Funding for Impact: Impact Acceleration, Research Impact Leave and Open Access

This fund is temporarily closed.

The Impact Fund is composed of three elements: 

  • Impact Acceleration
  • Research Impact Leave
  • Open Access publishing for Underpinning Research

Please get in touch with your Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Officer, via, to discuss your ideas before submitting your application. 

Applications can be submitted throughout the year and should be submitted to by the first of each month. They will be primarily assessed based on the potential reach and significance of the anticipated impact and approved by the Research & Innovation Committee Task Group, or designated alternate. To apply for support for:

  • engagement, impact and innovation activities use the Impact & Innovation Acceleration Fund form. Funding is available to support engagement, impact and innovation activities, up to £10,000 per academic year. These activities may occur at short notice, be singular events, or be part of a series, or form a programme of impact development planned over multiple years. We recognise that support may be needed for several activities such as travel, teaching cover and staff costs, or costs associated with hosting and organising workshops and events. Please get in touch with your Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Officer, through, to discuss your ideas before application. 

  • Research Impact Leave, use the Research Impact Leave application form. Under the Research Impact Leave Scheme, members of staff can apply for a period of leave of up to six months to dedicate to generating impact from their research. AU will provide the funding for replacement teaching and / or administrative duties. All research staff can apply and up to five places are available on the scheme each year. Applications should be submitted at least three months in advance of the semester for which leave is sought. For further details see our Research Impact Leave Policy.
  • the costs of Open Access publishing for underpinning research in support of potential impact use the Open Access application form.

External Sources of Funding

Impact activities should be planned as part of your research project and should be integral to any grant application. For further information, please contact the Research Development Officers, The Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Officers, can also provide input.

There is also ample opportunity to apply for follow-on funding to support and maximise impact activities, although these funds are generally aimed at public engagement activities. We've listed some of them below.

Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is passionate about the importance of public engagement with both the research that they fund directly, and in arts and humanities research in general. AHRC continuing public engagement programmes include:

  • New Generation Thinkers,  a flagship public engagement scheme for early career researchers run in partnership with the BBC.
  • Being Human festival, co-founded and funded by the AHRC along with the British Academy, and delivered by the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
  • New Thinking podcast, part of BBC Radio 3’s Arts & Ideas series in partnership with the BBC, where researchers are supported to share their research.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

No additional sources but please see the BBSRC's Guidance on engaging the public with your research.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC’s vision for public engagement is to encourage the development of a research culture that inspires the public, attracts people to STEM careers and values interaction with the public in all stages of the research process. For further information see Public engagement - EPSRC.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Public engagement brings researchers and the public together, raising awareness of the social sciences and encouraging involvement in research.

It’s more than just meeting an audience and telling them about your research. Effective public engagement is about two-way communication, with the researchers listening to and learning from participants.

Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is an annual, UK-wide, free celebration of the social sciences run each autumn. Read more about the festival.

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Funding for public engagement 

NERC supports a strategic public engagement programme.

Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement 

STFC Leadership Fellows in Public Engagement undertake high quality programmes of engagement and outreach while concurrently acting as champions for the value and practice of engagement with research in their institution and research community.

Public Engagement Spark Awards 

Funding for high quality programmes of novel public engagement that inspire and involve audiences.

Public Engagement Legacy Awards 

Legacy Awards allow the holders of previous STFC public engagement awards to apply for funding to continue their programmes, and evolve those programmes based on learning and evaluation.

Public Engagement Reaction Awards 

Funding of public engagement programmes that are a fast response to new and/or unexpected significant developments.