. If you are unsure about the eligibility of a specific expense, please contact your institutional IAA support contact (see p. 1).

A.8 Award letter
You will be issued with a letter by email communicating the outcome of your proposal and the terms and conditions of your award (if successful). Feedback from the panel may be sought via the BEP team. 

A.9 Reporting requirements
This funding is part of the Social Science and Humanities Divisions allocation of Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF).
We are required to report to the report on the benefit of the funding 
Final report - The final report should give a two page highlight as to how the money was spent and what it has led to. The final report should be submitted within 1 month of the end of the project.

A.10 Support

-    Email queries | Applicants in any doubt about their eligibility or any other aspect of their application are advised to contact