Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Participatory Research Seed Fund offers awards of up to £4,000 to enable researchers or professional services engagement staff based in any department or unit with the Medical Sciences Division or the Social Sciences Division to undertake a project that supports participatory research

Overview of the Scheme

The Participatory Research Seed Fund offers awards of up to £4,000 to enable researchers or professional services engagement staff based in any department or unit with the Medical Sciences Division or the Social Sciences Division to undertake a project that supports participatory research. 

We acknowledge that exact definitions of participatory research vary between research disciplines and research funders. This funding call will seek to be as broad and as inclusive as possible, considering applications that demonstrate well thought through, meaningful activities that involve researchers and members of the public and/or practitioners working together.

"Participatory or co-produced research strengthens research outcomes by involving the communities and users of research, better recognising their experience, needs and preferences, and giving greater agency to communities to implement findings."

Research England

Example activities that this scheme could support

You are encouraged to consider the definitions used in one of the supporting resources listed below when thinking about your project.

  • Pilot projects using innovative models and methodologies for participatory research  
  • The costs of co-produced research
  • Public engagement activities that are related to participatory and co-produced research
  • Evaluation of co-produced research activities
  • Development of case studies of co-produced research, if these are shared widely and used for peer learning

What we are looking for

We are looking to support projects with a clear aim and one where the public contribution to the research or to the capacity building is clear. As part of your application you must be able to articulate:

  • The overall aim and measurable objectives
  • The plan (activities) to achieve the objectives
  • How the proposed project is relevant to your research / the research agenda of the unit or department that you support
  • A clear rationale for how the public partners / contributors for the project have been identified, and a realistic plan for how you will engage them
  • An assessment of any risks to the participants and how these will be mitigated and/or managed
  • A clear and justified budget, with appropriate support for public contributors
  • Any outputs from the project, for example reports or films
  • What changes you hope will happened as a result of the project – both for the research and for the community partners involved
  • How will you communicate / share the results of the project with your community partners?

further support

The University has produced a range of resources to support participatory research activities which applicants are encouraged to consider when planning their activities:

Participatory Research Oxford This Webpage includes resources to support planning, developing and delivering participatory research activities, and a number of case studies of participatory research projects.

Patient and public involvement (PPI) This resource has been developed by PPI staff from across the Medical Sciences Division in conjunction with NIHR staff in the Oxford BRC and Oxford Health BRC, with input from researchers, patients and members of the public. The resource includes step-by-step guides and pointers for further support. 


This fund is supported by the Research England Participatory Research fund. A total of £15,000 is available for projects in the Medical Sciences Division and a further £15,000 for projects in the Social Sciences Division; projects should request no more than £4,000. All funds must be spent by 31 July 2024.

PDF Guidance Notes

Please find a PDF version of the Guidance Notes here.

Eligible applicants must: 

  • Hold a contract of employment with one of the departments within the Medical Sciences Division or the Social Sciences Division
  • Applicants may either be a researcher or an engagement professional - by which we mean professional services staff with responsibility for public engagement, public patient involvement, community engagement, participatory research, or other similar activity

Additional notes on eligibility

  • Co-applicants are people who will contribute to the project and support the PI, these can be other members of staff (e.g., researchers, DPhil students, teaching staff, public engagement professionals, museum staff) or external partners (e.g., patients, representatives of community groups, teachers).

  • Staff who are new to participatory research are encouraged to apply, as are those who are more experienced.

  • A University cost centre is needed to host an award. College-based activities can occur, but funds must be managed through a Faculty or Department.

Eligible costs

Eligible costs could include:

  • Payments and related costs for public contributors
  • Venue and catering costs
  • Evaluation costs

Activities that are not eligible include:

  • Activities that do not involve communities or users of research
  • Research consultancy
  • Participation in academic conferences or seminars
  • Staff time for those on permanent contracts

Proposals must be submitted using the University’s Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS). This is a three-part process:

1. Complete the online section of the application in IRAMS

2. Download the Case for Support Word documents template from IRAMS

3. Upload the single PDF Case for Support, with all relevant fields completed to IRAMS

Guidance on using IRAMS for applicants, departmental approvers, and administrators can be found on the Research Support pages.

Note that some departments may have set an earlier internal deadline so please check with your local admin team and prepare your application well in advance of the advertised deadline date. Applications must be reviewed online for eligibility and departmental support by departmental approvers and, where approved, submitted to the Committee for review. 

Applications must be received by 12noon Friday 1 March.

Applicants will be notified in the week commencing 11 March.

All funds must be spent by 31 July 2024.

You can access the application form via the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS).



If you have any questions about this call, please contact:

Medical Sciences Division: Naomi Gibson, Public and Policy Engagement Facilitator, Medical Sciences Division. or

Social Sciences Division: